Axios Nashville

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It is Friday. You know what that means.

  • Today's weather: Some showers and clouds, with a high of 71.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy early birthday to our Axios Nashville member Bonnie Dow!

Today's newsletter is 647 words — a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Diane Nash's Nashville legacy

Diane Nash receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

On April 19, 1960, Diane Nash led a crowd of thousands on a fateful march to the courthouse steps.

When they arrived, Nash confronted then-Mayor Ben West and asked him if he believed downtown lunch counters should stop discriminating against Black residents.

  • West agreed that the lunch counters should be desegregated. The next month, they began serving Black customers.

Why it matters: Many saw the exchange, which took place hours after civil rights attorney and then-Councilmember Z. Alexander Looby's house was bombed, as a turning point in the fight to desegregate the downtown lunch counters.

  • It was a pivotal early victory for the Civil Rights Movement.
  • "We were really striding toward freedom," Nash said at the time. "It was a wonderful feeling."

The latest: Tomorrow, 64 years after that showdown, the city is honoring Nash for her role in reshaping Nashville and the nation.

  • A day of celebration is planned as the city dedicates the plaza outside the Historic Metro Courthouse, which was renamed in Nash's honor.
  • Nash is expected to attend.

What they're saying: "It's historic," Metro Councilmember Zulfat Suara, who helped organize the event, tells Axios.

  • "Even for me to say I met the Diane Nash — the woman at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, the woman who challenged the mayor face-to-face, and that question she raised led to desegregation — is an honor."

Flashback: Nash came to Nashville in 1959 to study at Fisk University. She worked alongside other luminaries in the movement, including the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, and learned how to harness the power of nonviolent protests.

  • Nash was a Freedom Rider and founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, whose members overcame violent resistance in their push for an end to racist policies across the Jim Crow South.

The big picture: Martin Luther King Jr. called Nash the "driving spirit in the nonviolent assault on segregation at lunch counters."

State of play: In recent years, historians and city leaders have sought to commemorate Nashville's role in the movement.

  • A portion of Fifth Avenue where lunch counter sit-ins occurred was renamed to honor Lewis in 2021.

The bottom line: Advocates hope that residents will be inspired to learn the stories behind the names on plaques and landmarks around the city.

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2. Predators begin Cup chase Sunday

Nashville Predators team members during a game this month. Photo: Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The Nashville Predators surged past preseason expectations and reached the Stanley Cup playoffs, where they'll meet the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, beginning with Game 1 at 9pm Sunday.

Why it matters: This was supposed to be a retooling season under new general manager Barry Trotz and coach Andrew Brunette.

  • Instead the Predators went on a torrid streak of 18 consecutive games without a regulation loss to qualify for the playoffs.

State of play: Nashville is back in the playoffs after missing the postseason last year for the first time since 2014.

Yes, but: The reward for the somewhat surprising accomplishment is a daunting series against the Canucks, who won all three regular-season matchups against the Predators.

  • Vancouver has the home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series.

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3. The Setlist: Jellyroll v. Jelly Roll

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

⚖️ A wedding band called Jellyroll sued country star Jelly Roll for trademark infringement. (Tennessean)

🏅 Nashville will bid to host the Special Olympics in 2030. (Nashville Post)

🚗 Republican lawmakers are leading the push against the unionization effort at the Chattanooga VW plant. (Tennessee Lookout)

4. The Friday News Quiz

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's time to test your news knowledge.

  1. Which Fisk gymnast made history with a championship win last weekend?
  2. Name the Boston firm leading the East Bank development project.
  3. Where is Cledis Burgers & Beer Garden planning to open a new location?

Bonus: Which Nashville singer-songwriter, who is also one of the most successful music artists in history, has a new album out today?

✍️ Reply to this email with your answers. If you're right, you'll get a shoutout on Monday.

Our picks:

😨 Nate is trying to figure out why he's getting so many horror movie recommendations on Instagram. But, the short film "Portrait of God" was quite creepy.

ğŸŽ§ Adam is probably listening to Taylor Swift while you're reading this.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Chris Speckhard.