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Nashville celebrates Black History Month

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Lorenzo Washington, founder and curator of JSSM.

This February, the Nashville community is celebrating Black History Month, continuing the discussion of Black people and their contributions through activities such as museum exhibits, book readings, and encouraging the study of achievements by African Americans year-round. Listed here are a few events happening within our area.

Through April 28
‘Carving a New Tradition: The Art of Latoya M. Hobbs,’ Frist Art Museum, 919 Broadway, Nashville

Curated by Dr. Rebecca VanDiver, associate professor of African American art at Vanderbilt University, ‘Carving a New Tradition’ showcases a selection of recent prints and mixed-media artwork from the studio of the Arkansas-born, Baltimore-based painter and printmaker LaToya M. Hobbs. Hobbs is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art and a founding member of Black Women of Print, an artistic collective aimed at rendering the work of Black women printmakers (past, present, and future) visible.
Her monumental woodcarving ‘Carving Out Time’ anchors this exhibition and highlights her ongoing explorations of Black womanhood, identity, and artistic legacy that reverberate through the other artworks on view. Hobbs honors the rich traditions of printmaking and her Black artistic foremothers while pushing medium’s boundaries, exhibiting the matrix as an object and incorporating mixed-media elements.

February 10, 17, and 24
‘Black History in Music: Work, Worship, and Celebration,’ Jefferson Street Sound Museum, 2004 Jefferson Street, Nashville, 1-4 pm.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Jefferson Street Sound Museum proudly presents ‘Black History In Music: Work, Worship, and Celebration.’ This exclusive art exhibit aims to revive the memory of those thriving times while also honoring the businesses and entrepreneurs that made historic Jefferson Street a musical haven.
This unique exhibit not only celebrates the musical geniuses of the past, but also underscores the importance of revitalizing the businesses and cultural fabric of historic Jefferson Street. Be part of this journey to remember, honor, and reignite the legacy of a street that once was the heart and soul of Nashville’s Black community. Featured artists: Benneth Wilson, Elisheba Israel-Mrozik, James Threalkill, Karen Coffee, Michael Mucker, Morgan Hines, Michael McBride

February 10-11
Black History Month Expo, Nashville Fairgrounds, 401 Wingrove St., Nashville, 11 am–6 pm.

Spotlighting more than 100 Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, come dance, drink, and shop, all while empowering Black businesses.

February 24
Enslaved Memorial Service, Hermitage Church (Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage), 4580 Rachel’s Lane, Hermitage, Tenn., 11 am.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage will hold its annual commemoration of those once enslaved at The Hermitage and throughout the country. Held at The Hermitage Church, the service will feature music by The Eagle Honor Choir from Andrew Jackson Elementary School and special remarks from Vanderbilt University Professor Brandon R. Byrd. Attendees will then be led in a procession to the slavery memorial ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd,’ located behind the church. There, 150 flowers will be laid by attendees, marked with the names of all those known to have been enslaved at The Hermitage.

‘Nashville History Tour’

Your tour guide David Ewing is a nationally recognized expert on Civil Rights and helped locate the lost mugshots of John Lewis’ arrest for the lunch counter sit-ins and helped present them to Congressman Lewis in Nashville. Ewing also is featured in the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail book by Deborah Douglas. Explore how Nashville was one of the most important cities for marches, arrests, and bombing stories. This movement was led by John Lewis, Diane Nash, Rev. Jim Lawson, and Rev. Kelly Miller Smith around John Lewis Way (formerly 5th Avenue) and Church Street. Dr. Martin Luther King’s visits and speeches during the era. See the Woolworth building and the Civil Rights Room of the Nashville Public Library.

‘Early Black Life and Culture Tour

Uncover the buried history of early Black life and culture in Nashville by exploring the lives and work of both free and enslaved African Americans. This tour was written by Dr. Lea Williams and co-narrated by TSU undergraduate student Maya Dunn and United Street Tours founder Chakita Patterson. The ‘Early Black Life and Culture’ tour begins at Fort Nashborough and ends at the State Capitol.

Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville
Learn more about Black History at the Tennessee State Museum. The Civil War and Reconstruction were monumental times of conflict and change for the people of Tennessee. Featured artifacts and stories in this exhibit document a period that forced Tennesseans to take sides and make sacrifices. Special programs include: Thursday, February 8, at 12 pm — ‘Lunch & Learn: Boogie and Blues: Black Women and The Tennessee Playlist’ will be presented by Tranae Chatman, TSM curator of Social History; also featured at Saturday, February 17, 11 am–12 pm, with special music performance to follow at 12:15 pm. ‘Rhythm Revolution: The Evolution of Black Music’ will be moderated by Tranae Chatman, Tennessee State Museum Curator of Social History.

The National Museum of African American Music, 510 Broadway, Nashville

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) officially opened to the public in January 2021. Discover the central role African Americans have played in shaping and creating all genres of American music. From classical to country to jazz and hip hop, NMAAM has integrated history and interactive technology to share the untold story of more than 50 music genres and sub-genres. Tours initially follow a weekend schedule and will be held on Saturdays and Sundays 11 am-6 pm.

‘United Street Tours’ meets at 501 Broadway, Nashville
United Street Tours offers a Civil Rights Walking Tour of Nashville, a fascinating journey through the rich history of the Civil Rights Movement right here in the heart of Music City. This Nashville walking tour will take you on a captivating exploration of the city’s pivotal role in the pursuit for equality and inclusion.

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