The Repeal of Brown vs. Board-America’s Tragic Return to Segregation

Integration, Nashville, resegregation, school rezoning, Southwind High School

Last summer I railed against the construction and zoning of Shelby County’s all-Black Southwind High School, which the county school board seemed to be using to “whiten” Germantown, Houston and Collierville High Schools. Now the Metropolitan School District in Nashville is undergoing a similar crisis in which Black parents are objecting to a district rezoning that sends almost all of the district’s Black students to all-Black schools. Letters written by white people to the Nashville Scene reveal that many of them applaud the rezoning, and for distinctly racial reasons. One woman asked rhetorically why the “liberals” don’t want white people to be able to preserve their “white heritage”, while another stated that going to school with white people won’t fix what’s wrong with inner city Black youngsters. The tragic truth is that school boards are using neighborhood zoning to resegregate public schools, and they’re getting away with it. At a time when the courts should be more vigilant than ever, they are removing school districts from court supervision, and those districts are then proceeding to resegregate, presumably because most school boards are elected, and this is the politically-expedient thing to do, a popular move with white parents in many districts. Conservatives often argue that Black children don’t have to be in the same classroom with white children to learn- and if we’re talking about learning facts (times tables, history, the law of thermodynamics, etc.) that’s true. But learning also occurs when children interact with other children, especially those from a different background, and that learning is crucial. It is this learning that is lost when parents homeschool, or when children attend one-race schools. The current reality in the tragic situation is highlighted in situations like that of Southwind near Memphis, where the frehsman enrollment this year is down 200 students from projection. Evidently, many Black parents sold their homes and moved rather than subject their children to the indignities of a segregated, overcrowded school. It is a tragedy when people have to sell their homes and move to exercise a right to integrated schools that the constitution supposedly already gave them. If we insist on continuing to separate white and Black children in schools, we will reap a terrible harvest of hate from it in the future.

09/06/08: Tennessee Music Conference/Southern vs. Tennessee State

Bands, Breakfast, Desserts, Drummers, Drums, entertainment, events, Food, Football, Hip Hop, Hotels, music, Music Conferences, Nashville, rap, Restaurants, Sports, Travel

Since conference events wouldn’t get under way until 11 AM, I had time to drive down to J. Christopher’s in Franklin for breakfast, and they were just as good there as they have been in their Atlanta locations, and not as crowded as I had feared.
Afterwards, I drove back to the hotel and registered for the conference, which was being held in the ballroom on the top floor. Mr. Serv On was there from Louisiana, Cowboy from Buck Wild Productions, C. Wakeley from Florida who used to manage Bloodraw, a rapper and producer named Blacktime from Cincinnati but now living in Nashville, and many others. I was on the initial panel about the pros and cons of getting a major label deal, and Freddy Hydro arrived from Memphis and joined us during it. I hung around the hotel lobby networking after that until it was time for me to go to the ball game at LP Field.
The stadium was visible from the ballroom of the hotel, so it wasn’t far away at all, but I had not expected the $20 cost of parking when I got there. The Tennessee State Aristocrat of Bands marched into the stadium first, rocking their cadence “Psychotic Funk”, and soon, the Human Jukebox of Southern University was entering the stadium from the other side as well. They proceeded to battle back and forth, but the John Merritt Classic had evidently sold advertising over the scoreboard, so every time there was a time out, they began drowning out the bands with commercials, and we fans couldn’t enjoy the marching bands, which is half the fun of a Black college football game. Tennessee State ended up winning the game, although they had trailed Southern for much of it, and there was then a really good “Fifth Quarter” of band battling afterwards. It was about 10 PM when I left to stadium area, and I still had to run back by the Maxwell House to get my baggage and check out.
Tom Skeemask from Memphis had pulled up in front of the hotel and was just checking in as I was leaving. We talked briefly, and then I headed out to the Mall at Green Hills to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. College football highlights and results were flashing across the TV screen as I waited for my hamburger and french fries, and then I began the three-hour journey back to Memphis, made more difficult by my extreme fatigue, which made me have to stop several times for energy drinks. I arrived home about 3 AM and went straight to bed.

