Street tours share history of African-Americans in Music City

Anne Holt's Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Monday’s tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a prelude to a month-long celebration of African-American history.

It also kicks off the peak season for a young entrepreneur who shares history with all who will listen.

Chakita Patterson logs hundreds of miles on foot in Nashville. It’s research for her walking tours of Music City’s African-American sites.

“A lot of the lesser-known stories that we tell on the tour, it’s hard for people to seek out and find on their own,” said Patterson.

Tucked behind the elevator towers and stairs at Nashville’s Public Square Park is the story of the city’s first African-Americans.

“When the settlement came to Nashville with James Robertson, about 16 enslaved people came on that journey.”

And nearby, she walks the courthouse steps.

Chakita feels it’s important for people to stand where Diane Nash and student protestors stood 60 years ago, as then-Mayor Ben West disavowed segregation of Nashville lunch counters.

“I get so empowered because the story of African Americans in Nashville to me is the story of resilience.”

And just steps away, on the west side of the historic courthouse, images on concrete panels come to life on witness walls.

“The cool thing about Witness Walls is it has hidden images throughout. Some of the images only pop out at certain times of the day when the sun is pointing on it from a certain direction,” said Chakita.

There are so many historical nuggets scattered throughout Public Square Park and all around Nashville.

Chakita would be glad to help you discover them. Check out her website here.

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