Before there were guidebooks, there were just guides--people in the community you could count on to show you around. I'll Take You There
is written by and with the people who most intimately know Nashville, foregrounding the struggles and achievements of people's movements toward social justice. The colloquial use of "I'll take you there" has long been a response to the call of a stranger: for recommendations of safe passage through unfamiliar territory, a decent meal and place to lay one's head, or perhaps a watering hole or juke joint.
In this book, more than one hundred Nashvillians "take us there," guiding us to places we might not otherwise encounter. Their collective entries bear witness to the ways that power has been used by social, political, and economic elites to tell or omit certain stories, while celebrating the power of counternarratives as a tool to resist injustice. Indeed, each entry is simultaneously a story about place, power, and the historic and ongoing struggle toward a more just city for all. The result is akin to the experience of asking for directions in an unfamiliar place and receiving a warm offer from a local to lead you on, accompanied by a tale or two.
Amie Thurber is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Learotha Williams Jr. is a professor of African American, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Public History at Tennessee State University and coordinator of the North Nashville Heritage Project.