Tennessee Divided

WMOT  news series, Tennessee Divided: An exploration of the cultural, racial and political discord across Middle Tennessee and the nation. 

Credit WMOT

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: The complete audio series

Feb 27, 2018

Tennessee Divided is a WMOT News Series devoted to the exploration of Middle Tennessee's current cultural, racial and political discord. You will find links to the audio version of all seven stories below. The print version of the entire series can be found here.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: Bridging the Divide

Feb 19, 2018

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --   WMOT wraps up its exploration of the cultural, racial and political discord roiling Middle Tennessee and the nation by looking to local initiatives and organizations for solutions. In short, how do we bridge the current divide?

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: Jewish community perspective

Feb 16, 2018
The Temple

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The Temple is Nashville’s oldest Jewish Synagogue.

The congregation first met in the home of a prominent Nashville family in the 1840s and began building a synagogue on Vine Street in 1851.

Senior Rabbi Mark Schiftan says the Jewish community has enjoyed a mostly positive relationship with Nashville’s majority Christian population in the decades since. He believes that bond has only grown stronger in recent years.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: LGBTQ Community Perspective

Feb 16, 2018


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Jensen Kai Barber-Rhone recently reached a toddler’s developmental milestone when he first used the word “mama.” Jensen and mother Sondra celebrated with a game of tickle on the living room couch.

Jensen actually has two moms, Sondra and Dakerri Barber-Rhone. The two women have been together 14 years and married five years ago. But they chose not to have a child until both could be listed as parents on the birth certificate.

That was made possible by the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming same sex unions.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: The Christian perspective

Feb 13, 2018

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  -- Attend a Sunday morning church service at Believer’s Chapel in Murfreesboro and you’ll be warmly greeted.

Once services get underway the music is upbeat and inspring. When Senior Pastor Barry Mershon speaks, his message is practical, positive and affirming.

But dig a little deeper and you find discomfort, perhaps even fear among the congregation’s membership, and among Christians all across Middle Tennessee and the nation.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: African-American perspective

Feb 13, 2018
BLM Facebook

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The White Supremacist gatherings held in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville this past fall were unsettling for many Middle Tennessee residents regardless of their skin color.

But overt racism is hardly something new for the mid-state’s African-American residents. Dr. Jennifer Woodard teaches communication at Middle Tennessee State University. She said black residents like herself experience some level of bias every day.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: The immigrant perspective

Feb 12, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Last fall U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Launched by former president Obama, DACA shields some 800,000 undocumented young people from deportation.

In defending the decision to rescind DACA, Sessions cited fears some Americans commonly associate with illegal immigrants.

TENNESSEE DIVIDED: The Muslim Perspective

Feb 12, 2018

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  On a recent Friday evening the services were packed at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Attendance is strong at the Mosque in spite of a recent uptick in hate incidents directed at the mid-state’s Muslim community.

Last summer, vandals did extensive damage to the mosque, spray painting obscene message on walls and doors and scattering pork meat around the building.

Days later, there was a similar incident at the apartment of Physician Muhamed Faour. Vandals damaged his car and again left pork meat scattered about.