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From Drug Arrest to Author: Nashville Man’s Inspiring Journey


Upon receiving a 17-year sentence for a first-time drug offense in 2008, Calvin Bryant found himself facing a punishment equivalent to that of a second-degree murder conviction.

However, Calvin’s journey extends far beyond his initial crime. His transformation serves as a compelling narrative that deserves attention and recognition for its positive trajectory, offering valuable lessons for all of us.

Reflecting on his past actions, Calvin expressed, “Just me committing a crime inside these housing projects and me coming back to rebuild my community, it’s something special.”

Sixteen years ago, Calvin, a former high school football standout with a scholarship to play for TSU, engaged in drug dealing with a police informant.

The severity of Calvin’s 17-year sentence stemmed from being prosecuted under the drug-free school zone law, with the Edgehill library situated within close proximity to the transaction site.

Fast forward to six years ago, a pivotal moment arrived when a negotiation with the Nashville district attorney led to Calvin’s early release after serving 10 years—a turning point in Calvin’s life.

Driven by a newfound purpose, Calvin initiated a non-profit organization aimed at supporting at-risk youth and played a crucial role in advocating for a bill to reduce the expanse of drug-free school zones. Many argue that these zones disproportionately impact communities of color due to the dense clustering of schools, churches, and libraries in urban cores.

When questioned about his motivation for change, Calvin emphasized, “What was different with me was I was raised the right way… it was up to me to change it, and I was put into a position to turn my mess into a message.”

Presently, Calvin has authored a book titled “Both Sides of The Story,” intended to inspire others by sharing his personal journey encompassing family upbringing, athletic success, overcoming adversities, legislative advocacy, and personal growth.

Looking ahead, Calvin mused, “I never thought I’d write a book… maybe a movie one day, you know?”

As Calvin envisions a future where his impact expands, he remains committed to his mission, recognizing that true transformation requires time and perseverance. Despite the visible scars of neighborhood challenges, Calvin’s story is far from concluded.

“It’s going to be more to come, the positive,” Calvin affirmed. “I just want to get bigger and bigger, don’t stop with the book.”

For those interested, Calvin’s book, “Both Sides of The Story,” is available for purchase.

Carrie recommends:

Discover a heartwarming tale of a Nashville group’s musical gesture to a local family, beautifully captured by Jason Lamb and photojournalist Catherine Steward. Prepare to be deeply moved by this touching narrative.

-Carrie Sharp