Nashville Historic Sites
Fisk Jubilee Hall
DESCRIPTION: Oldest remaining building in the U.S. dedicated to higher learning for African Americans. It was the starting point for the Fisk Jubilee Singers who gave Music City USA the original Nashville sound; their worldwide singing tours saved the university from financial collapse in the 1870s and gave Nashville an international reputation as the center for Black religious music.
DAYS & HOURS: daily Mon-Fri
ADDRESS: Fisk University at 1000 Seventeenth Ave North, Nashville, TN MAP
Roger Williams University
DESCRIPTION: One of four colleges founded in Nashville for freed slaves, began in 1864 as bible classes in the home of Daniel W. Phillips, a white Baptist minister from Massachusetts. The school was funded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of New York, its goal to prepare ministers and teachers. In 1929, the school merged with How Institute of Memphis, which is now called LeMoyne-Owen College.
ADDRESS: Vanderbilt University, Peabody Campus at 21st Avenue, South, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: Greenwood Cemetery was established in 1888 by Preston Taylor, founder of the Lea Avenue Christian Church, Greenwood Park, and one of the founders of Citizens Bank. Taylor was also the first Black undertaker casket factory owner in Nashville; outstanding citizens buried in the cemetery include Taylor and his wife. Three original Fisk Jubilee Singers. Deform Bailey, the first Black Grand Ole Opry performer, TSU athletic coach John Merritt, and civil rights leader Kelly Miller Smith, Jr.
ADDRESS: 1428 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN MAP
Belle Meade Plantation
DESCRIPTION: Known as the “Queen of the Tennessee Plantations”, the 1853 Greek Revival mansion was the centerpiece of a 5,400-acre plantation, world renowned as a thoroughbred stud farm and nursery in the 19th century. The mansion and its grounds tell the story of the plight of African Americans from slavery to freedom. It was here that the original owner boarded horses for the wealthy and neighbors such as President Andrew Jackson, and transformed the property into a world-renowned Thoroughbred stud farm and nursery. In addition to the mansion, there was a Carriage House, stables, and numerous other outbuildings including slave cabins. Today, the original log cabin, mansion, carriage house and seven other historic outbuildings including a replica of the slave cabins stand, in addition to an antique carriage collection, a restaurant and museum shop.
ADDRESS: 5025 Harding Road, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: Its the oldest surviving African-American neighborhood in Nashville. The name Trimble comes from the owner of the plantation once situated here and on which the Colored Troops of the Army of the Cumberland began their December 1864 attack on General Hood’s Confederate Army troops in the Civil War Battle of Nashville.
ADDRESS: Fourth Avenue, Lafayette Street, Ewing Ave and railroad tracks, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: In 1904, the One Cent Savings Bank, now Citizens Bank, became the first black-owned bank in Tennessee and the second oldest continuously operating bank of its type in the US. Though located downtown, this area is a historically black business district.
ADDRESS: 401 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN MAP
Morris Memorial Building
DESCRIPTION: Built in 1924 by the National Black Baptist Convention, the Morris Memorial Building is an example of the design work of McKissack and McKissack (now McKissack, McKissack and Thompson). It was the first architectural firm in the U.S. organized and staffed by African-American architects.
ADDRESS: Deaderick Street at Fourth Ave, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: Fort Negley was part of a chain of Union Army fortifications surrounding Nashville during the Civil War occupation by Federal troops between 1862-65. Two thousand free African Americans were recruited by James Negley, a Union General, to help build Nashville’s largest and most important Union Army fortification. The octagonal fort measured 600 feet by 300 feet and was constructed of stone, logs, earth, and railway iron.
ADDRESS: Fort Negley Blvd at Chestnut Street, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: George W. Hubbard house was built in 1920, when he retired as president of Meharry Medical College. Dr. Hubbard taught in local African American schools after the Civil War. The house, designed by African-American Moses McKissack, III, is a four-square Colonial Revival style structure. It is the last vestige of the original Meharry campus. Listed on the National Register of Historic Homes, Seay-Hubbard United Methodist Church is leading efforts to restore the home.
ADDRESS: 116 1st Avenue South, Nashville, TN MAP
DESCRIPTION: Before integration, this street was the center of the African American community. Stores, restaurants, barber shops, and night clubs were thriving businesses here. Today, Jefferson Street still holds a number of black-owned businesses.
ADDRESS: Jefferson Street between BD Todd Drive and I-40 Freeway, Nashville, TN MAP
PHONE: 615-726-5867 Jefferson Street United Merchants Association
Mount Ararat Cemetery
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1869, Mount Ararat Cemetery was Nashville’s first Black cemetery. The cemetery acquired in 1982 by Greenwood Cemetery, restored, and renamed Greenwood Cemetery West. One of the many leaders buried here is Dr Robert Fulton Boyd, a Black physician and graduate of Meharry Medical College who rang for mayor and helped found the National Baptist Association, a national association for black physicians.
ADDRESS: I-40 Freeway, Fesslers Lane and Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN MAP
WVOL Radio Station
DESCRIPTION: Along with 92Q radio station, WVOL was previously owned by operated by Sam Howard, one of Nashville’s most successful black entrepreneurs and past chairman of the Board of Governors of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. These are the city’s only radio stations primarily targeting African Americans. Oprah Winfrey got her start in on-the-air journalism on WVOL radio station.
ADDRESS: 1320 Brick Church Pike, Nashville, TN MAP
American Baptist College
DESCRIPTION: Founded by the Southern Baptist Convention for the development of African American pastors.
ADDRESS: 1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN MAP
PHONE: 615-262-1369 or 615-228-7877