Nashville Street Renamed after Late Civil Rights Icon John Lewis

Nashville renamed a large portion of 5th Ave North after Rep. John Lewis, the late civil rights icon and congressman from Georgia who helped desegregate the city’s lunch counters. 

The Metro council received letters from the CEO of the Ryman Auditorium, the interim President of Fisk University and the American Baptist College where the late congressman went to school. All the letters received expressed their support for renaming a part of Fifth Avenue to the civil rights icon John Lewis.

And the Council voted on change Thursday night during its regular meeting.

A large part of 5th Avenue between Interstate 65 and Oak Street is now called Rep. John Lewis Way. The swap also now means the stretch of the street between Broadway and Commerce will no longer be called Opry Place.

5th Ave. North from Commerce Street to I-65 will be renamed Rep. John Lewis Way North. 

And 5th Avenue South from Broadway to Oak Street will become Rep. John Lewis Way South.

Lewis was one of the 13 original “Freedom Riders” and he led the historic lunch counter sit-ins that resulted to Nashville becoming the first southern city to start the desegregation of public places.

He died July 17 after battling with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. 

He was a college student at American Baptist College and then later Fisk University, and he served in congress for a long time.