Diane Nash Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-Ins Ben West

Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-Ins

This past month I’ve dedicated myself to learning more about the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, which began in February of 1960. Moved by the process, I’ve made a two-part audio/video collage in tribute to the heroes who so greatly impacted our city (and nation).

Part one (released February 2, 2022) is titled “peace, quiet and good order,” while the second part (released February 27, 2022) is titled “one more step.” Respect and admiration go to Diane Nash, James Lawson, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, and all who have and continue to take it upon themselves to get into good trouble.

The music behind the series was made using Audacity and the Beatmaker 3 iPad app, sampling “Corrupted World” by Nashville’s Marion James. The video was edited in Premiere Pro, using audio and video from several historical sources: Sit-In, a 1960 documentary by Robert M. Young; an interview with John Lewis, from the Washington University Film and Media Archive; the “Nashville – We Were Warriors” segment from A Force More Powerful, a documentary from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict; the PBS special titled, “John Lewis: Get in the Way”; this interview with James Lawson from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict; and this uncredited video clip.

kings breath villin

king’s breath

The “king’s breath” beat was made with a sample from YAVANE‘s “Vocal Chords,” using the Beatmaker 3 iPad app. The video uses excerpts from “The Flow of Zen” with Alan Watts, retrieved from the Internet Archive. The track also features a brief audio clip from a separate Alan Watts recording, in which he says, “And the whole art of poetry is to say what can’t be said.”

Listen on Bandcamp / Soundcloud

[“king’s breath” was featured on the May 11, 2022 edition of the We Own This Town podcast.]