Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ana Escobar nominated to be Metropolitan Clerk

Ana Escobar
Update July 6, 2011: The Metro Council has approved Escobar's nomination.  She will take the job of Metropolitan Clerk effective August 1.

Mayor Karl Dean has nominated Nashville attorney Ana Escobar to succeed Marilyn Swing as Metropolitan Clerk. If confirmed by the Metro Council, Escobar would become "the first Hispanic woman to head a department of the Metropolitan government," according to the press release. Escobar, raised in Nashville, was born in Colombia, South America.

In his announcement, Dean mentioned Escobar's fifteen years of experience as a criminal defense attorney in private practice, her law degree from George Washington University Law School, and her undergrad degree from Vanderbilt University. Dean also quoted a few people for their opinion of Escobar, such as Division II Criminal Court Judge J. Randall Wyatt...
Ana has appeared in my court as both a prosecutor and a public defender, and she has always impressed me with her professionalism and her courtesy. She is a great attorney and a wonderful person.
... and Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors:
Ana really impressed me during her interview. Her desire to serve our city was evident, and I look forward to working with her in the future.
The press release also touched on the significance of the nomination of a Hispanic woman to the post and included this comment from Conexion Americas Executive Director Renata Soto:
Today is a significant milestone for diversity in Nashville. Census numbers show that 10% of Nashville’s population is Hispanic, and Ana’s appointment to this important role speaks to the Hispanic community’s many contributions to our city. It is also a testament to Ana’s professionalism and to her outstanding reputation as a lawyer.
Escobar started her career defending indigent citizens in the Office of the Public Defender and later became a prosecutor in the Office of the District Attorney, where she prosecuted mid-level drug organizations.

Escobar has been running her own law firm - the Escobar Law Group - and is held in high regard by the local bar. In 2003, Escobar ranked second in a Nashville Bar Association rating of candidates for Davidson County General Sessions Judge.

Apart from her recent nomination to the 2012 presidency of the Davidson County Democratic Women, Escobar has also held the following past and present community service roles:
  • Planning Commission for Davidson County, Tennessee, Commissioner
  • Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission, Commission
  • Nashville Bar Association, Board of Directors
  • Nashville Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Nashville Prevention Partnership, Board of Directors
  • Junior League of Nashville, Sustainer
  • Davidson County Election Commission, Commissioner
  • Nashville Bar Association, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee
  • Hands on Nashville, Board of Directors
  • Advisory Council, El Protector
Moving into the Clerk's job, Escobar would assume responsibility for the city's records, according to this description of the position from the city web site:
The Metropolitan Clerk’s Office is the official recordkeeping agency of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

The recorded legislative history of the city, along with all other official city documents, are managed and preserved in this office for safekeeping, archival, and research purposes.
The Tennessean's Michael Cass, in announcing the retirement of the current Clerk Marilyn Swing, described certain other specific Clerk duties - related to council meetings, referendum and recall petitions, and the revenue-generating business of alarm permit registrations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hispanic artists asked to submit for citywide exhibition at Metro Arts Gallery


Call for Submissions:
Metro Arts Gallery

Call for Submissions: Local Hispanic Artists (group exhibit):
The Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are seeking single artworks from Hispanic artists for a group exhibit in the Metro Arts Gallery.  The exhibit will run from August 19 to October 7, and will feature a wide variety of Nashville’s Hispanic visual arts talent.  All styles and media are welcomed, but please note that selection is competitive.

Dates and Deadlines:
Entry submissions due: July 22, 2011
Juror review: July 25
Notification: July 29
Opening Reception: August 19

This exhibit is open to all local Hispanic/Latino artists working in any medium, but must be Davidson County residents, or reside in contiguous counties and their business primarily handled in Nashville. Please submit the below entry materials no later than July 22, 2011:
CD containing the below items: 
  • (1) digital image of submission, in jpg format, at least 300 dpi, but no larger than 5x7 inches.Descripción de la obra de arte presentada, indicando título, fecha, medio visual, las
    dimensiones y precio de venta en un documento de Word o PDF.
  • Artist Statement describing ideas about the work.
  • Resume/CV and artist's statement.  
All documents should include the artist's name, mailing address, email address, phone and website (if applicable).    

