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The Promise

19 EpisodesProduced by Nashville Public RadioWebsite

An immersive series from Nashville Public Radio about inequality and the people trying to rise above it, with host and reporter Meribah Knight. In Season 1 of The Promise, we told the story of Nashville's largest public housing complex, smack in the middle of a city on the rise. In Season 2, we expl… read more

19 Episodes | 2017 - 2020

Coming Soon: The Promise

December 29th, 2017


Here's a preview of the new special six-part series from Nashville Public Radio, where we take you inside Nashville's oldest and largest public …

Part 1: A Change is Gonna Come

January 24th, 2018


At 61 years old, Vernell McHenry is like the grandmother of her corner of James Cayce. Where she’s lived for more than 17 years, greeting the …

Part 2: A Beautiful Day In The Projects

January 31st, 2018


If you live in the Cayce Homes in Nashville, you know Dexter Turner. Not by Dexter, but by his nickname: Big Man. A husband, a father, a community leader, a showman — Big Man is a name everyone knows here. People love …

Part 3: The People And The Police

February 7th, 2018


The relationship between James Cayce residents and the Nashville police is a tenuous one. In this episode, we explore two defining moments in Cayce: …

Part 4: The Great Divide

February 14th, 2018


This is a story about the assumptions we all make. And the secrets we keep. With WPLN reporter Meribah Knight as the go-between, Big Man, a public housing resident from the Cayce Homes, walks across the street to meet …

Part 5: Get Some Gone

February 21st, 2018


There is a saying in Nashville’s James Cayce Homes: “Get some gone.” Three simple words that describe the urge, the mission, to move out, to get away …

Part 6: The Future

March 14th, 2018


Does this big idea to have low-income and higher income people living side-by-side really make a community better, safer, healthier? As The Promise comes to a close, we dig into the fundamental question driving this …


April 27th, 2018


We return to the James Cayce Homes to follow up with residents amid the $600 million overhaul. But in checking back, we trip into some news. And …

Bonus 2: The Big Man Interview

November 15th, 2018


If you've listened to The Promise, you no doubt remember Dexter Turner, aka Big Man. We met him in episode 2. The husband, father and community leader with a quick wit and a large personality had been planning a family …

Update: Letting Go

November 4th, 2019


Ms. Vernell has another big decision to make: to stay in Cayce through the chaos of redevelopment, or to leave? Her conclusion reveals something …

Season 2 Coming Soon

August 3rd, 2020


Season 2 of The Promise grapples with some of the most divisive topics in America: public education and race. This is a story about one school trying …

A Tale Of Two Schools

August 31st, 2020


At the beginning of the 2019 school year, Principal Ricki Gibbs knew he had a tough job ahead. Warner Elementary in East Nashville had just landed on …

The Nashville Way

September 7th, 2020


To understand the resegregation of Nashville’s schools, you have to start with understanding desegregation.  

In 1954, the famous Brown v. Board …

The Unraveling

September 14th, 2020


After 43 years of courtroom battles, Nashville's landmark school desegregation lawsuit was settled.  In the eyes of the law, the city finally made an …

What You Can't Unsee

September 21st, 2020


When Willie Sims’ daughter started kindergarten at a high-performing elementary school in East Nashville, all seemed well at first. His …

Warner's Hope

September 28th, 2020


Warner Elementary is about to take its moon shot. After landing on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools, it’s aiming to make the list of …

A Reckoning

October 5th, 2020


Last fall, parents from Lockeland Elementary held a community meeting to talk about the elephant in the room: Despite the diversity of the …

The Recruitment Divide

October 12th, 2020


There was a time when the decision of where to send your child to school was relatively simple: public or private. Now, in Nashville and many other …

The Final Exam

October 19th, 2020


It’s February 2020, and Warner Elementary’s star is rising. It’s showing so much progress this year that it might be able to go from one of the …

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