Storylines of Historic Black Nashville

Nashville’s Jefferson Street was once home to a vibrant economically successfully and socially cohesive black community.  Beyond the three HBCU universities, an elementary and high school, innumerable business and numerous civic organizations, it also starred as Nashville’s original music row. 

The neighborhood was home to 10’s of nightclubs and music venus from the 1930’s through the 1960’s.  Over those years the neighborhood was visited by innumerable famous artists including Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, and Etta James among others, and it also provided venues for Nashvillians such as Jimi Hendrix, Marion James, Gene Allison, Jessie Boyce and more.  

In the late 1960’s the routing of interstate I40 destroyed this music row, and many residents argue, the neighborhood and community.  This set of interactives maps is our small attempt to document that history and give voice to people who once lived, worked, and played there.  

Use the navigation menu at the top of the page to see pointers to some of the music and civil rights history, and visit the Storylines item to see some personal stories from past and present residents of the neighborhood.