There’s probably some great irony in the fact that most of the attendees at Those Darlins’s curtain call at The Basement East will be far less tenured in Nashville than the band on stage. Having formed in 2006, the band’s decade-long run will likely go down as more influential than they had originally planned. While it’s true that Those Darlins never really experienced major national breakthroughs like their garage rock peers in JEFF The Brotherhood or their outlaw country sistren Nikki Lane and Margo Price, it can easily be argued that their career has been an essential lynchpin in establishing Nashville as a hotbed for the cultivation of these separate sounds, rewards that the city has reaped in the form of an influx of new talent that has reached its apex during the last few chapters of the Those Darlins story. While it’s sad to reach this conclusion, it’s reassuring to know that it comes on their own terms. We here at Lockeland Springsteen, on behalf of the rest of the community, wish Jessi, Nikki and Linwood all the best on their future endeavors. In order to commemorate the occasion, we reached out to the band to draw up a Nashville Five of their own choosing. In return, we received this list of important civil rights landmarks in Nashville from Jessi Zazu, frontwoman and founding member of Those Darlins.
– Kevin B.
Those Darlins’ /// Nashville Five
Civil Rights Collection at the Nashville Public Library
1960’s Nashville had a critical role in the Civil Rights Movement against segregation and racial injustice in the South. A major nonviolent campaign was organized by Nashville’s four historically Black colleges (which Nashville has a uniquely high concentration of), where students held a sit-in protest against segregated lunch counters and other public accommodations. More than 100 students sat-in in front of the old Woolworth’s (which is now Walgreens) on February 13, 1960, which led to Nashville becoming one of the first major cities to desegregate public places on May 10, 1960. Nashville, as a Southern city, was not rivaled in its swiftness to desegregate schools after the 1954 ruling of Brown v. Board of Education which stated that segregated schools were unconstitutional. The library opened up the Civil Rights Collection publicly in 2003 and it holds historical materials documenting the life of the city since its founding in 1779. It’s a great free resource for learning about the history of Civil Rights in this country, and especially Nashville’s specific role in the movement.
Worker’s Dignity Worker Center and Radio Station
Worker’s Dignity is an organization comprised of and led by low wage workers in Nashville who fight against wage theft and the systemic abuse of workers. They have recovered over $230,000 in lost wages. Worker’s Dignity started organizing in the Latino community with a prioritized focus on organizing by and for Latino women, recognizing the challenges gender presents in economic justice, along with race and class disparities. They are also currently in the process of building a second base of African-American worker’s in the North Nashville community. The organization recently purchased a house at 335 Whittsett Rd which will serve as the headquarters for their meetings and will be the home of their new radio station. WDYO radio will be a radical mix tape of social justice and music… an unprecedented communication outlet for people of color and working class in the city of Nashville. They recently started a campaign to acquire 100 new monthly donors by February… Check out https://workersdignity.nationbuilder.com/donate to join the fight against greed and corruption in Music City.
The Post East
The Post is my favorite coffee shop in Nashville. It opened up at 1701 Fatherland St, just a stone’s throw away from where our manager, John Turner, lives. We have most of our Oh Wow Dang meetings there (Oh Wow Dang is our record label) and are always popping in before or after trips to Shelby Park. Good beverages, snacks, smoothies, and a cool atmosphere to be in. Everything you want from a coffee shop. Furthermore, Tonya Lewis is a badass woman of color who owns and runs The Post East with her fiancé. In a city (and country) where White folks retain a much larger portion of the wealth, shopping at local Black/POC owned businesses is a very direct way of fighting wealth disparity.
Scarritt Bennett Center
Scarritt Bennett Center is a nonprofit educational center & special events venue for groups and individuals working on the empowerment of women, eradication of racism, and creation of a more just world. Established in Nashville in 1924, it’s a beautiful campus in collegiate gothic architectural style built from East Tennessee crab orchard stone. It was originally a college with a diverse student body who were educated in the different cultures, languages, and traditions of people who they later would serve during war, famine, and severe poverty at home and abroad. The college hosted Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950’s, who spoke about the role of the church in combating racism as part of a student series on nonviolent demonstrations.The school closed in 1988 and was bought by the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church. It then became the nonprofit that today is open to all spiritualities and cultures, and dedicated to both individual renewal and collective activism. My experience with Scarritt Bennett has been through the work of SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice) Nashville- a budding multiracial organization dedicated to the work of organizing white people for racial justice. Anyone interested in the work can join… For more info visit www.SURJnashville.com or check out the Facebook page Showing Up For Racial Justice Nashville.
Garden Brunch Cafe
The Jefferson Street area, an African-American community once sustained by its bustling network of music venues and restaurants, has received numerous economic blows beginning in the 1950’s. From the 1952 “Capitol Hill Redevelopment Project” which relocated 429 families and 279 single residents and shut down two major venues and a cab company, to the 1963 Metro charter that targeted the bustling nightlife on Jefferson for elimination, to the construction of Interstate 40 in 1968 which cut off travel through the district and shut down two more venues in the area, the economic electricity was reduced to a low hum at the start of the seventies. After several decades of uphill rebuilding, the area and the majority Black residents have been threatened with the placement of a new police headquarters and the constant loom of displacement due to developmental construction. One Black owned business in the area- Garden Brunch Cafe, has been lauded for it’s delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9 am-2pm. They keep the creative spirit of Jefferson St alive by occasionally adding open-mic poetry and live jazz. By eating at Garden Brunch Cafe you support the owners Karl and Jennifer Carpenter and put money back into the culture and commerce of Jefferson Street and it’s residents. For more on historic Jefferson St and the music made there, check out this article I wrote for Original Fuzz: http://guide.originalfuzz.com/articles/profile-of-historic-jefferson-street-nashville
Those Darlins cap a ten-year run with their final show (before an indefinite hiatus) tonight at The Basement East. The show is sold out and will feature support from two other favorites of ours, Tristen and Adia Victoria.