South Nashville In Their Bones


Three Women Are Reclaiming Cameron’s Spot in Civil Rights History

Tanya Gray, Deborah Bell and Ida Currie feel Cameron pride every time they return to South Nashville. It’s in their bones, whenever they see a classmate or talk about the legacy of their school. 

It’s in their bones, whenever they see a classmate or talk about the legacy of their school.

“Isn’t that Fort Negley?” Gray points out the window as a smile spreads across her cheeks. Silver coils crown her head and her eyes glow when she talks about the community. She sits next to classmates: Deborah Bell and Ida Currie. 

The trio have been friends for more than fifty years. Despite their senior year at Cameron being chaotic, they have good memories. And they are on a mission to share their story. 

It was the first time I felt like a second-class citizen.

Gray, Bell and Currie went to no pep rallies their senior year. There was no homecoming football game, and they didn’t get to sport Cameron royal blue and gold at athletic events. Those rites of passage were stripped away and replaced with marches, boycotts and legal action. 

To read their full story on how their senior year turned into an untold civil rights movement in Nashville and recently won “Best In Tennessee” documentary at the 2019 International Black Film Festival, purchase the 2019 Urbaanite Nashville City Guide.   

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