Edgehill is a neighborhood south of Nashville with a number of national firsts among African Americans, including the fields of art, architecture, and country music. It has also been extremely impacted by the government, from the liberation of enslaved blacks during the Civil War, to the forced reshaping of the neighborhood during Urban Renewal.
In this episode of Nashville Retrospect Conversations, host Allen Forkum talks with Ronnie Miller, an Edgehill resident for nearly 70 years, and with Dr. Joel Dark, another Edgehill resident who is also a history professor at Tennessee State University.
Dark discusses the early history of the neighborhood, from land grants and country estates that held enslaved people, to “contraband camps,” early schools for African Americans, and the dislocations and restrictions caused by public housing projects, interstates, and government lending regulations.
Ronnie Miller’s family first settled in Edgehill in the 1920s, owning and operating multiple businesses and even founding a church. Miller recounts what it was like growing up in the neighborhood and recalls some of the detrimental effects of Urban Renewal on the community.
(As a bonus, if you’ve ever noticed polar bears in Edgehill, they explain that, too.)
Video production: Sonua Bohannon of Plum Writing & Marketing
Theme song: “Campfire Song“ by Chris Haugen (YouTube Audio Library)
Image sources: Google Maps, Library of Congress, Metro Archives, Metro Historical Commission, Metro Water Services, Nashville Public Library, National Library of Medicine, Newspapers.com, The Hermitage, and Tennessee State Library and Archives