Mural honoring Rep. John Lewis unveiled in downtown Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville unveiled a portion of a new mural Thursday honoring the late US Representative John Lewis.

Members of the Lewis family gathered to get their first look at the mural, which is going up along the newly-named Rep. John Lewis Way in downtown Nashville.

Rep. Lewis attended college in Nashville and was a central figure in the historic lunch counter sit-ins in 1960 and the civil rights movement.

  • John Lewis mural
  • John Lewis mural
  • John Lewis mural

The mural isn’t complete just yet, its completion was delayed due to weather, but Nashville historian David Ewing used the delay as a metaphor for Rep. Lewis’ continuing mission against injustice.

“Our work is not done yet. This mural is not done yet and neither is our work. But it will be one day, with everybody’s help,” explained Ewing.

The Metro Council Minority Caucus and community partners commissioned local artists to paint a mural in downtown Nashville in honor of Rep. Lewis.

“This project was the result of the late Rep Lewis’ passing, and we wanted to honor his Nashville history with civil rights. Nashville is the birthplace for his work with social justice, a history that is not often shared or widely known. So this mural is the first piece of Black art in the downtown corridor and was done by two Black Nashville artists,” explained Councilmember Joy Styles, Chair of the Rep. John Lewis Mural Committee and member of the Metro Minority Caucus.

Artists Michael McBride and Donna Woodley were selected to create the mural.

Once complete, the mural will be about four stories tall and will honor both Rep. Lewis and the Freedom Riders. It will include the likenesses of prominent Nashville civil rights leaders Diane Nash, Rev. James Lawson, Rev. Kelly Miller Smith, Sr., Rip Patton and Kwame Lillard, among others.

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