As a new year starts, it is the perfect time to reflect on the history surrounding our council and how we work towards presenting that history. Today, we’re joined by two members of Troop 1347 who, together with their troop, worked to install a historical marker at the Girl Scout Council to honor Josephine Holloway and her legacy.
As a Girl Scout Junior troop, we wanted people outside of Girl Scouts to know about Josephine Groves Holloway.
It all started when we went to Camp Holloway in the spring of 2018, earned the Guerney’s Cabin patch, and learned about the camp’s beginnings. As we started learning about Josephine Holloway (pictured left), we realized that with the great things she has done, she was surprisingly not that well known outside of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. We wanted to find a way to make sure more people were able to learn about her life and the amazing things she did, including starting the first African American troops in Middle Tennessee, becoming the first African American professional to work at our council, and being the driving force behind the creation of Camp Holloway. From there, we became determined to find a way to memorialize her life within Nashville city limits.
In May 2018, we had a meeting to learn about city government with Councilperson Angie Henderson of District 34. We decided it would be a good idea to write a letter to her explaining we wanted to honor Mrs. Holloway and asking for her help. We presented the letter to her at our meeting, and she graciously agreed to help us.
Knowing we would have to tell Mrs. Holloway’s story to inform others and convince them to support our project, our troop continued to learn about her life. Our troop leader helped us learn important facts about many of the key moments in her life which included the things she did to advance civil rights and make Girl Scouts a more inclusive organization. We visited the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library to learn about the history of civil rights in Nashville and the obstacles people of color faced at that time in history. This gave us an even greater appreciation of all she was able to do and a better understanding of the will it took for her to make the changes she did.
We later received funding through Councilperson Henderson’s efforts to install a historical marker at the Girl Scout Service Center on Granny White Pike and also worked together to write a resolution (Resolution No. RS2019-1630) that would first be read at City Council on March 19, which just happened to be Josephine Holloway’s birthday!
On July 23, 2019, along with members of her family now living across the United States, members of Nashville’s Metro Government, staff of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, and fellow Girl Scouts, we gathered to celebrate the installation of the historical marker that now sits on the corner of Granny White Pike and Battery Lane.
This project has been a great learning opportunity for our troop and made us realize we have the power to make changes within our community. We have also had a great opportunity to learn so much more about Josephine Holloway and continue to be inspired by her spirit and determination!