Police Training in the Civil Rights Room

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” 

-John Lewis, Nashville Civil Rights activist


The Civil Rights Room of Nashville Main Public Library hosted yet another Civil Rights and a Civil Society training session on March 28, 2016.

In Tennessee, law enforcement officers have turned to our rich archive on the Civil Rights Movement at Nashville Main Public Library to learn about past injustices and hopefully prevent future injustices and misconceptions from occurring. Our Civil Rights Room provides the perfect setting for just such programs and training sessions.

By discussing the complexities of our perceptions, as well as the traditional narrative of the aggressive relationship between law enforcement and civil rights activists of the 1960’s, we have made a space for healthy dialogue in a city historically plagued by racial tensions. Because Nashville is rapidly diversifying, these are critical conversations to have for our local law enforcement and authority figures.

The goal of these conversations is to foster cultural sensitivity and awareness that informs present and future interactions between law enforcement, authority figures, and civilians in our community. The training sessions model for participants how to create an inclusive environment in which each member of the community is valued, respected, and given opportunities to fully contribute their talents.