Standing on the west side of Fifth Avenue North, U.S. Rep. John Lewis could see Walgreens across the way and the old Woolworth’s behind a Dollar General sign to his left. The former McLellan’s and Kress stores were just down the street to his right, now occupied by art galleries and condominiums.
Half a century ago, when these places were department stores and drugstores with segregated lunch counters, Lewis and his friends from Nashville’s black colleges launched a nonviolent revolution inside each of them. Fifth Avenue North was the epicenter of their campaign.
“This is the street,” Lewis said while giving The Tennessean a walking tour Sunday of some of the key sites of the civil rights movement, the movement that spread from Nashville and other Southern cities to change America.
“This street changed Nashville probably more than any other street during the ’60s. This street gave birth to the modern civil rights movement in the city of Nashville and helped influence other protests all around the South.” (The Tennessean)