Library Collection Spotlights Nashville's Role In Civil Rights Movement - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Library Collection Spotlights Nashville's Role In Civil Rights Movement


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - One of the nation's most comprehensive exhibits dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement is tucked inside downtown Nashville public library.

"I didn't realize it was up there," said a library employee.

The Civil Rights Collection is located on the second story of the Nashville Public Library. It occupies the west wing of the Nashville Room where many historical materials are stored. The room was designed to provide information about events from the mid-1940s and 1960s. The collection was dedicated on Feb. 15, 2004.

"I got chill bumps the first time I came here," said Gianina Ferraiuolo, digital projects librarian.

The collection documents one of Nashville's most remarkable times in history. From schools to lunch counters and public accommodations, Nashville was one of the first southern cities to desegregate. 

The library is collecting photographs, video and audio productions as well as microforms, and Internet Web site indexes as part of an ongoing Civil Rights Oral History project.

"I don't know of any other library that has a tribute like this," Ferraiuolo said.

The exhibit is popular with tour groups, library staff it appears that many local residents don't seem to know about the special collection or the city's role in the Civil Rights Movement.

"A lot of people who live here don't realize how important it was," Ferraiuolo said.

Until that changes this time machine of sorts will remain an unintentional secret.

"I think it's something everyone in Nashville should come see," Ferraiuolo said.

If anyone would like to get involved, staff members are looking to interview people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement in the Midstate.

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