Meet the Locals | Shelbyville Multimedia

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Adapted from the film Welcome to Shelbyville
directed and produced by Kim A. Snyder

Get to Know the Locals

As in most communities, people came to Shelbyville at different times, for different reasons. Whether their families have lived here for seven generations or whether they came recently to find work, many have powerful stories about the challenges of change. Click on an image or name below for more details about each local. 

  • Shelbyville, Tennessee

    Shelbyville, Tennessee

    A typical southern town undergoing dramatic demographic changes, Shelbyville, TN embodies America’s latest face of diversity. Known to many as The Pencil City, Shelbyville’s economy has been driven by pencil manufacturing and poultry processing.

  • Miss Beverly

    Miss Beverly

    Caterer, Excel Catering

    Miss Beverly’s family has lived in Shelbyville for generations. A devout churchgoer and gregarious caterer, she asks aloud the tough questions about her new Muslim neighbors, their beliefs and their impact on the town.

  • Hawo


    Worker, Tyson Foods

    A math teacher and nurse in her native, war-torn Somalia, Hawo worked for two years at Tyson Foods in Shelbyville, the town she now calls home. She is currently learning English and studying for her citizenship test.

  • Miguel


    Auto-worker, General Motors

    Originally from Mexico, Miguel is a 19-year resident of Shelbyville, where he and his wife, Guadalupe, have raised six thriving children. In addition to working at General Motors, he is very active in his church and Shelbyville’s Hispanic community.

  • Ms. Luci

    Ms. Luci

    Teacher, ESL / U.S. Civics

    The American-born daughter of Mexican parents, Ms. Luci teaches citizenship and ESL to many of Shelbyville’s newcomers. Among her long list of community service work in Bedford County, she volunteers with Welcoming Tennessee. Ms. Luci has been married to her husband, Tom, for 41 years.

  • Pastor Stephen

    Pastor Stephen

    Pastor, First Presbyterian Church

    Pastor Stephen ministers at the First Presbyterian Church, where he helps to address the gap and tensions among the new- and long-time Shelbyville residents. He was the first local Christian minister to reach out to the Muslim imam, in an attempt to tackle mistrust in the community.

  • Miss Marilyn

    Miss Marilyn

    Sunday School Teacher

    Miss Marilyn, a native Shelbyvillian, is a retired public elementary school teacher who taught in Shelbyville for 34 years. She often draws parallels between the civil rights movement – in which she was very involved in the 1960s – and the experience of immigrants today.