Minority Caucus, community leaders support ordinance to rename 5th Ave. after Rep. John Lewis

1960 Nashville police mug shots of Rep. John Lewis

The Minority Caucus of the Metropolitan Council and a group of community leaders support an ordinance to rename Fifth Avenue in honor of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis to Rep. John Lewis Way.

Rep. Lewis began his lifelong crusade for civil rights and civic justice in Nashville while a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary and later at Fisk University. He was a leader in the historic lunch counter sit-ins that led to Nashville becoming the first Southern city to start the desegregation of public places. In 1961, he represented the Nashville group of the burgeoning civil rights movement, as one of the 13 original ‘Freedom Riders.’ Later, Lewis would embark on a career in public service, first as an Atlanta City Council member, then as a Congressman representing Georgia’s Fifth District.

Fifth Avenue would become Rep. John Lewis Way from the intersection of Fifth Avenue North and Coffee Street in Salemtown, into downtown, and end at Nashville City Cemetery. Several area businesses such as the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Giarratana (505), Bridgestone Arena, Nashville Predators, Convention & Visitors Corporation, etc. are in support of this name change.

A series of virtual meetings will be held to discuss and answer questions about the street name change. Virtual meetings will be held on Thursday, September 10, at 4 pm, Thursday, September 17, at 5 pm, and Thursday, September 24, at 6 pm.

For more information and meeting links, visit  <www.nashville.gov/News-Media/Calendar-of-Events.aspx>. There is also a petition on <change.org> where you can sign in support of the name change: <chng.it/NJH2BvGH2n>.

Lewis once said: “I believe that you see something that you want to get done, you cannot give up, and you cannot give in.” Working together, we can get it done.

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