When Willie Sims’ daughter started kindergarten at a high-performing elementary school in East Nashville, all seemed well at first. His daughter loved her teacher. She was making friends. But then Willie realized: In a neighborhood with tons of Black families, his daughter was the only Black child in the entire grade.
Then he started hearing murmurings from other families, white families, concerned about the issue of resegregation. They were mobilizing. They wanted to push the school to acknowledge the fact that families of color were becoming scarcer and scarcer at the school.
In this episode, white parents start to see the problem. And once they do, they can’t unsee it.
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.
*A previous version of this story misstated the years between Nashville’s desegregation lawsuit and the founding of Lockeland Elementary. It was four years, not 14 years.