NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than 50 years ago, construction on what is now I-40 meant the demolition of blocks of neighborhoods.
It forced hundreds of people to have to move from their homes and businesses to close in a historically thriving Black neighborhood.
Mayor Cooper has called it a historic wrong and said he wants to make it right with a project to reconnect neighbors in North Nashville.
He's inviting people in that area and business owners to the initial Jefferson Street Cap meeting Saturday, October 9 at noon at the Lee Chapel AME church in North Nashville.
Saturday's meeting is the first of several events that will be held throughout the Jefferson Street area to engage people and collect ideas.
Dr. Learotha Williams, an associate professor of African-American and public history at Tennessee State University, said this project needs a lot of deliberation and strong community voices contributing before being set in stone.
Williams wants city leaders to have a clear understanding of what happened in the 60s where community input was ignored.
He’d like to see a variety of voices involved, especially including marginalized voices and the generation that was around when the interstate was first built.
"If done wrong it’ll be just another chapter in the decimation of this community," said Williams. "Is it going to be something the city is committed to directing resources toward?"
Williams would like to see the community be involved with the construction of the project if it moves forward.