Early Years

Named in honor of U.S. President James Madison, Madisonville, TN was incorporated in 1850, sixty years before the birth of Sarah Moore Greene in 1910.

Madisonville, TN Proclamation – “Sarah Moore Greene Day”

Sweetwater, TN – National Society DAR “Woman in American History” Award

The daughter of a former slave and a railroad cook, Ms. Greene was born in Madisonville, Tennessee in 1910. Her father, Ike Moore, came to East Tennessee to help build railroads after his emancipation in 1865 in Mt. Sterling, Ky. Here, he met her mother, Mary Toomey, who fed railroad workers. One of four siblings, Ms. Greene was 5 when her mother died. Her father raised the children by himself.

Ms. Greene attended Tennessee A&I in Nashville, then a two-year junior college where she majored in math and worked in the school’s pastry department. The school is now known as Tennessee State University.

At 24, she married William Greene but kept her maiden name, Moore, a slave name as a tribute to her father. The couple didn’t have children, but Ms. Greene raised a nephew and a niece. As a teacher, she tutored hundreds of black kindergartners in the 1940s and ’50s.

Ms. Greene was a lifelong Republican mainly because her father’s owners, who were kind to him, were Republican. She’s also been loyal to the party because of Abraham Lincoln. “He gave us our first bit of freedom,” she said.

In 2008, she crossed party lines and voted for President Barack Obama. “I didn’t think we’d ever have a black president,” she said. “I’d hoped we’d have one, but I didn’t believe.”