Send all entry materials to:
USPS: Metro Nashville Arts Commission
PO Box 196300, Nashville, TN 37219-6300
Physical Address: 800 2nd Avenue S., 4th Floor
Nashville, TN 37210

Terms and Conditions:
  • Artist must be Davidson County residents, or reside in contiguous counties and their business primarily handled in Nashville.
  • Artists will receive 100% from any exhibition sales of their work.
  • The Metro Arts Gallery will not handle any sales, but will facilitate contact between buyer and artist.
  • Participating artists will be required to participate on’s Artist Registry.
For questions or additional information please contact Ian Myers or (615) 862-6730, or Loraine Segovia-Paz

About the Metro Arts Gallery:
The Metro Arts Gallery is a high-vaulted, light-filled corridor within the public area of Metro Arts Commission’s offices, located on the fourth floor of the Metro Office Building in the Richard Fulton Complex. The gallery includes 100 linear feet of wall space and several pedestals for displaying sculpture. MNAC’s address and hours of operation are:
800 2nd Avenue South, 4th Floor, Nashville TN 37210
Hours: Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Closed Holidays
The Metro Arts Commission is pleased to offer a venue where local artists can showcase their work. We welcome the public to visit the gallery and see an array of artworks available in Nashville.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Southern Baptist Convention refines immigration stance; supports legal path but not unconditionally; denounces nativism, bigotry, and harassment

Primera Iglesia Bautista, Nashville, Tennessee
Celebration of the church's first anniversary in its own building
My wife is one of the faces in the middle; I took the picture.

The immigration stance of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention is personal to me. I was raised at Woodmont Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church here in town. When I was at home between college semesters, I attended Sunday School at Primera Iglesia Bautista.  The Spanish-language offspring of First Baptist Church Downtown was still meeting in FBC's building at the time.  My wife and I later joined "La Primera," as we called it, after they moved into their own building off of Murfreesboro Road.  If you've ever driven to the airport, you've been within a few hundred yards.

We learned a lot about immigrants and immigration at La Primera.  In time, we found out that some of our dearest friends had no immigration papers. So we built up an appreciation for and awareness of their lives, their journeys here, their health care, their jobs, their legal limbo, and their character.

None of that learning had to do with the pulpit or Sunday School.

The Southern Baptist platform has been relatively silent about the U.S. immigration bureaucracy and about the immigrants stuck in it, even as congregations such as La Primera grow in the denomination, and even as other denominations and faiths have spoken up.

A few years ago, leadership first said that Southern Baptists were divided about the issue, so they couldn't take a position one way or the other. Mere months later, they seemed to take an enforcement-only approach. Then, in June 2006, Nashville's Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's political issues arm - and other evangelicals - joined liberal Teddy Kennedy and others to promote compassionate immigration reform.  Delegates to the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention meeting also issued a resolution "On the Crisis of Illegal Immigration," which at least admitted that
Many of these hardworking and otherwise law-abiding immigrants have been exploited by employers and by others in society, contrary to James 5:4
But the 2006 statement also seemed to usher these hardworking and otherwise law-abiding immigrants out the door, since it urged member churches "to encourage them toward the path of legal status and/or citizenship," which for most people means leaving the country for more than a decade.

Now, at the Southern Baptist Convention's 2011 annual meeting in Phoenix in June (note that the SBC did not boycott Arizona over its immigration laws), attendees have called for a path to legal status.

In this latest position statement, titled "On Immigration and the Gospel," the denomination also denounces nativism, bigotry, and harassment - and in those words.  At the same time, the Baptist Press Twitter account is touting the multi-ethnic emphasis of the meeting, a Spanish edition of Baptist Press itself, and 524 conversions at a "Hispanic event" under the Crossroads banner.

Is the Southern Baptist membership ready for this frank embrace of diversity and legal renewal?

Funny that Baptist Press should mention Crossroads - that reminds me of an outreach effort a few years ago in which visiting Southern Baptist congregations were coming to Nashville for a regional or nationwide event, and a few of those groups were designated to partner up with La Primera to do outreach in Hispanic neighborhoods near the church.  Those congregations never showed up.

In Phoenix, there was rancor over this immigration statement.  The support of a majority of the delegates for a path to legal status was razor-thin until they added a disclaimer opposing "amnesty."  They agreed that a proposed path to legalization (not citizenship) would have to be earned, not freely given.

