Tag Archives: Nathaniel Philbrick

A Historic Night in Nashville

30 Oct

A few weeks ago, our friend Steve invited me to attend a historic lecture at the Nashville Public Library. Being someone who gives historic lectures every day, I was fired up to have the opportunity to hear someone else do it. I was especially fired up to hear Nathaniel Philbrick, the person who was speaking.

Last Monday, was the big night to hear some interesting stories, but the history began before the lecture. We had dinner at Woolworth on Fifth, a new Nashville restaurant that has an old story. It is named for Woolworth Five and Dime, which was in the same location for decades. Those stores were famous for their shopping but became infamous for their lunch counters.

Those of you who know Civil Rights history probably realize that the first lunch counter protests took place in Greensboro, North Carolina. African-American students sat at the segregated lunch counters as a way to fight against the injustice. However, you may not know that lunch counter protests were supposed to happen in Nashville first. Students from Fisk University and Tennessee A and I trained for months to carry out the protests. While they were training, the students in Greensboro just decided to do it.

That did not stop the Nashville protests. Rip Patton, John Lewis and others completed their mission to much abuse. In fact, it is the first time that Lewis ever got arrested. Woolworth on Fifth has rebuilt the lunch counter and honors those brave people by telling their story.

After dinner, we walked to the library to hear Philbrick talk about his latest book, “In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown”. It is the last of his American Revolution trilogy. I have yet to read those, but I have read “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex” and “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Bighorn”.

After the lecture, we had the chance to meet Philbrick and get books signed.

At this point, I told him that have assigned “In the Heart of the Sea” to my freshman classes for years and have sold hundreds of copies. Like a good historian, he was appreciative of that.