Republicans Push To Rename Part Of John Lewis Way In Nashville To 'Honor' Trump
A Republican-backed bill seeks to rename part of a Tennessee street dedicated to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the late civil rights leader, in order to “honor” former President Donald Trump.
The bill, sponsored by Tennessee state Rep. Paul Sherrell (R) and state Sen. Frank Niceley (R), would rename a portion of Nashville’s Fifth Avenue that had been named after Lewis. The section is between James Robertson Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The legislation, which calls for the stretch to be called President Donald Trump Boulevard, comes less than three years after Trump insisted that he hardly knew who Lewis was and that he couldn’t say “one way or the other” if he found him impressive.
Lewis’ lunch counter sit-ins occurred along Fifth Avenue during the civil rights movement, The Tennessean noted, and Nashville’s Metro Council renamed part of the street to recognize him following his death in 2020.
The change could give Tennessee’s state legislative office building a President Donald Trump Boulevard address, according to the newspaper.
Metro Council member Zulfat Suara (D), a mother and community organizer, questioned what her state has become in a tweet about the bill on Thursday.
“This is not how to govern. This is ridiculous. We are going to fight this. #GoodTrouble,” wrote Suara, quoting Lewis’ famous words on activism, and she noted the “cruel” timing of the bill as Black History Month begins.
OMG. I have to take a deep breath so as not to swear! What have this state become! Do some just wake up and propose the next thing that comes to mind. This is not how to govern. This is ridiculous. We are going to fight this. #GoodTroublepic.twitter.com/CJrYcTkYy8
— Councilwoman Zulfat Suara (@zulfat4council) February 3, 2023
Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones (D) also criticized the proposed renaming and wrote on Twitter that the bill was “about more than a street name.”
“It’s yet another white supremacist attack on Black history,” Jones wrote.
“It’s spitting on the grave of our ancestor. It’s memorializing hate. Best believe, we’ll fight back.”
Tennessee Republicans’ bill to change parts of John Lewis Way to Donald Trump Blvd is about more than a street name. It’s yet another white supremacist attack on Black history. It’s spitting on the grave of our ancestor. It’s memorializing hate. Best believe, we’ll fight back.
— Rep. Justin Jones (@brotherjones_) February 3, 2023
The bill could also remove streets from the list of things that can be protected as “memorials” under Tennessee law, according to WKRN-TV.
HuffPost has reached out to Sherrell and Niceley for comment.