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Confederate Streets
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Erin E. gives an overview of the book:

In Confederate Streets, Erin E. Tocknell takes us to two Nashvilles: the one that shaped her sensibility as a writer—a rich, green, inviting landscape of backyard grapevine swings and cooling high jumps into the swim and tennis club pool, church choir practice and youth group outings, bluegrass, country, and the Grand Ole Opry—and the Nashville that was hiding in plain sight because of the segregation that persists in the city to this day. The Nashville Tocknell brings to life as a result of archival research and personal interviews—its black ministers, musicians, teachers, principals, and students—is rendered with the same lyricism and power as her evocations of the city she knew in her own childhood, under the skin. Whether she is chronicling the local history of busing and zoning, or taking us inside a 1930s club in the Jim Crow South to hear Harmonica Wizard...
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In Confederate Streets, Erin E. Tocknell takes us to two Nashvilles: the one that shaped her sensibility as a writer—a rich, green, inviting landscape of backyard grapevine swings and cooling high jumps into the swim and tennis club pool, church choir practice and youth group outings, bluegrass, country, and the Grand Ole Opry—and the Nashville that was hiding in plain sight because of the segregation that persists in the city to this day. The Nashville Tocknell brings to life as a result of archival research and personal interviews—its black ministers, musicians, teachers, principals, and students—is rendered with the same lyricism and power as her evocations of the city she knew in her own childhood, under the skin. Whether she is chronicling the local history of busing and zoning, or taking us inside a 1930s club in the Jim Crow South to hear Harmonica Wizard Deford Bailey take the stage, or bringing us into her own church to hear an all-but-forgotten white minister preach against segregation twenty years before she was born, Tocknell’s essays are loving tributes to ordinary citizens who have worked for social change in the city that she—and they—have called home.

-Natalia Rachel Singer, author of Scraping By in the Big Eighties 

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  Grape Vines and Dream Summers, 1984

Young southerners, especially privileged white ones, learn their history slowly.  Race is rarely discussed, so it hangs in the air, like a mist.  Many in my generation who grew up in southern cities can remember the moment when they became aware of segregation, and the subsequent moments through the decades when they realized that the old social order was not completely dead and was, in fact, shaping their lives.  My city began to reveal these truths to me when I was in first grade.  But in the summer of 1984, the places I loved still seemed whole and beautiful.

 

erin-e-tocknell's picture

This is my first published essay collection. If you grew up in Nashville or if you have ever wondered how America's complicated racial history might relate to your life, you will enjoy this book.

About Erin E.

Erin E. Tocknell was born and raised in Nashville, but has lived and studied in Pittsburgh, Penn., Kalispell, Mont. and Morgantown, W.Va.  Once an award-winning staff reporter for the Columbia Daily Herald in Columbia, Tenn., her essays have been published in The...

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