Fort Negley | Nashville Public Radio

Fort Negley

A documentary that dives deep into the battle over a homeless encampment at Nashville’s Fort Negley is debuting this week.

Jay Shah / WPLN

The city of Nashville recognized Juneteenth, the oldest known U.S. holiday marking the end of slavery, with an inaugural event Tuesday that organizers hope will launch an annual celebration.

Sara Ernst / WPLN


Greer Stadium will be converted into a park honoring the historic site of Fort Negley, Mayor David Briley announced Tuesday — a move historic preservation groups have been advocating for months.  

Aja Bain / courtesy Historic Nashville

Usually, the nonprofit called Historic Nashville selects nine sites around the city that it thinks are endangered and should be preserved.

This year, it selected one: Fort Negley.

George Barnard / Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2012 for the 150th anniversary of Fort Negley's origin.

Nashville’s Fort Negley was built for war, and construction began in 1862. Union officers considered the stone fortress a show of strength and military might. Instead, the fort’s enduring story belongs to the black laborers, both slave and free, who were forced to build it.

Courtesy of Cloud Hill Partnership

Developers of the Greer Stadium site agreed to step aside and let a city-led archeological study take place. In recent weeks some opponents claimed the project, which abuts a Civil War-era site called Fort Negley, would build on top of the graves of former slaves.

And music producer turned developer, T-Bone Burnett had strong words for those pushing back against the project. He blasted the claims as "undiluted wickedness," saying they only served to stoke the fires of racial hostility.  

Homeless campsites Nashville
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Emotions ran high Wednesday morning as Metro continued to clear out a homeless camp between Fort Negley and the Adventure Science Center. A tractor tore out trees and bushes.

Nashville homeless tent camping
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

The eviction deadline arrives Friday night for one of Nashville’s longest running homeless camps — which happens to be on city-owned parkland. The mayor’s office is deploying parks police, and service agencies, at the 11 p.m. park curfew.