The Promise: Season 2

Nashville Public Radio

In 2019, when host Meribah Knight began reporting what would become the second season of The Promise podcast, Warner Elementary was one of Tennessee’s lowest performing schools. It was also one of the most racially and economically lopsided schools in Nashville; the school is almost all Black and all poor. As Knight’s reporting elucidates, Warner is emblematic of the structural inequities that are rampant in public education, especially when you compare it, as she does, with a high-performing, almost all-white school just one mile away. Using Warner’s pivotal 2019-2020 school year as its frame and taking aim at nice, well-meaning white parents in an increasingly gentrified neighborhood, season two of The Promise chronicles the decades-long fight against desegregation in Nashville as well as Warner’s uphill battle, led by its charismatic new principal, to turn itself around. The podcast carefully lays out how the current school system is inherently dependent on the resources white households provide, both creating and perpetuating systemic inequality in the process that most affects Black students. For crafting an engrossing history lesson and a vibrant snapshot of a school, a neighborhood, and a city at a crossroads, The Promise is awarded a Peabody.