09/05/08: Tennessee Music Conference, Nashville

entertainment, events, Hip Hop, music, Nashville, rap

I grabbed a breakfast at Waffle House near Wolfchase Galleria, and then drove up I-40 from Memphis to Nashville for the Tennessee Music Conference and Hip-Hop Awards.
I drove by Grimey’s Records, but for once I didn’t buy anything there, and I didn’t find much at the thrift stores in West Nashville on Charlotte Pike either. I had seen a billboard announcing the Tennessee State vs. Southern University game Saturday, and driving down West End Avenue, I saw the Southern University band members coming out of the Holiday Inn and getting into their buses, so I decided to get a game ticket and go to the game Saturday.
At the Ticketmaster inside Kroger, I learned that there was a Battle of the Bands Friday night on the TSU campus, but apparently it was already sold out, so I purchased a game ticket, and then drove to the Maxwell House Hotel where the conference was taking place and checked in.
The hotel was also home to a gospel music conference of some sort, and also was the headquarters hotel for the John Merritt Classic football game that I had just purchased a ticket to, and the Southern University football team and staff were staying there. The Maxwell House had been considered the nicest hotel in Nashville when my parents and I had stayed there in the 1970’s, but nowdays it was beginning to show its age. Everything looked as it did in the 1970’s, although the hotel was very clean. The whirlpool had evidently been removed, although hotel literature still claimed they had one, and the pool was outside, so with rain beginning, I couldn’t go for a swim. Robski the conference organizer agreed to meet me for dinner, so he came up to the hotel and we decided to go to the Longhorn Steakhouse, but the location on Lyle Avenue was closed, so we ended up having to go to the one in Brentwood, which was fairly good.
When I got back to the hotel, I wanted coffee, but most of the coffee bars I called on my iPhone were either closed or not answering their phone. I decided to go to one called Fido on 21st Avnue South near Vanderbilt, but I couldn’t find it, and ended up going to J & J Cafe and Market on Broadway instead. By then, it was too late to go to the Battle of the Bands, even if I could have gotten a ticket, and it was raining, so I went back to the hotel. Despite the rowdiness of some of the Southern players, I had no trouble falling asleep.

8/11/08: Promoting in Nashville

Breakfast, Hip Hop, Memphis, music, Nashville, rap, Record Stores, Travel

After eating breakfast at the hotel, I checked out and drove out to Columbia, Tennessee to the Sound Shop store there, and then over to Murfreesboro to Century 21 to leave some Haystak promotional items there. Back in Nashville, I had visited the Cat’s Music on Gallatin Road the day before, but nothing else had been open, so I ran by Platinum Bound Records’ new location in Antioch, then over to Key 2 Music, Soundstream Records and Tapes and finally New Life Music and More. I decided not to go to Clarksville, as it was getting late in the day, and after stopping at Cat’s Music in Dickson, I headed out for Memphis on I-40.

8/10/08: From the Old Mill to Bongo Java

Barbecue, Breakfast, Coffee, Coffee Bars, Food, Hip Hop, Hotels, Knoxville, music, Nashville, Pigeon Forge, rap, Record Stores, Restaurants, Travel

My parents had told me that The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge served a delicious breakfast, so I checked out of my hotel in Knoxville and drove out to the restaurant, but I had not expected the traffic jams on the Parkway between Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, and by the time I got to The Old Mill, they had quit serving breakfast. Actually, finding breakfast turned out to be quite difficult, as many restaurants in the area quit serving breakfast at 11 AM. I finally found a pancake house where I had to wait an hour for a table, but the food was quite good, and then I drove back up to I-40 and headed toward Nashville. At Cookeville, I went off the interstate to try to leave some Haystak posters at Compact Discoveries, but they were closed on Sundays. The Sam Goody in Lebanon was open, however, so I left some posters there and then drove on into Nashville, where I checked into the Hilton Suites in Brentwood. I had been disappointed that I didn’t eat dinner at Calhoun’s in Knoxville, so I drove to the Calhoun’s in Nashville and ate dinner there. Then I thought about going to Cafe Coco, but decided against it, and drove over to Bongo Java instead, which was near the Belmont University campus. With no jazz clubs happening, there wasn’t much to do, so I drove back to the hotel and went to bed.