Holding a mock-up of the mural’s completion, members of the late Rep. John Lewis gather in his memory. Photos by Ashley Benkarski

By Ashley Benkarski 

NASHVILLE, TN— Despite the bitter November chill dozens of citizens attended the reveal of a hand-painted mural of the late Rep. John Lewis.

Located at the intersection of Commerce Street and the newly-dedicated Rep. John Lewis Way North, the mural is part of an ongoing effort to acknowledge Lewis’s impact on Nashville during the Student Movement.

The renaming ceremony took place earlier this year, with a march along the historic street where Lewis, at the time 17, and his fellows in “good trouble” led sit-ins.

Elected officials from across the state were on hand to honor the late Civil Rights icon, as were members of his family and his Phi Beta Sigma fraternity brothers.

The recent cold snap prevented the mural from completion prior to the unveiling but work will resume as a warmer front is set to move through the region next week.

Lewis’s memory lives on as the fight for Voting Rights, a staple of the late Representative’s legacy, continues in the face of reauthorization.

Supporters standing together after the unveiling program of the Rep. John Lewis Mural, led by Councilwoman Joy Styles are members of the Mural Committee, the Minority Caucus of the Metro Council and Metro Council members, program participants, elected officials, members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Lewis Family, supporters and president of American Baptist College, Dr. Forrest Harris, far right.

While the Act, titled H.R. 4 or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, passed the House of Representatives, Senate Republicans have blocked it.

One of two bills put forward by Democratic lawmakers, H.R.4 would challenge the changes to voting restrictions made in 2013 in the cases of Shelby County v. Holder and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. 

In a roundup report last month the Brennan Center for Justice found 19 states have adopted 33 new restrictive voting laws on the heels of the 2020 election, which saw the highest voter turnout in a century.