Civil Rights

Wangari Maathai

The Extraordinary Wangari Maathai

Born in rural Kenya and educated in the United States, Wangari Maathai was the first woman in East Africa to earn a doctoral degree, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and is the founder of the Green Belt Movement. Her incredible story is the subject of several picture book biographies for children.

YWCA Blue Triangle

YWCA Blue Triangle Branch Collection

The Nashville Room has a small exhibit of photographs to celebrate the availability of a new collection documenting the activities of the YWCA Blue Triangle Branch. Come see our resources!

Black History Month

Picture Books for Black History Month

The 28 days of February will never be enough to highlight the full depth and breadth of black history in the United States and around the world. Picture books are an ideal (and beautiful) way, however, to address the gaps in our knowledge of the contributions of African Americans to History writ large.

Robert Churchwell: Nashville's Pioneering Journalist

Exploring the holdings of Main Library’s Special Collections, I stumbled upon a local figure I hadn’t heard of before—Robert Churchwell. Hired by the Nashville Banner in 1950, Churchwell was the first black journalist and full-time reporter for a Southern newspaper.

News Clipping from MLK's visit to Nashville in May, 1964.

"Not a Man who Talks, but a Man who Acts"

It's been 50 years this month since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., yet his actions and teachings have lived on every day since. Coincidentally, the date of his actual birthday this year was celebrated on the same day of the holiday honoring him. In honor of his legacy, here's a look back at how his work affected Nashville...

Rashad Rayford

Rashad's Reading List

Rashad "thaPoet" Rayford shares his reading list for those who wish to further explore activism and civil rights in literature.

President Kennedy and his wife visited Nashville in May, 1963.

"Happy Birthday, Mr. President!"

Though November marks the last month of his life, May of this year would have marked JFK's 100th birthday; May 29th to be exact. In honor of this milestone, here's a look back at a few of President Kennedy's visits to Nashville, as well as a few anecdotes from people that remember the day he died.

A photo of children after Meigs School was integrated in 1957

Nashville's History with School Integration

Going on 60 years ago, Nashville followed suit with the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, and began a "stair-step" plan to integrate public schools. But it wasn't without difficulty or a strong pushback.

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