After 43 years of courtroom battles, Nashville’s landmark school desegregation lawsuit was settled. In the eyes of the law, the city finally made an honest effort to racially integrate its schools. But in truth, the matter was far from settled.
For the Kelley family, whose son was the case’s named plaintiff, being Black in America meant there were battles and sacrifices at every turn — far beyond education. And for Richard Dinkins, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, hope was quickly replaced by dismay as he watched decades of work and progress towards school desegregation begin to unravel.
“The settlement was based on mutual promises,” Dinkins said. “The city broke the promise.”
In this episode, our story about Nashville’s fight for school desegregation continues.
The Promise is written and produced Meribah Knight. Edited by Emily Siner, with additional editing by Anita Bugg, Tony Gonzalez, Samantha Max, Sergio Martinez-Beltran and Damon Mitchell. Fact-checking and research by Sam Zern. Advising for this season by Savala Nolan Trepczynski and Alex Kotlowitz. Mixing by Jakob Lewis of Great Feeling Studios. The music is by Blue Dot Sessions.