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Cashville Community Letter

March 8, 2021

By: Brigette Jones

Nashville, Tennessee, or, as it has become known by many in the urban community, Cashville, Tennessee, seems to have been most known in the past for its’ roots concerning Country music of all sorts. Yet, that one-dimensional scope has slighted the achievements, sacrifices, contributions, and otherwise, culture and history of the numerous Black Nashvillians who have also called this land on the “Cumberland’s fertile shore” home since before Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796.

Over time, Black Nashvillians have curated their own existence and community through overcoming the types of adversity that would break the spirit of many, yet, Black Nashville has persevered, grown, and thrived since is’ arrival. From the first graduating class of Fisk University, to the establishment of Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial Normal School for Negroes (now, Tennessee State University), Nashville has been an eco-lab for the creation and fostering of Black greatness.

Legacies such as that of Meharry Medical College, which is one of the top producers of Black doctors in the nation, to that of American Baptist College, which was a theological training ground for some of our most notable Black religious and Civil Rights leaders, Nashville has a Black history that is steeped in regality, determination, academia, and most importantly, love.

As we now sit at one year past the centennial anniversary of the great Black renaissance, most notably referred to as the “Harlem Renaissance”, I use my passion for the accurate interpretation of Black history, OUR history, to reassure you that 2020 was just a blip on our radar. A new renaissance is upon us and the time to prosper is now; the revolution will, in fact, be televised; so, brace yourselves, we’re in for one hell of a ride. With that said, I raise my glass to the past, present, and future of Black Nashville, I offer libations to the ancestors for their sacrifices and I offer wisdom to those who are in the land of the living, now. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, so, pick up your baton and run like your debt has already been paid.

-Brigette Jones, Historian and cultural educator

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