An ordinance naming the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge in honor of John Seigenthaler.

WHEREAS, John Seigenthaler served for 43 years as an award-wining journalist for Nashville’s morning newspaper, The Tennessean, at his retirement was editor, publisher and CEO, and remains the Chairman Emeritus, as well as formerly serving as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; and,

WHEREAS, Seigenthaler left journalism briefly in the early 1960s to serve in the U.S. Justice Department as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. His work in the field of civil rights led to his service as chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. During that crisis, while attempting to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, he was attacked by a mob of Klansmen and hospitalized; and,

WHEREAS, in 1982, Seigenthaler became founding editorial director of USA Today, and served in that position until his retirement in 1991, when he founded the First Amendment Center, with its mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values. In 2002, Vanderbilt University created the John Seigenthaler Center in Seigenthaler’s honor and named the building after him that now houses the offices of the First Amendment Center as well as the Freedom Forum and the Diversity Institute; and,

WHEREAS, John Seigenthaler has served on numerous prominent boards and commissions, has Chairs and scholarships in his honor at several universities, has received numerous prestigious awards and honors, has authored a published biography, James K. Polk, hosts a weekly program, “A Word on Words,” and otherwise continues to contribute to our community and to society at large, as is set forth in more detail in the attached biography; and,

WHEREAS, Section 13.26.010 of the Metropolitan Code provides that no building or structure of the Metropolitan Government may be named except pursuant to an ordinance duly adopted by the Metropolitan County Council; and,

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that John Seigenthaler be recognized for his many contributions to the Nashville community and his distinguished public service career by naming the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge in his honor.


Section 1. That the bridge structure of the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge from the East bank to the West Bank of the Cumberland River is hereby named the “John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge”.

Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Ronnie Steine, Peter Westerholm, Walter Hunt, Erica Gilmore, Burkley Allen, Tim Garrett, Doug Pardue


Introduced: March 4, 2014
Passed First Reading: March 4, 2014
Referred to: Public Works Committee
Planning & Zoning Committee
Passed Second Reading: March 18, 2014
Passed Third Reading: April 1, 2014
Approved: April 2, 2014
By: mayor's signature

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615/862-6770.