It bugs me to no end that Southern Baptists still have such hostility towards a concept that is the very essence of the denomination faith - an unearned gift.  Consider how Southern Baptists define "salvation," under "Basic Beliefs"on the SBC web site:
offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
It probably would have been harder for this 2011 statement in Phoenix to include an explanation of how that definition of salvation plus the members' antipathy toward immigration "amnesty" jives with the you'll-be-forgiven-only-if-you-forgive-others message of Matthew 6:14:
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
For what it's worth, here is the full SBC statement "On Immigration and the Gospel":

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Giovanni Delgado floats Parthenon onto American Artisan Festival poster

The 41st American Artisan festival was held last weekend in Centennial Park. The poster image was designed by Watkins College of Arts & Design student Giovanni Delgado, a Mexican-American.

Here's how the poster came about, according to the festival:
Every year, The American Artisan festival reaches out to Watkins Art Institute to help us find a local designer who can design the poster for the festival. The only creative requirement is that the student must work The Parthenon - Centennial Park's prized gem - into the design. Each year the poster has become a collector's item in its own right and we love to honor the artistic freedom of artists in everything we do - right down to the poster.

This year's winner is Giovanni Delgado - we thank you for your inspiring view of the Parthenon somehow uplifted and floating in the breeze of Centennial Park. So magical!
To see Delgado's artwork as it appears alongside the poster text, click here.

Delgado's web site is He plans to return to Watkins in the fall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts of Dad on Father's Day

By Fabian Bedne

Me and my Dad, when I was 13 
My father Samuel J. (“Mito”) Bedne was eighty-seven when he passed away last month. He raised a family, provided for us and a number of charities, and made his mark in Argentina.

Dad taught me that if you work hard, you can make things happen. He himself did it again and again, and even when awful things happened to us, he was able to carry on, get back up and reinvent himself.

His mother (my grandmother) had been a teacher in Russia before she escaped Communism and fled to Argentina, where she had to start over. At first she worked as a maid, and later she opened a little neighborhood grocery store. She was widowed early in life, which meant that my Dad had to help at the store since he was a kid. One of his regular errands was to pick up blocks of ice to keep the food in the cooler fresh. The ice was sold a mile away, and he carried those blocks of ice on his back.

Dad was a polio survivor, too. Everyone knew him as “Mito” - a nickname he inherited from the doctor of the same name who cured him of the disease. Dad’s limbs held out until a few years ago, when his right knee twisted in such a way that he walked with the bottom part of his leg at a fifteen-degree angle. Dad never stopped smiling and telling jokes, though, despite the pain. And he refused to use a wheel chair; he said if he did, he'd never get out of it anymore. Dad kept walking - and at a fast pace, too.

It was that way all his life. Dad never wondered if something could be done; he just did it. He and a number of friends founded a Lions Club in their neighborhood, and for thirty years they provided scholarships to students, donated flags and supplies to every school in the country that needed them, fed the needy and also carried on the Lions Club goal of helping people in need of eyeglasses. Many times we joined in as a family, and it made me very proud.

One of Dad's buildings
Despite never having finished high school, Dad did more than many professionals do in a lifetime. He had two businesses - a wholesale store and a construction company. The wholesale store was not just a business but a neighborhood institution. People stopped by all the time to visit or ask for advice, and Dad always made time for them. The construction company attracted investors and built many buildings, such as this one. In construction, Dad made his mark on both the city and on me.

I studied architecture because of my Dad. I loved to see his buildings flourishing from nothing, the jobs he created, the places that people would use when he was finished. I also loved to play on the construction site; the smell of concrete being poured still makes me smile. Everything I do now in my professional life, from neighborhood volunteering to home design, points back to him.

Dad was a loving and faithful husband and father for over fifty years. He was a hard worker and fast walker - a great role model. Every day, he made the world a better place for himself, his community, and his family.

On this Father’s Day, I cherish a friend’s condolence: “He’s not lost to you forever; he will always be with you… We are our parent’s children, they shaped us whether we realize it or not.”

To read more stories by and about Fabian Bedne, click on the Fabian Bedne link in the Index to the right.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recreating Guatemala village in Dickson County, Lipscomb launches "Missions Camp"

Photos from the village in the Ulpan Valley, Guatemala, on which Lipscomb’s Missions Camp will be modeled. Photos by Jerry Atnip.

