If you follow me on social media, you know that I’m a bookworm. I have a tendency to share books I’m reading on my Instagram! Well, yesterday couldn’t have been a better day to celebrate literacy. From a book sale to the Southern Festival of Book, I was thrilled to see Nashville excited about books and the importance of reading. Yesterday was the perfect day for a bookworm like myself. Let me share with you my experience.
I started my day of literacy by going to Nashville Public Library’s Inglewood branch. They were hosting a book sale from 10am to 3pm. They had CDs, hardbacks, movies, paperbacks and the complete VHS collection of the Civil War. Everything was so affordable. They had paperbacks for $0.25 and $0.50. The hardbacks were $1.00. The DVDS were $1.00. The hardbacks were $1.00 and the VHS collection of the Civil War was on sale for $2.25.
The first time that I attended the book sale, my brother and I purchased a bag full of books for $5.50. The second time I went back, I brought my mother along because I couldn’t decide which books she would want. Fortunately for us, Inglewood Library ran a promotional offer while we were there. They were nearing the end of the sale hours so they decided to let small boxes go for $5 and large boxes were $10. They announced, “Anything that fits into these boxes are flat prices.” That was all we needed to hear. My mom and I grabbed one of the library’s small boxes and started packing it. We went to town on them. It was like Christmas came early. We left out of there with a small packing box of books and a few DVDs. Yet, we still hadn’t made it to the Southern Festival of Books that was going on at the War Memorial Plaza.
After we took the books back to the house, we went to the Southern Festival of Books. I’m not sure if it was my mom’s first time going to the Southern Festival of Books but it was definitely mine. I was pumped about it. I had been trying to go for years. I have to admit. My visit started off pretty rocking.
For starters we all know the irritation associated with finding parking in downtown Nashville. Well, the festival was in the middle of the parking chaos. After failed attempts at parking in the Nashville Public Library’s garage (it was full), I was able to find parking by the Tennessee State Museum.
When walking up the steps to the Plaza, I was getting my camera ready to snap a few shots of the festival activity and advertise a few of the authors and vendors for FREE. Just so you know, I target locals when I'm at events, but if I receive a positive vibe from someone and like what their doing, I’ll give them a mention on here, too. Well, my plan didn’t go as planned.
Not even 5 minutes into the festival, I realized my mother and I were not welcomed by some of the vendors. Every vendor by the welcome sign at the top of the steps facing the TPAC were EXTREMELY unfriendly. One of the ladies working as a vendor was very deliberate about not wanting to engage with us. She went as far as to offer a lady a half of a step in front of us (who was really trying to walk past her) something from her table and asked her to partake in a word activity she had at her tent without ever even acknowledging us. She was looking directly at us and we were looking at her. This was not a case of, “Oh, I didn’t see you there.” She went out of her way to not acknowledge us. Now I can’t say if she was a local or not. What I can say is it was extremely disappointing to see this festering in a city I love. I am starting to see more and more activity like this at local events and in certain areas of Nashville.
In that moment, I felt like all other African Americans and people of color I’ve heard say they rarely visit downtown Nashville because of encounters like these and that there’s never anything for people of color to do. Everything is beer, boots, country music and honky tonks. Before you say, “Oh, they can just go to some of that and try to enjoy themselves,” think on this. I went to a book festival, where the focal point is supposed to be books, and received this treatment. How do you think someone of color would get treated at a honky tonk where 1950s music and entertainment rituals are expected? I don’t know if you know this or not but the 1950s were a dangerous time for my kind. I am not trying to go back to that era, period. I do not feel the 50s or any other era where people were oppressed should be celebrated or mimicked, only analyzed and learned from. I digress…
Being the person that I am, I eventually jumped to being the bigger person. Although I was vocal about leaving, my mother encouraged me to stay. We continued through the festival. No one from that side of the festival greeted us or even tried to tell us about there products. We went down the other side and was greeted by Black Sands Entertainment. They are responsible for a comic titled Black Sands.
Black Sands was started by Manuel Godoy, an African American male who’s passionate about telling fantasy stories of the ancient world. He and his wife were thrilled to talk to me about their comic book series and how they got started.
Another super creative booth that welcomed us was Ann Doll the Cute Photographer, a doll that travels all over the world to bring back the innocence of kindergarten. Ann is well-known for preserving light-hearted fun through books, stars and stickers. What is more symbolic of kindergarten fun than stars and stickers? Get more of Ann Doll the Cute Photographer merchandise on her site. Plus, there’s no telling where Ann may go next. To stay up-to-date on Ann’s travels, find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Unlike the rest of the material on my site, these vendors were not from Nashville. I went to the Southern Festival of Books to support locals by buying books and plugging a few of them on my site. However, some of the locals (I am certain they were locals as all of their tents had titles) were extremely unfriendly.
Just an aside, McKay's and super_saiyan_e were friendly. I wasn’t able to get pictures of theirs because their booths were pretty busy. Find them on social media, too!
Pennyworth Books and CSPAN were inviting, too. I enjoyed the CSPAN bus tour and made purchases at the Pennyworth Books’ $5 books booth.
What started off a bit rocky at the Southern Festival of Books, ended in a great way. I stand by my statement that yesterday was a great day for book lovers. My mom, brother and I were able to stock up on newer books at an affordable rate while being surrounded by other book lovers, too. Just so you know, my encounter with books didn’t end after this event but that’s a story for another day.
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Creator of everything you see on here.