Guide at a Glance
United Street Tours
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Heritage-History Tour, Sightseeing, Walking Tour
I was working in the charter school system as a dean, and I wanted to make the programming more student-led. I was asking students before Black History Month, “What do you want to do? What do you want the theme to be?” In my mind, those were simple questions, but the students didn’t know much about Nashville’s African American history or black history aside from Martin Luther King, Jr. I realized that students haven’t been exposed to a wide variety of black history stories. I went home and complained to my fiancé for several months. Then one day he said, “Chakita, I love you, but I can’t take it anymore. You have the power to do something about this.” That is how United Street Tours came about. We love to travel, and any time we travel, we take walking tours, but the walking tours that we took had little to no black history mentioned. If black history was mentioned, there was only one black fact. We started with the idea of bus tours, but those require a lot of money to get started. So then we wondered What is the minimal thing we can do to get this out there? And landed on walking tours. We had other ideas after that, but I always came back to the walking tours idea. We said let’s build it out and see where it leads. I spent weeks on research! I reached out to some local history professors and talked to them about history, the narrative and their perspectives. I put the tour together and presented it to them and my friends. The response was, “That was awful!” They hated it! They said, “You’re telling us all facts. We don’t want to hear facts. We want to hear stories.” You have to thank God for great friends and people who will tell you the truth! I went back to the drawing board and completely changed everything. Storytelling is a skill, and I had to learn that skill. Once I had it all together, it was beautiful. We have had nothing but five-star reviews. I have to attribute that to the moment when people said, “Chakita this isn’t great. This is bad.” If it wasn’t for that moment, it wouldn’t have pushed me to do better.