It is impossible to go on a missions trip to Guatemala without venturing outside the Volunteer State, but Lipscomb University thinks that a staycation simulation of such a trip will help prepare teenagers and college students for future mission work.  The university recently announced that students as young as seventh-grade can immerse themselves in a missions experience at Missions Camp to be held July 10-15 on a farm in Dickson County.

According to Lipscomb, Missions Camp will be a complete third-world immersion experience. Campers will live as if in the rustic environment of a village in Guatemala, one of the 10 poorest countries in the world, complete with minimal electricity, no running water and “natives” cooking tortillas. Daily activities will be designed to open students’ eyes to another culture and the best ways to interact within that culture. Camp staff will speak Spanish, meals will be Guatemalan food and the dwellings will be furnished in keeping with the Guatemalan culture and resources.

Why Guatemala?  The university has ties to the Ulpan Valley there. Mission teams from Lipscomb's Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering and groups targeted to meet specific needs (such as engineers at Otter Creek Church of Christ) have been traveling to the Valley since 2008 to carry out holistic, long-term community development in the region. Engineering students installed a water transport system for two communities in the valley and built seven solar-powered cell phone recharger towers that have brought new income to the residents. Missionary-in-residence Steve Sherman headed the valley’s first two medical mission team visits, and Steve Joiner at the conflict management institute is working to negotiate water and land rights for the natives. Kristopher Hatchell, a Lipscomb engineering grad who new serves as missions coordinator, has been to the Ulpan Valley several times working on various engineering projects with Lipscomb students. Lipscomb’s work in the Ulpan Valley has grown to the point that Hatchell will be leaving Nashville in August to live there for two years, just after he wraps up Lipscomb’s first Missions Camp.

The missions staff have reached out to Grandview Church of Christ, to organize some of the Guatemalan members to help at the camp. Lipscomb will be also be reaching out to other friends and contacts to find both mock and real Guatemalans for the camp.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hall: 99% with immigration problem tell truth to Sheriff's office

Photo by Leo Reynolds. Licensed via Creative Commons.

Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall and I spoke on the phone a while back about the immigration screening he runs in the Nashville jail, and one of the things he said to me really stood out. Hall said that 99% of people in his system who are in an immigration jam will admit their status when asked.

In a country where "not guilty" is the moral equivalent of "no comment," where politicians will tell tall tales and hide their indiscretions even when they're caught in the act, and where "illegal immigrants" are often the ones who are characterized as morally bankrupt, this statistic points in the other direction.

These men and women don't provide a false name; they don't make up a story about a U.S. birthplace or a stamped visa in a passport they left at home. They fess up. And Sheriff Daron Hall is a witness to it happening 99% of the time.

Consistent, near universal truthfulness. That's a data point that should get more press.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

LatinCMA: Hispanic country music artists perform tonight at Cadillac Ranch

The Latin Country Music Association (LatinCMA) is promoting a concert tonight at Cadillac Ranch. See the details in the poster above, which indicate a 5pm start time, but according to a late e-mail update from Yanetd Herrera of the LatinMCA Membership Department, the music starts at 6pm, and the Hispanic artists are supposed to start at 8:30pm.

If you really want to catch all the artists, perhaps the earlier you show up, the better.

Cadillac Ranch is at 305 Broadway.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rumba at the CMAs: top local band to bring Latin music to Bridgestone Arena Plaza

The CMA's will have a Latin twist (and shake and groove) this weekend. Rumba, the band made up of Conexion Americas staffers, will be performing on the Lay’s Stage at the Bridgestone Arena Plaza from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The performance does not require paid admission.

Rumba was formed exclusively to compete in the third annual ABC Music City Corporate Band Challenge back in April. Rumba made it through the opening rounds of the competition and qualified for the finals at The Wildhorse Saloon. For this newborn Latin band to take the stage at the Wildhorse was a big deal in and of itself, but even more impressive was how it knocked the crowd's socks off. The judges made it official: Rumba was the competition's top musical group.

The winner of the ABC Music City Corporate Band Challenge gets to perform at the CMA Music Festival, so the performance by Rumba this Saturday is the grand prize being played out, in front of all the tourists and Nashvillians converging on downtown this week. Rumba doesn't play country music, but as Conexion Americas Executive Director Renata Soto told Cindy McCain of the Examiner, Rumba's presence at the CMAs shows that Latinos have adopted Music City as their home and are proud to be part of the music scene that makes the city so great.

