Warner Elementary is about to turn itself around. It finally has all the right tools to be successful — an infusion of cash, an energetic principal. But will white families choose to send their children there?
In a neighborhood with tons of Black families, Willie Sims’ daughter was the only Black child in the kindergarten class of one East Nashville elementary school. Then he started hearing murmurings from other families, white families. They were mobilizing against resegregation. Did he want in?
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.
In 1954, the famous Brown v. Board decision ruled that segregated schools violated the constitution. But in reality, that decision changed very little in Nashville. Segregation was an architecture, and to pull it apart was a grueling endeavor.
It’s the start of the 2019 school year, and two elementary schools in Nashville are about to be at the center of a neighborhood battle over the resegregation of schools.
Season 2 of The Promise grapples with some of the most divisive topics in America: public education and race. This is a story about one school trying to stay afloat, a neighborhood divided over race and economics, and a city that’s resisted school desegregation every step of the way.
Ms. Vernell has another big decision to make: to stay in Cayce through the chaos of redevelopment, or to leave? Her conclusion reveals something about this long, messy process to overhaul Nashville’s public housing.
If you’ve listened to The Promise, you no doubt remember Dexter Turner, aka Big Man. We met him in episode 2. In this bonus episode, Meribah Knight speaks with Big Man months later, live on stage at Nashville Public Radio’s Podcast Party.
We return to the James Cayce Homes to follow up with residents amid the $600 million overhaul. But in checking back, we trip into some news. And we’re reminded, yet again, of how difficult it will be to pull off this massive redevelopment.
Does this big idea to have low-income and higher income people living side-by-side really make a community better, safer, healthier? As season one of The Promise comes to a close, we dig into the fundamental question driving this massive overhaul of Nashville’s public housing.