He wrote the book on Jefferson Street's history. Now he wants to see the area thrive again.

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 11:07:05-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — You can't talk about Black history without making a stop right here on Jefferson Street. More than 50 years ago, the area thrived with Black businesses and Black homeowners. Ed Kindell says it’s important that the story is told for years to come.

Kindall served as a school board and Metro Council member. He can now add an author to his list of titles.

In 2012, Kindall wrote the book "A Walk Down Historic Jefferson Street," where he recounts a time when this area was booming with Black businesses.

"Where I'm sitting right now was at a full-service service station. And these were the bays, those two windows where you pull cars in, and they worked on them. Across the street, you had the same thing you had a Shell station," he said.

Kindall said this while sitting in Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore & Gift Shop.

He was born and raised in a house on this street. Kindall says the book is just as powerful today as the 10 years ago when he wrote it.

"I wanted to preserve the history, you know. We were losing a lot of history. It took me two years to get the information that I got that I put in the book and believe me that nobody kept pictures for example," Kindall said.

Construction of the interstate nearly 60 years ago cut through this thriving community displacing Black businesses and homes.

Kindall doesn't want history like that to repeat itself.

In 2021, the city proposed a $120 million project in an effort of reversing the economic harm done by the construction of Interstate 40.

"I think Jefferson Street if we do it properly, and methodically, we could have a model for this country. You know that you have a community that has rejuvenated, and it is it's diverse, socio-economically as well as racially," Kindall said.

Discussion for the project has been put on pause. Kindall hopes his book can stand as a blueprint for Jefferson Street's future.

Alkebu-Lan Images Bookstore & Gift Shop has copies of the book.