Upcoming Events:

July 22, 2017, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.: Civil Composition: A Journey through Civil Rights using Spoken Word

Join us as acclaimed actor and artist Rashad “ThaPoet” Rayford explores how spoken Rashad thapoetword poetry has become a voice of power in today’s modern movement. In this introduction course, participants will write and share, examining various facets of Civil Rights and how the conversation during the Civil Rights Movement is connected to the conversation now. Through peer interaction and the building of community, participants will respond closely to the work of fellow writers in this workshop.

Artist info: http://www.rashadthapoet.com/info

Space is limited and registration is required.

To register, please email andrea.blackman@nashville.gov

Location: Civil Rights Room, 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library

July 29, 2017, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Screening of acclaimed film “I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO”


“I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO” is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and seeks to examine footage of depictions of African-Americans throughout American history in order to illuminate the pervasiveness of American racism and the efforts to curtail it, from the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter.

The film is rated PG-13. It was released in 2016 and is approximately 93 minutes long.

This event will be held in the Special Collections Center. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

For more information please contact: Special Collections (615) 862-5782.


Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library

May 2, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: “Nashville Reads Finale”lewis%20film-201701181026

This year, Nashville Public Library and Civil Rights and a Civil Society are concluding the Nashville Reads season with a screening of the documentary Get in the Way. This film highlights the story of Civil Rights hero John Lewis, and his determination to stand against injustice and discrimination. The film is one hour long and will be followed by a panel discussion.

This event is free and open to the public.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library

April 21, 2017: Public unveiling of Witness Walls exhibit”

Artist Walter Hood has been working closely with the Civil Rights Room and Collection in

Photo courtesy of Metro Arts’ website

order to create a one-of-a-kind public art display commemorating the men and women who struggled nonviolently for Civil Rights and equality here in Nashville through lunch counter sit-ins, economic boycotts, marches, meetings, Freedom Rides, and school desegregation. Join us for the public unveiling of this spectacular memorial.

Location: Public Square Park in Nashville (parking available at 350 Deaderick Street)

April 18 & 19, 2017, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Live Poems on Windows”unnamed (1)

Witness the physical composition of a poem from draft to revision to editing, on a 200-square foot glass wall.  Spectators will see poet Stephanie Pruitt arrange over 300 Post-it
notes containing reflections and responses from the NPL’s Civil Rights and a Civil Society workshops into cohesive, traditional literary form. This free experience is open to the public and will offer a glimpse into a poet’s mind and process, as well as the community’s courage to address race and culture.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library, second-floor Special Collections Center

March 11, 2017, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: “Women’s March Collection Day”

Since March is Women’s History Month, Nashville Public Library is honoring Nashville’s womens-marchwomen by hosting a “collection day” for those who participated in January 2017’s Women’s March. Come add your photographs, oral histories and 2-dimensional memorabilia (pamphlets and signage) to our city’s historical collections.

Event is FREE and open to the public.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library

March 10, 2017, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: “Screening of Documentary Film ’13th'”

The conversations@NPL series and the Civil Rights Room will be presenting a screening of the Netflix documentary film “13th,” directed by Ava DuVernay.

17022261_10158295161805501_2792751591514614774_nAmerica makes up 5% of the world’s population, yet locks up 25% of the world’s prisoners. DuVernay’s “13th” provides an in-depth look at the United States prison system within the context of racial inequality.

The Library’s conversations@NPL series promotes reflection, discussion and debate on topics ranging from poverty and immigration to race, class and economics.This screening is free and open to the public.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library


February 11, 2017: “3rd Annual Wikipedia Editathon”

Every year, our team of seven editors creates accurate Wikipedia pages as a service to the public. This year, we focused on completing three articles on African American educational institutions in Nashville.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library


November 19, 2016, 10:00 a.m.: “2016 Nashville Public Library Literary Award Honoring John Lewis”

This year’s recipient of Nashville Public Library’s esteemed Literary Award is

Congressman John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis, for his outstanding work as a bestselling author. His writings in the MARCH series detail his leadership roles and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement; these iconic and powerful memoirs are now being used in schools throughout the nation. Congressman Lewis has written other books, including Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement and Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, which have received numerous accolades as well.

This event will include a public lecture at 10:00 Saturday morning, which is free and open to everyone.

Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School (613 17th Ave N, Nashville, TN)

Citizen Police Academy

October 24, 2016: “Civil Rights and a Civil Society’s Exploration with Nashville’s Citizen Police Academy”

NOTE: Course is closed.

