Nashville names street after civil rights icon John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis, civil rights icon, dead at 80

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Officials in Nashville have renamed most of a street after civil rights icon John Lewis, who help desegregate the city’s lunch counters before becoming a long-serving congressman in Georgia.

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Metro Council members voted Thursday to rename a large portion of Fifth Avenue North to Rep. John Lewis Way, The Tennessean reported.

Rep. John Lewis arrives in Washington, D.C., via Amtrak on Jan. 5, 1987, for the swearing-in ceremony to the House of Representatives. 
MANDATORY CREDIT: WILLIAM BERRY / THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Rep. John Lewis arrives in Washington, D.C., via Amtrak on Jan. 5, 1987, for the swearing-in ceremony to the House of Representatives. MANDATORY CREDIT: WILLIAM BERRY / THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Councilwoman Zulfat Suara submitted the request this fall and included some of the highlights of Lewis' work and its impact.

As a college student at American Baptist College and then Fisk University, Lewis helped desegregate public spaces in Nashville and pushed for racial justice across the South. Lewis was a Freedom Rider, he spoke at the March on Washington and he was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

Armed forces personnel transfer the body of Rep. John Lewis to a hearse after making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Armed forces personnel transfer the body of Rep. John Lewis to a hearse after making the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

“Nashville prepared me,” Lewis said in 2013. “If it hadn’t been for Nashville, I would not be the person I am now.”

The body of Rep. John Lewis makes the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in July in Selma, Alabama. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
The body of Rep. John Lewis makes the final crossing over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in July in Selma, Alabama. The congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon died July 17 at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Lewis died July 17. He was 80.

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