We started out our trip in Nashville.

On the evening we arrived, we gathered to meet one another and watch the Freedom Riders American Experience movie based on Dr. Arsenault’s book.

The next day, we hit the streets of downtown Nasvhille, taking a walking lecture tour of historic sites identified with the beginning of the Nashville Movement, guided by Freedom Rider Rip Patton and later joined by Kwame Lillard. 

We visited the Nashville Public Library and examined one of the most complete collections of the written history of the Civil Rights Movement.

We attended a Nashville Movement, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and Freedom Rider Symposium at Tennessee State University. The symposium explored the history of SNCC and the Nashville Movement, including the Lawson Workshops on nonviolent protest, the 1960 Nashville sit-ins, and the 1961 Freedom Rides, through the lens of original members of the Nashville Movement and the Freedom Rides.

Later, we had dinner with the Freedom Riders at the Jefferson, and participated in small group discussions with Nashville Movement, SNCC and Freedom Rides veterans.

The next day we took the bus through Memphis to Ole Miss in Oxford, MS.

On the following day we returned to Nashville.

We spent the morning on a walking lecture tour of Fisk University. Founded in 1866, the year of the first Reconstruction Era Civil Rights Act, Fisk University’s faculty, graduates, administration and trustees have included W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Charles Spurgeon Johnson, and John Hope Franklin. Fisk students and students at Tennessee State University and American Baptist Theological Seminary were at the center of the Nashville Movement and the Freedom Rides. We spent some time in Jubilee Hall.

Next we had lunch at The Seigenthaler Center, at Vanderbilt University and participated in an interview with John Seigenthaler, former Administrative Assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, about the role of politics in the civil rights struggle, focusing on the Kennedy White House and Justice Department’s engagement with Movement leaders, southern resistance, and the proposal of national civil rights legislation.

Here are all of my entries and posts about our time spent exploring Civil Rights in Nashville.