Read McCain's full story at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Task force" agents are going out of their minds (and authority) when they pull over Hispanic drivers on Tennessee roads

In 2008, when Deputy Ricky Wade of the Henry County Sheriff's Department was on a Tennessee highway on assignment to the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, he pulled over Carmina Perez and her ten year old son Raphael Adame. Wade's treatment of the two, in violation of their legal rights, resulted in a $75,000 jury award in their favor in 2010 (story here).

A few weeks ago, as part of a NewsChannel5 investigation, a supervisor from the 23rd Judicial District Drug Task Force was caught on tape pulling up alongside a vehicle, following it for a while, and then accusing it of weaving in and out of its lane, which was not supported by the video (above) at all. The driver was Hispanic. An internal investigation is underway.

Today, NewsChannel5 reports that a federal judge has ruled that there is no credible evidence that a Hispanic driver was actually speeding before he was pulled over by an officer working for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force.

It happened in the 24th, the 23rd, and now the 17th judicial district. Someone high up over all of the drug task forces in Tennessee needs to take systemic action to ensure the legitimate and lawful exercise of their power.

When law enforcement officers operate outside the law, they pervert the authority we have given to them. At that point, it can no longer be said that they are serving and protecting the public.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hispanic Cultural Heritage Foundation and Destellos Culturales de Nashville bring youth, culture, and education together

Smiling young Nashville dancers. Source: Destellos Culturales de Nashville

The Tennessean has a story out today on The Hispanic Cultural Heritage Foundation, an effort to get Nashville's children and young adults into the arts through cultural expression.

If you've seen a live performance of traditional Mexican dancing in Nashville, you might have seen the Foundation's dance troupe Destellos Culturales de Nashville.

Destellos Culturales performers with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, August 2010
The objectives of the program go beyond just the arts, according to the Destellos Culturales web site:
  1. That children who participate in the group be able to study in a university and gain an excellent academic and professional level, improving both the style of life they lead as well as the economic conditions in which they are embedded.
  2. That the participants develop artistic skills in dancing, acting and sports.
  3. To give parents an opportunity to specialize in a trade to improve their income, thus having a better family welfare.
  4. To integrate families, in which parents and children involved in dancing, traveling, decorating, invent and enjoy the experience to share culture, art, sports, etc.
  5. To keep participants away from vandalism, alcohol and drugs by inviting them to a positive change imbued with history, dance, culture, sport and a healthy lifestyle.
The Destellos/Foundation leadership includes Maria Antonieta Strain, Director; Patricia Vivanco, Dance Coordinator and board member; and board officers Ramon CisnerosCarlos Tirres, and Cinthia Padilla.

(L-R) Maria Antonieta Strain and Patricia Vivanco
(L-R) Cinthia Padilla, Carlos Tirres, and Ramon Cisneros 

The full Tennessean story is at

The Destellos Culturales web site is

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Valedictorians Kandy Diaz and Marisol Miranda: two of 450 graduating high school seniors to be recognized this Sunday

COPLA, the Comité de Padres Latinos/Committee of Latino Parents, in partnership with community stakeholders, will host its 4th Annual Hispanic Student Graduation Celebration and Parent Recognition Event for the Class of 2011 this Sunday, June 12, at Boone Business Building at Trevecca Nazarene University. The doors open to this invitation-only event at 4:30 p.m., with a dinner at 5 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. (RSVPs closed last Friday, June 3.)

In 2008, the inaugural year for this celebration, the COPLA board voted to host this type of event each year under the theme ¡Lo Logramos! (We Made It!).

Nearly 450 Metro School Hispanic seniors - including Cane Ridge Valedictorian Kandy Diaz and Hunter's Lane Valedictorian Marisol Miranda - will be recognized along with their parents. Mayor Karl Dean, Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register, School Board Chair Gracie Porter, other dignitaries and guests will address the students and their families. This year’s keynote speaker will be local artist and radio personality Jaci Velasquez.

COPLA was organized five years ago to help build relationships with the parents of Hispanic students, who comprise more than 16% of the district’s student population. The organization continuously shares information and resources available to Spanish-speaking families, as well as develops ways to educate families on the important role of parental involvement in student success.

