Central to the occupation was Justin Jones, a student of Fisk University and Vanderbilt Divinity School whose place at the forefront of the protests brought him and the occupation to the attention of the Tennessee state troopers, state and US senators, and Governor Bill Lee. The result was two months of solidarity in the face of rampant abuse, community in the face of state-sponsored terror, and standoff after standoff at the doorsteps of the people's house with those who claimed to represent them. In this, his first book, Jones describes those two revolutionary months of nonviolent resistance against a police state that sought to dehumanize its citizens.
The People's Plaza is a rumination on the abuse of power, and a vision of a more just, equitable, anti-racist Nashville—a vision that kept Jones and those with him posted on the plaza through intense heat, unprovoked arrests, vandalism, theft, and violent suppression. It is a first-person account of hope, a statement of intent, and a blueprint for nonviolent resistance in the American South and elsewhere.
1. We’ve Been Here Before
2. Lay Your Burdens Down
3. “Do Not Underestimate Your Opponent”
4. Shift Change
5. Power Washing
6. “Wait in the Plaza, Children”
7. Capitol Hill
8. Back the Badge?
9. “It Was Like We Were Being Hunted”
10. Night Terror
11. Aggravated Littering
12. State of Tennessee vs. Justin Jones
~Bernard Lafayette Jr., Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee cofounder and Nashville Student Movement leader
"This book should serve as a road map for nonviolent movements in the twenty-first century."
"Justin Jones is a true leader and the most noble of humans. We are lucky to have him walking with us."~Ann Patchett
"The sixty-two days in this book are at once a reflection of, a prayer for, and an indictment of America in the twenty-first century."~Learotha Williams Jr., coeditor of I'll Take You There: Exploring Nashville's Social Justice Sites
"This book beautifully chronicles the inspiring story behind The People's Plaza, as well as the courageous and unrelenting people behind it. It is young people like Justin that are continuing the legacy of our Civil Rights heroes of the past. The future is safe in their hands."~Zulfat Suara, Metro Nashville Council Member At Large