History | Nashville Public Radio

History

Brent Moore via Flickr

There's a battle in Franklin over the city’s most prominent Confederate monument.

Unlike places where statues have been taken down, a coalition of local faith leaders and historical societies has proposed adding new markers to be placed next to the monument that would detail the area’s African-American history. But one group is still strongly opposed.

FILE / Yellow Rose Society

Nashville’s main downtown library has approved the creation of a permanent collection dedicated to the city’s role in ratifying the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed American women the right to vote.

Carmen Hicks McCord
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Songs can go extinct. Lose track of the words, or the tune by which to sing them, and the oral tradition of passing on folk songs can become a precariously thin thread through history.

But one family — even one singing amongst themselves way out in the country — can do a lot of good. In Tennessee, the Hicks family of Fentress County single-handedly preserved numerous songs that would likely have vanished.

walking tour Nashville
unitestreettours.com

Before launching her own tour company, Chakita Patterson regularly took walking tours in Nashville and other cities, and noticed a trend: “They only had one ‘black fact.’ ”

Curious Nashville WPLN
Lee Hale / WPLN

Piranhas, tombstones, tunnels, and trains. Questions about Nashville road names. And even a query about how much it rains here. (The answer: Nashville does receive more annual rainfall than stereotypically soggy Seattle.)

These subjects, and many more, have made for a lively 2 years for Curious Nashville.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville — like most locales — is losing its accents. Distinctive voices are diffusing in a modern world with mass media and transient lifestyles. But one 93-year-old is keeping the sound of old Nashville alive.

Naval Reserve Training Center East Nashville Shelby Park
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The ship-shaped former Naval Reserve Training Center received historic landmark status in 2015, but its story doesn’t end there.

Archive / Library of Congress

Sixty years ago, Bobby Cain became the first African-American man to graduate from an integrated high school in the South. Just one year prior, he and 11 other black students had enrolled at Clinton High School in East Tennessee. They became known as the Clinton 12.  

Tennessee Centennial Exposition
Metro Nashville Archives

The Metro Nashville Archives recently turned up long-lost images from the massive Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897. And the images are creating a buzz on the Facebook page where the archives staff has become known for sharing fascinating material from local history.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

In a library at Cumberland University, history professor Mark Cheathem flips the switch on an electronic scanner.

The image of a letter addressed to Martin Van Buren, the nation's eighth president, pops up on screen. 

At least, that's what it appears to be.

The handwriting is a loopy scrawl. The language is outdated. Words written on one side of the page have bled through to the other, making the document even harder to read.

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