published Monday, April 7th, 2014

African American Music Museum on track to be built in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Construction on the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville could start as early as next year.

Project leaders told The Tennessean the construction will be one component of a larger redevelopment on the site of the old Nashville Convention Center in downtown.

The wheels were put in motion to build a museum to honor African American culture in 2000 when the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce created a task force to study the issue.

Initially, the project had a fundraising goal of more than $43 million, but that was reduced after the city offered up the convention center. In 2006, the city committed $10 million toward the project, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the city's commitment still stands.

"I believe there is strong interest and demand for this type of museum, and the planned location is in a vibrant section of our downtown," he said.

Known best for country music, some say, Nashville's original "Music Row" was Jefferson Street, which until the 1970s was a vibrant corridor of live music venues where iconic musicians like Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix built their careers and where local legends like Frank Howard, Jimmy Church and Marion James earned a living.

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