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Live Better in Downtown Nashville

Black History Month Edition

To honor Black History Month, we are sharing content that spotlights the history, experiences, and accomplishments of our Black neighbors throughout Nashville. We aim to respectfully highlight an underserved community in a way that brings honor to the achievements and acknowledgment of the history of Nashville’s Black community. We want to write about all the amazing businesses, artists, and community members, not just once and not just during Black History Month but throughout the seasons and on all of our platforms. Our promise to our followers is to highlight all the wonderful contributions of our Black neighbors and to uplift our community members.

This week’s community feature is dedicated to monuments and sites where the Civil Rights Movement made history and a better future in Nashville.

Our main resource for today’s post is the Civil Rights Trail.

“More than 50 years ago in Nashville, Tennessee, college students, ministers, and other activists set out to right the wrongs of our nation, not by use of weapons, violence, or vicious slurs but through peaceful protests and by taking a seat at local lunch counters. As these demonstrations advanced, the group’s steady cries for equality were answered with hatred and violence. Yet these courageous men and women continued on, eventually conquering adversity and triggering a wave of successful protests across the southeastern United States.”

Starting in February at the Woolworth counter on 5th Avenue students from Nashville Student Movement assembled to peacefully protest to end racial segregation at downtown lunch counters. These sit-ins lasted from February 13th to May 10th, 1960 following the Greensboro, SC sit-ins.

On the morning of April 19, 1960, after a bomb was thrown at the home of civil rights attorney Z. Alexander Looby these peaceful protests culminated in a march on downtown Nashville. With over 3,000 participants gathering to march in silence down Jefferson Street, past the Tennessee State Capitol, to end at the Davidson County Courthouse to confront the then-mayor Mayor Ben West.

To commemorate this historical march the Witness Walls stand next to Davidson County Courthouse. Visitors to this monument can weave through the walls to experience how the brave protestors had to weave through the city to be heard and learn about the obstacles they had to face.

One of the best places to explore the role that Nashville played in the Civil Rights Movement is the Nashville Public Library Civil Rights Room at the downtown location. The Civil Rights Room, located on the 2nd floor at the North end of the building, is inside the Nashville Room and is open during all open hours of the Main Library.

We are still on the road to equality as evidenced by the more recent Black Lives Matter protests. Amidst a global pandemic, thousands of peaceful protestors took to the streets of Downtown Nashville in July of 2020 after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. This rally and march, among many across the globe, highlight the Nashvillians’ commitment to equality. The fight for equality continues to this day. A large part of that fight is housing. The Black Homeownership Gap is still a critical issue in Nashville and across our county. To learn more about how you can help, please visit 3by30.org

Resources: Civil Rights Trail and the Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Room

The median sales price for a condominium in this area is $450,000 with a median sq ft of 862.