80. The annual Reverend Enoch Fuzz birthday block party in Nashville.

ABOVE: The Reverend Enoch Fuzz is introduced by Grammy Award-winning Gospel singer and television personality Bobby Jones as the food is served, at Reverend Fuzz’s birthday block party on the corner of Batavia St and 33rd Ave N. Near Tennessee State University, September 2017. 

The Reverend Fuzz is a notorious civil rights era minister who has become one of Nashville’s most prominent bridge builders. The annual celebration is a “must attend” event in Nashville, especially for elected officials.

Throughout the evening the bash sees a steady flow of the city’s leaders, including City Council members, judges, police, business leaders, and educators, and from people from across communities throughout Nashville.

The Reverend Fuzz is important in Nashville not because of what he has done but because of his attitude. He has influence. And his influence is the result of character. He admits that earlier in his life he made a habit of ruffling people’s feathers in order to get things done. But he wasn’t interested in controversy or causing problems. He has always been interested in people loving one another.

We spoke before the party and the Reverend said things like, “I tell folk, ‘Meet me at Mount Carmel church, not in a back room.’ …I tell people there’s more progress on top of the table than you’ll ever find under the table.”

He said he used to cause a lot of headaches in the community protesting injustice. But now… “My gun’s out of bullets. And the bullets I had were blanks.” Instead of protesting he now seeks to build relationships.

He said he now sees love is more important than anger. “There are no universities offering degrees in love…” He says. “I can see the mistakes of the absence of love all over our nation…”

He said we are all seeking the same thing ultimately, we just don’t know it yet. “We can walk together…”

He said we should “be more curious than critical…” and “It’s not easy not to be mad…”

I asked him if people say a lot of things about him. He said, “It’s a blessing when people tell lies on you because when they tell the truth no one will believe them.”

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