A resolution recognizing Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares for her distinguished work and exceptional service to the people of Davidson County, the state of Tennessee, and the nation.

WHEREAS, it is most appropriate and fitting to recognize a renowned Poet, Storyteller, Educator, and Journalist leading up to her forthcoming milestone of 30 years of service to the state of Tennessee through poetry; and

WHEREAS, this noteworthy individual is Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares, who has served 29 years as Tennessee's distinguished Ambassador of Letters, Official State Poet, and Arts Advocate, also devoting 29 years of service to Tennessee State University as a professor of journalism; and

WHEREAS, the "Harriette Bias-Insignares Award for Achievement in Poetry" given by BYSJ Ministry and the "Harriette Bias-Insignares Writing Excellence Award" given by SPJ-TSU Chapter are established to promote the art and craft of writing in poetry and journalism; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Bias-Insignares has been recognized for establishing the Christian Writers Ministry Network, the WRITING EXCELLENCE CAMPAIGN and THE WRITING PALS CLUBS, fostering intercultural understanding among diverse groups through her many literary works, honoring the United States military at home and abroad, honoring and celebrating women, and improving the classroom environment for students from Head Start to college; and

WHEREAS, she has been a pioneer in the storytelling renaissance as Juba-the-Storyteller on Folk Festival USA on National Public Radio and the first African American to perform at the "National Storytelling Festival" and the first to serve on the Board of Directors of NAPPS, its parent organization; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares is a recipient of the Adjutant General's Distinguished Patriot Medallion, the highest military award that can be presented to a civilian in Tennessee, for patriotism through poetry dedicated to the Gulf War soldiers, where today her poems hang on display in all the National Guard Armories in Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, on behalf of the state of Tennessee, her poetry citations have been presented to such notable persons as President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, Vice President Al Gore, President George Bush, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Gen. Colin Powell, US Poet Laureate Robert Hayden, actors Ossie Davis, James Earl Jones, and Eartha Kitt, among others, and Nashvillians including Dr. Dorothy Brown, John Seigenthaler, Clara Hieronymous, Ben Rechter, Judith Liff, Dr. Evelyn Fancher, Lillian Dunn Thomas, Dr. Sam B. Smith, and many others; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares has received a number of other artistic honors including the Eta Phi Beta Arts Award, Phyllis Wheatley Poetry Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha National Artists Showcase Award, Music City Links Outstanding Service Award as Arts Facet Chair, Governor's Spotlight Award on Women in the Arts, Rep. Harold Love Community Involvement Award from Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and most recently the 2006 Blue and White All-Star Academy Award for the Performing Arts; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares is listed in the Directory of American Scholars and the International Who's Who in Education, among others, and has received a number of education honors including the 1991 Consortium of Doctors Trailblazer Award, 1994 TSU Outstanding Teacher Award, 1997 Society of Professional Journalists David Eshelman National Award, 2003 Scholars Award from the TSU Foundation, 2006 Contemporary Black History Makers Award, and countless others; and

WHEREAS, an inspiration to all, she has diligently worked to ensure that the values, legacy, and tradition of black heritage are secured for all future generations through her newspaper column - Juba's Calico Bow - featuring storytelling and folk culture, publications such as Juba's Folk Games: A Collection of Afro-American Children's Games, and her work on the Tennessee Arts Commission Folk Panel; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Bias-Insignares has promoted the art and craft of writing and speaking among our youth through her WRITING EXCELLENCE CAMPAIGN in 14 colleges and universities and the WRITING PALS CLUBS in middle and high schools across the US and continues that outreach through the inauguration of National Writing Month to raise the national consciousness about the urgency to improve written and oral communication among our youth who are the future guardians of the literary tradition in the United States; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council recognizes Dr. Harriette Bias- Insignares as she continues to encourage the promotion, understanding, and appreciation of poetry to all those who have read and heard her work and wishes her continued success in all future endeavors.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as recognizing Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares for her distinguished work and exceptional service to the people of Davidson County, the state of Tennessee, and the nation, and hereby names her to be its first Poet Laureate of Nashville through which she will serve as artist-in-residence for the Metro Nashville Public Schools and a resource for the Nashville community for two years.

Section 2. The Metropolitan Council Office is directed to prepare a copy of this Resolution to be presented to Dr. Harriette Bias-Insignares.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Brenda Gilmore


Referred: Rules & Confirmations Committee 
Introduced: August 29, 2006
Deferred: August 29, 2006
Adopted: November 9, 2006
Approved: November 10, 2006