May 9, 6:15 p.m.: “Nashville Reads 2016 Finale”

Join us for a book-signing and unique presentation by author James McBride, featuring a special performance by the Rod McGaha Quartet. McBride authored the famous book The

James McBride

Color of Water.

This event is hosted in conjunction with “Conversations @ NPL,” a library initiative which seeks to stimulate public dialogue surrounding current issues that shape American history and culture. Partners of Nashville Reads who have made this possible include Nashville Public Library, Nashville Public Library Foundations, the Mayor’s Office, Parnassus, Humanities, and BookPage.

Location: 615 Church Street, Nashville Main Public Library

March 22, 23, 24, 2016, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. each day: “Alternative Spring Break Film Festival”

  • Tuesday, March 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:d756d46f-c723-42aa-8cda-3fb66d96d28f
    The film “Take me to the River” (2014) follows multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians through the creative process of recording a fresh album for the purpose of re-imagining the utopia of racial, gender, and generational collaboration of Memphis. The film features Terrance Howard, Snoop Dogg, P-Nut, Frayser Boy, Mavis Staples, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, William Bell, and Otis Clay. The run time is 1 hour and 35 minutes.
  • Wednesday, March 23, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:
    The film “Peril and Promise” (2013) is from the PBS series Latino Americans and recounts how the second wave of Cuban refugees flooded Miami during the 1980’s; by the early 1990’s, a 1d2164ca-bdeb-455d-a0e7-47c3cd995662political debate over illegal immigration had begun and a sea of change was already underway. As Latino Americans spread geographically and make their mark in music, sports, politics, business, and education, the coalescence of a new phenomenon called Latino American culture was born. Gloria Estefan led the Miami Sound Machine to create cross-over hits in both Spanish and English. Oscar de la Hoya, a Mexican-American boxer from L.A., became an Olympic gold medalist and the America’s Golden Boy. The largest and youngest growing sector of the population in the U.S. became Latino Americans, which led to what is known as The Hispanic Moment. The run time is 54 min.
  • Thursday, March 24, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:6c38640a-ef44-404f-bd9f-3958d1b40b88.jpg
    The film “Soundtrack for a Revolution” (2009) tells the story of the American Civil Rights Movement through the freedom songs protesters sang as they fought for justice and equality. The film features new performances of the freedom songs by top artists, including Blind Boys of Alabama, John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots. Riveting archival footage and interviews with civil rights foot soldiers and leaders, including Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, and Ambassador Andrew Young are also featured on-screen. Danny Glover is the film’s executive producer.Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman served as the film’s directors. The run time is 1 hour and 22 minutes.

Location: The Special Collections Center in Nashville Main Public Library. All three viewings are open to the public.

February 27, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: 7f932f86-3130-472c-b5b3-80cb73c7e734“SWAG: Black Men Across the Americas and the Revolution of Cool”

A conversation with Professor Ifeoma Nwankwo, Professor Rosa Carrasquillo, and accomplished author and entertainment industry professional Terrance Dean on Blackness, Latinidad, and masculinist imagery in popular music, culture, and film.

Location: Nashville Main Library

February 5, 2016, 5:00 p.m.: “Sunni Patterson: Creative Process Workshop”


Writer and spoken word performer Sunni Patterson combines the heritage and tradition of New Orleans, her native town, with an enlightened modern worldview to create music and poetry that is timeless in its groove. Patterson has been a featured performer at many of the nation’s premier spoken word venues, including HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and BET’s Lyric Cafe. Much of her life has been devoted to serving as a cultural worker and grassroots activist. Patterson uses art and the power of poetry as tools to encourage dialogue and healing. She deliberately uses her art to recognize, address, and work to eliminate all forms of oppression. Join Patterson as she shares her unique style and creative process in this intimate workshop.

Location: Nashville Main Library

RSVP: voicesamericapr@gmail.com or (615) 322-2173

July 11, 2015, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: “Freedom Summer”0b23dd96-2d62-496d-b13b-093255993d2d

In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation’s attention was focused on ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer. Join us for a screening of selected clips from “Freedom Summer,” a film by Stanley Nelson, as well as a conversation with Dr. Bernard Lafayette and Dr. C.T. Vivian on how ideas and practices from that summer still echo today. Moderated by Joyce E. Searcy.

Location: Nashville Main Library

Nashville Reads is a citywide book club in which Nashville Public Library encourages everyone to read the same book during the same time and come together for various events surrounding their reading experience. For a full list of upcoming Nashville Reads events, please visit: http://nashvillepubliclibrary.org/nashvillereads/events/