Nashville Banner entrance web page on June 3, 1946 | Historical past

Editor’s note: Main Street Nashville reprints some of the best covers of the Nashville Banner, an afternoon newspaper that was published from 1876 to 1998. The pages are courtesy of the Nashville Public Library, Nashville Banner Collection.



Months after what has since been called the Columbia Race Riot, two related stories made the front page of the June 3, 1946 Nashville banner.

On February 25, 1946, an argument over a broken radio resulted in a physical altercation between James Stephenson, a Black Navy veteran, and William Fleming Jr., a white shop clerk. Fleming crashed through a window and Stephenson was charged with assault and murder.

Later that evening, a white mob gathered in the Maury County Courthouse while black residents gathered in the black business department called Mink Slide. Four officers were wounded there. In a matter of hours, State Highway Patrol officers were sweeping through Mink Slide, shooting into buildings and taking property. More than 100 black people were arrested.

Days later, officers killed two black prisoners in custody and said the prisoners grabbed the officers’ weapons and started shooting.

A front page article dated June 3, 1946 referred to witnesses who failed to appear despite being summoned before a state grand jury. A second story revolved around allegations of discrimination in the selection of the jury.

Veterans from four wars also took part in a Nashville parade on A1. They were led by Tennessee’s last Confederate veteran, James L. Barry of Lebanon, who died 10 months later at the age of 100.