Robert Churchwell Jr., comes from a “God & church centered” loving family with a rich and honorable legacy in journalism, education and medicine. His father, Robert Churchwell Sr., was known as the Jackie Robinson of journalism in the segregated South by becoming one of the first Black journalist employed by a White-owned metropolitan newspaper at the Nashville Banner. Sr’s. select body of work is in the National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ’s) Hall of Fame Museum and on the 3rd Floor of the National Museum of African American History & Culture & Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C.
His mother, Mrs. Mary Churchwell was an educator for more than 30 years and taught him his first prayer at age 3. When asked at 10 years old, what he wanted to be, he shared with his mom his desire to be a band director and told him he would need to be a teacher first. His love for being a teacher, which he refers to as “a calling”, stems from the home environment in which he and his brothers and sister were raised.
Mary Churchwell was a creative educator and Robert Jr., said of her passion for teaching, “she could teach a brick” (smiles)! Listening to Louis Armstrong, Beethoven and other classical music gave them a great appreciation for the arts with all five siblings playing either the trumpet, clarinet, violin, or piano. Discipline, humor, music, and subliminal learning were a part of the Churchwell family’s Saturday rituals and taught them that whatever you begin, you must end.
His origin story of philanthropy goes back to his involvement with the Family Children’s Board and Ronald McDonald House years ago. His mother and aunt taught him that “to whom much is given, much is required”. The Churchwell family have the Robert & Mary Churchwell Scholarship Fund housed here at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee students majoring in journalism & English, in addition support Vanderbilt’s Children Hospital.
As a former teacher and band director at White’s Creek High School, Mr. Churchwell Jr., is proud of some of his former students who matriculated into noble professions of attorneys, judges, state representatives and pastors (i.e. Attorney Spruell Driver, Judge Angie Blackshear Dalton, Rev. Dr. Harold Love Jr., and Rev. Morris Tipton ). He considers his greatest success his two son’s (both with Masters Degrees in technology and education)- William Ross Churchwell & Robert Benjamin Churchwell and being called “Grand Daddy”!
Faith and family are critical to his foundation & legacy. Seay Hubbard United Methodist Church is where the family were raised and have been active for multiple generations and sharing Sunday dinners together after church including sister Marisa, and brothers Drs. Andre’, Kevin & Keith Churchwell.
The Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School -when he walks in every day and see’s his father’s photo in the lobby, he is honored to share the name of a great man, “he’s my hero”.
The title “Changemaker” has Mr. Robert Churchwell Jr. feeling, humbled and grateful!
Feel Free to follow the link below and donate to this worthy fund:
Robert Sr. and Mary Churchwell Scholarship Fund – The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee – Nashville, TN (cfmt.org)