NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A portion of 5th Avenue in Nashville has been renamed Rep. John Lewis Way in honor of the late congressman and civil rights icon.
Temporary signage was installed Thursday at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Jefferson Street. A permanent sign will be installed in July as part of a dedication service to mark one year since his passing. An initial celebration, originally set for February, was postponed due to the pandemic.
In November, Metro Council approved an ordinance to rename 5th Avenue, from Jefferson Street to Oak Street at the Nashville City Cemetery, to Rep. John Lewis Way.
“This is a fitting tribute to Rep. Lewis, and a great day for Nashville in honoring his life and legacy,” said Metro Councilmember At-Large Zulfat Suara, chair of the Rep. John Lewis Way Committee and representative of the Council’s Minority Caucus.
Fifth Avenue was chosen because of the location of the Woolworth building, where Lewis and other activists led the historic lunch counter sit-ins, which resulted in Nashville becoming the first southern city to begin desegregating public places.
Rep. Lewis began his lifelong crusade for civil rights while a student at American Baptist College, and later at Fisk University. Lewis, who died back in July at the age of 80, served 17 terms in the House of Representatives, representing Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987.