During the Nashville Student Movement, silence was used as a tool to illuminate the strength of a movement, but in the decades following the sit-ins, stand-ins, and Freedom Rides, silence was used as a method of obscuring it.
Etta Marie Simpson Ray is a Freedom Rider and one of the pioneers of the Nashville Student Movement. In this episode, Etta speaks with poet Kelley Bell about the experience of living in the echo of a movement when your contributions have all but been erased, finding the courage to risk personal gain for the collective good, and the critical importance of carrying the old days with us.
Then Kelley shapes the circuit of Etta’s Freedom Rider journey into poetry.
Versify is a production of Nashville Public Radio and The Porch, Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. Editing for this episode came from WPLN’s Mack Linebaugh with additional editing by Anita Bugg. The episode was written, hosted, produced and recorded by Joshua Moore. The music is by Blue Dot Session. The show is distributed by PRX.