Nashville names street after civil rights icon John Lewis

Mid-South

FILE – This June 16, 2010 file photo, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., participates in a ceremony to unveil two plaques recognizing the contributions of enslaved African Americans in the construction of the United States Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington. Troy University announced Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, that a university building will be renamed in honor of the late Congressman who applied to the school decades ago as a teen in the 1950s but was denied admission because of his race. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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

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

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.

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

Lewis died July 17. He was 80.

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