NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – Mayor John Cooper, Councilwoman Joy Styles, members of the Nashville Metro Minority Caucus, family members of the late U.S. Representative John Lewis and community leaders unveiled a four-story mural honoring Rep. John Lewis and the Freedom Riders. The completed mural on the corner of Rep. John Lewis Way and Commerce St. is now the largest mural in the city, spanning four stories in height and over 50 ft in width.
“To have a mural of my uncle in Nashville is a special honor for the Lewis family,” Jerrick Lewis, nephew of the late U.S. Representative, said. “This mural not only represents a time in which my uncle lived, studied and advocated in Nashville but also a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Thank you for honoring Congressman John Lewis in a way that highlights his legacy.”
The commissioned mural was an initiative of Councilwoman Joy Styles, on behalf of the Minority Caucus and the Mural Committee.
“Nashville was the impetus for the late Rep. John Lewis’ career in social justice and civil rights. It is only fitting that we honor his place in Nashville history, here on Rep. John Lewis Way, with a depiction of his time here with the Freedom Riders and Woolworth’s sit-ins,” Styles said. “This mural will provide residents and visitors alike the opportunity to learn about our civil rights history that is not often discussed. Nashville was often at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we are proud of our ‘Good Trouble’ heritage.”
The mural is the first piece of art to honor Nashville’s civil rights history within the downtown corridor. The mural committee selected two local Black artists, Michael McBride and Donna Woodley, to design and install the work.
“I am delighted and honored to have been selected to paint the mural of my Phi Beta Sigma fraternity brother, the late Rep. John Lewis,” Michael McBride said. “We worked seven days a week and often seven to eight hours a day to bring this project to life. I am deeply grateful and appreciative to have had this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The commissioned art is a continuation of this past summer’s celebration of Representative Lewis and the unveiling of Representative John Lewis Way.
Sponsors for the artwork include HCA, Ingram Charities, Jerry Maynard, Amazon, Sony Music Nashville, Studio Bank, Lee Mollette, Michael Carter, Woolworth’s Theatre Group and Visitors and Convention Bureau.