Nashville names street after civil rights icon John Lewis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials in Nashville, Tennessee, 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.

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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