The late John Egerton and I co-edited Nashville: An American Self-Portrait, an “intentional artifact” documenting the city’s remarkable year 2000 through the work of scores of writers, photographers and other contributors. The book went to press in August 2001 and reached stores in late September. It thus became not just a multi-faceted portrayal of one of the most news-filled years in our history but also a portrait in deep detail of an American city at the moment before terrorism transformed the country.
Jim Ridley, now editor of the Nashville Scene, penned the day-by-day chronicle of the year that ran as a ribbon alongside the book’s essays, photos and art. I am posting some nuggets from that variegated ribbon as time permits.
Dec. 28—Waylon Jennings fans with leftover Christmas cash are in for a bargain. Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter, are moving to a new home in Arizona that is much smaller than their Brentwood mansion. The country singers throw a three-day estate sale that lets fans troop through their Old Hickory Boulevard residence. Items for sale include posters, guns, one of the 1969 “General Lee” Dodge Chargers used in “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show and Jennings’ old mascot, a wooden Indian named Leon.
Dec. 29—A hearse carries Joe Gilliam Jr. down the street that gave him his nickname, as more than 1,000 people turn out to bid Jefferson Street Joe farewell. Today would have been his 50th birthday. At TSU’s Kean Hall, where the young Gilliam once played pickup basketball games, he is honored by a crowd that includes NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris, his former teammate, and Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl.
Dec. 30—The Christmas holidays are over, but the celebration of Kwanzaa is just beginning tonight at the Martha O’Bryan Center off Shelby Street. The Village Cultural Arts Center, the multipurpose Charlotte Pike teaching facility, presents its annual Kwanzaa Celebration for a crowd of approving families and neighborhood residents. When it opened in 1995, The Village offered mainly music and drumming lessons; under the guidance of director Kysa Novichi Estes, its mission has expanded to include computer labs, tae kwon do classes, tutoring, community guidance and studies in African history and culture.