The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City by Benjamin HoustonThe Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City by Benjamin Houston

The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City

byBenjamin Houston

Paperback | November 1, 2012

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Among Nashville's many slogans, the one that best reflects its emphasis on manners and decorum is the Nashville Way, a phrase coined by boosters to tout what they viewed as the city's amicable race relations. Benjamin Houston offers the first scholarly book on the history of civil rights in Nashville, providing new insights and critiques of this moderate progressivism for which the city has long been credited.

Civil rights leaders such as John Lewis, James Bevel, Diane Nash, and James Lawson who came into their own in Nashville were devoted to nonviolent direct action, or what Houston calls the "black Nashville Way." Through the dramatic story of Nashville's 1960 lunch counter sit-ins, Houston shows how these activists used nonviolence to disrupt the coercive script of day-to-day race relations. Nonviolence brought the threat of its opposite-white violence- into stark contrast, revealing that the Nashville Way was actually built on a complex relationship between etiquette and brute force. Houston goes on to detail how racial etiquette forged in the era of Jim Crow was updated in the civil rights era. Combined with this updated racial etiquette, deeper structural forces of politics and urban renewal dictate racial realities to this day.

In The Nashville Way, Houston shows that white power was surprisingly adaptable. But the black Nashville Way also proved resilient as it was embraced by thousands of activists who continued to fight battles over schools, highway construction, and economic justice even after most Americans shifted their focus to southern hotspots like Birmingham and Memphis.

Benjamin Houston is a lecturer at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. He is the former director of the Remembering African American Pittsburgh oral history project at the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy at Carnegie Mellon University.
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Title:The Nashville Way: Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern CityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9.02 × 6.02 × 0.78 inPublished:November 1, 2012Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820343277

ISBN - 13:9780820343273

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Reviews

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction. The Nashville Way 1

One. A Manner of Segregation: Lived Race Relations and Racial Etiquette 13

Two. The Triumph of Tokenism: Public School Desegregation 47

Three. The Shame and the Glory: The 1960 Sit- ins 82

Four. The Kingdom or Individual Desires?: Movement and Resistance during the 1960s 123

Five. Black Power/ White Power: Militancy in Late 1960s Nashville 164

Six. Cruel Mockeries: Renewing a City 202

Epilogue. Achieving Justice 235

Notes 243
Bibliography 295
Index 311

Editorial Reviews

Nashville, Tennessee had perhaps the most fully formed of the student-centered civil rights movements that emerged in the early 1960s. Houston tells the story of this movement in substantial depth in this fine monograph.

- D. C. Catsam - Choice