The raping of North Nashville

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

There are some surprising monumental changes taking place in North Nashville that some in the African American community would liken to a rape. This may sound drastic or even alarming, but the talk among many Blacks is that they are literally being forced out of their community by unscrupulous tactics causing an agenda void of African Americans concerns or input. Their community is subtly being taken and redeveloped for a clientele that some say is not inclusive to those who lack upper middle class status. Put in layman terms, many African Americans will not be able to pay the exuberant prices to live in what was once their community.

However, if you look beyond the development and renovations (occurring for what we are told is for the best for Nashville), there are casualties. It is apparent among those who are not sleeping or sidetracked by smokescreens that the African American community is being dispensed and relocated to accommodate their White counterparts. There might as well be a sign put up called ‘Operation Eradicate North Nashville of as many African Americans as Possible.’

I’m sorry if I appear blunt, but there is no easy way to sugarcoat what is noticeably taking place—and I’m not trying to be politically correct to pacify the culprits. I can only imagine who may be bringing about this. It has been suggested that likely conspirators include the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, some politicians, developers, and perhaps some of those who have been presented to the African American community as our leaders. You do the homework.

Ask yourself why many Africans Americans leaders are so quiet when they plainly see the blatant rape of our North Nashville community to accommodate predominately upper middle class Whites. I believe in diversity, but as it stands (with the rate of gentrification occurring in North Nashville) it won’t be surprising eventually to see only a small percentage of Blacks living or sustaining a business in this part of town in the foreseeable future. I’m not buying that all the changes occurring are in the best interest of Nashville as a whole. It is in the best interests of a select group who are taking advantage of the North Nashville African community. Their premise seems to be based on greed, self-interest and in serving a predominately White clientele.

We all know exploiting historically economically disadvantaged communities is nothing new. In fact, it is a national occurrence called gentrification. The practice starts with identifying impoverish areas, buying out and relocating the original

inhabitants, and redeveloping and renovating the area. Once the area has had a major developmental overhaul, the homes and property values become so high it is impossible for the original property owners to return or for those seeking affordable housing to buy. Thus you have an area for a preferred clientele, which usually consists of predominately upper middle class Whites.

My major concern is that for the sake of diversity, there should be affordable housing for a designated percentage of African Americans. Blacks should be allowed a say so in the redevelopment of their community and a stake in its future of their.

If you feel my concern is unwarranted, just look at lower Jefferson St. From 3rd Ave N. to 10th Ave. N. What do you see? You see expensive condominiums and apartments overlooking the Bicentennial Mall. One cannot overlook the occupation of Germantown and its growing expansion into Salem town. Look at the buildup of Hope Garden (between Rosa Parks Blvd. and 11th Ave. No.). The accelerating cost of homes and property taxes in those areas make it virtually impossible for many Blacks to afford to live there. Old homes are being bought, torn down, and replaced with two or more costly homes on what was originally one lot. Just imagine the property value of homes and businesses in that area after the new Nashville’s Sounds Baseball Park is built.

Can there be a collaboration to accommodate the concerns of the original inhabitants of North Nashville, or do the so-called Black leaders, complicit in the raping of their own community, see no reason to meet? What will the African American community tell their children when they ask why no one advocated in their best interests to maintain a substantial role or ownership in what was once historically and predominately North Nashville?