For more information about COPLA, contact

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jaci Velasquez, Fish co-host: Latin household is "always to 11"

Velasquez interacting with Fish listeners live on the air
Jaci Velasquez (Twitter: @jacivelasquez) is the co-host of The Family Friendly Morning Show on Nashville's 94FM the Fish.  TFFMS airs weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Central Time on 94FM and on dozens of affiliate radio stations nationwide.

Velasquez is an accomplished vocal artist, with her releases having gone Platinum and Gold three times each, and sixteen #1 radio hits to her name. She is a Grammy nominee, a Latin Grammy nominee, and a three-time Latin Billboard Music Awards nominee. She has won seven Dove Awards, including New Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.

With her 1999 single "Llegar A Ti," according to, "Jaci became the first Christian artist to go to #1 on any Billboard Latin chart."

When Velasquez performs in Latin America, she draws tens of thousands. Recent back-to-back shows in Managua, Nicaragua, drew 40,000 and 60,000, respectively. In Santiago, Chile, the crowd was in the 30,000-40,000 range.

Velasquez is also an actor, having co-starred with Modern Family's Sofia Vergara in Chasing Papi in 2003. Her latest films are The Encounter, released this month on DVD, and Jerusalem Countdown (co-starring Randy Travis and Lee Majors), to be released in theaters in August.

Velasquez grew up in an evangelical church in Houston where her parents were singers, evangelists and pastors. She has been singing since she was nine years old.

"I grew up with, obviously, Latin parents. ... We learn from our parents," she tells

I had heard that Jaci's family has a lot of different geographic roots, so I asked her where her parents would say those roots trace back to:
They would say they're American, of course, but their family has been in the country since the 1700's, for both of them. They came over during the Spanish Inquisition and mixed with different races through the years. My Dad would say he's German, English, Spanish, but then if you really want him to just put it all into one, he'd say, 'I'm Mexican,' because that was who he was raised by and near, and that's what his life influences were. He was born in New Mexico, grew up in East Carbon, Utah, and then moved back to New Mexico.
Velasquez spoke a lot about how much she appreciates everything her mother did for her, and how her husband Nic's parenting style is informed by both his military father and his church-employed mom. She also conveyed the "bigness" of her own Latin family:
Being married to a Hispanic guy, too, you find that everything is intense. You love, you love big, and when you're upset, you're upset big.... It's all big. It's all intense, and always to '11' in our house, and I wouldn't trade it.
For the extended interview with Velasquez, including thoughts on the radio gig, her Mom's background, and more about the Latin influence when she was growing up and also now that she is raising her own children, stay tuned to

This profile of Jaci Velasquez is the seventh in a series of media profiles here on Others recently featured include Chris Echegaray of the Tennessean, Charles Maldonado of the City Paper and Scene, Marielena Ramos of NewsChannel 5 Plus, Amy Napier-Viteri of WKRN/News2, Eric Alvarado of Fox17, and Christine Maddela of WKRN. On deck are Ray Ponce de Leon of The Contributor and Phil Castillo of the One Nation Under God show on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5: Cherokee Removal starts in Tennessee

The medallions on the wall of The Passage are reproductions of Native American art. The medallion photographed above is in the "Nashville II style" of artefacts found in Middle Tennessee. This medallion invokes strength.

In March, my family visited The Passage, which is part of the Tennessee Aquarium complex in Chattanooga. The Passage commemorates the Trail of Tears' traversal of the city at the site of a ferry business owned by Chattanooga resident John Ross.

The round-up of the Cherokees in Tennessee started 173 years ago today, on June 5, 1838.

The next day, on June 6, at the direction of Brigadier General Winfield Scott, forced removal from Tennessee commenced at Ross' Landing. The first group of 800 Cherokees was "forcibly crowded onto a flotilla of six flatboats lashed to the side of a steamboat."

Over the course of June, the stockades at 15 Tennessee internment camps were filled with thousands.  The number of camps swelled to 13 in Bradley County, and 2 in Hamilton County. Camps were also established in Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama.  "Between four and ten Cherokee died every day in the camps from heat, lack of food and water, and disease."  The Removal itself provoked further casualties.

Ross' Landing was abandoned after that part of the Cherokee Removal was complete and Ross himself and his wife - both Native Americans - were forced West at the hands of the federal government. Mrs. Ross, like many others, did not survive the journey.

For more photos of The Passage, visit

For information about Nashville's role in the Trail of Tears, read this February 6 post on Cherokee Removal - remembering Nashville's role in the Trail of Tears

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