Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 3: Nashville, TN - Memphis, TN

Miles today: 250
Total: 950

We began the morning at the Civil Rights Reading Room in the Nashville Public Library. The room houses a variety of Civil Rights resources, and large pictures from the movement in early 1960s Nashville envelop the room. Here we met Mr. Donzel Johnson, a World War II veteran who was studying at Fisk during the time period of the Nashville sit-ins. He shuttled those participating in the sit-ins from Fisk to the downtown lunch counters and back. He also gave us some interesting perspectives on his views of non-violence as a strategy at the time (he chose, for example, not to directly participate in the sit-ins because he did not adhere to a strategy of non-violence). He was joined by a fellow Fisk alum, Mr. Rucker, and together, they provided a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

We then walked to the 5th Ave Arcade where the sit-ins took place [a plaque in disrepair that marked the site during our first visit has been gone the past two years] and took some time to tour the campus of Fisk, where we saw, among other things, a series of murals by the famous Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas [pictured here].

After driving to Memphis, we talked with Chuck McKinney at Rhodes College - another one of our favorites from years' past - about ways in which the narrative of the Civil Rights movement gets truncated and simplified, and he encouraged students to think critically about the many facets of the movement. We ended the day with a plate of barbeque ribs at the famous Rendevous.

No comments:

Post a Comment