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NASHVILLE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE RESOURCES

Examples of Environmental Racism in Nashville

Black Bottom
Map of Nashville's Black Bottom Neighborhood, present-day 'SoBro' neighborhood
Map of Nashville's Black Bottom Neighborhood, present-day 'SoBro' neighborhood. Photo is public domain.

Nashville's Black Bottom neighborhood existed in what is now known as "SoBro" from 1832 up until the Great Depression era. Black Bottom was a culturally rich area and in 1880, Nashville's population was 40% Black.

Further Reading:

North Nashville's Fight Over I-40
The Ritz Theater, located across from Fisk University, was open from 1937-1969 when the construction of I-40 forced it to close
The Ritz Theater, located across from Fisk University, was open from 1937-1969 when the construction of I-40 forced it to close. Photo from Cinema Treasures.

Though I-40 was originally slated to be built near Vanderbilt University, plans quickly changed to cut right through a cultural epicenter for Nashville's Black community. In the late 1960s, A citizen-led group fought against the location of this construction but ultimately lost after a battle at the US Supreme Court. Within one year of construction, homes in the area had lost 30% of their value and never recovered. Dozens of businesses were closed forever.

Further Reading:

James A. Cayce Homes Air Quality Findings
Cayce Homes
Photo from WPLN

The James A. Cayce Homes public housing community has among the highest rates of asthma is all of Davidson County. Indoor and outdoor pollutants contribute to this human health crisis including highway emissions from I-24 with no protection and prevalent mold in the homes.

Further Learning:

Bordeaux Community
Bordeaux landfill
Photo from Nashville Scene

The Bordeaux community has been a victim of environmental racism repeatedly over the past several decades. Most notably, the Bordeaux Landfill was built inside of one of Nashville's most prominent Black communities. The community continues to battle to create a safe and healthy environment in their neighborhood.

Further Reading: