As changes in the city threaten the distinctness of neighborhoods, places like Jefferson Street Cafe preserve local flavor.
The Cafe pays tribute to the North Nashville neighborhood by telling part of the area’s rich history. One largely under-told story is the huge role this neighborhood played in the national Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. Students and long-time residents of North Nashville came together to organize against legal discrimination. In fact, the Nashville Student Movement offices were located right next door to the cafe. Plans for the Sit-Ins and Freedom Rides that integrated lunch counters, but stations and more were organized right here.
Many future national leaders started in this area. The list includes Congressman John Lewis, Marion Barry, James Bevel, Bernard Lafayette, Diane Nash and C.T. Vivian.
Local leaders include: Allen Cason, Vincent Horseley, Pauline Knight-Otesu, Freddy Leonard, Kwane Lillard, Z. Alexander Looby, Elizabeth McClain, Gloria McKissack, Rip Patton, Etta Simpson, Mary Jean Smith and Mathew Walker.