Nashville to Unveil New Civil War Trails Sign Recognizing the Service of African American Soldiers on December 15

Almeta Slater-Rogers, Director of Operations at Stem Prep Academy lifts the new directional sign into place at the entrance to the Stem Prep Academy on Foster Avenue. These wayfinding aids help visitors find each of the 1,400 Civil War Trails sites located across the country.  Each site is marketed internationally by a partnership of municipal and state tourism offices. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.

Nashville, TN – Be part of history as we unveil a Civil War Trails sign at STEM Prep Academy on Thursday, December 15th at 10:00am. The community is invited to attend the event located at 1251 Foster Ave., Nashville, TN 37210, on the 158th anniversary of the historic event.

The new Civil War Trails sign puts visitors in the footsteps of the tenacious charge made by three regiments of African American men, many of whom were formerly enslaved and fought here for the first time as United States soldiers. This is the first Civil War Trails site in Nashville dedicated to telling this story. Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. said, “The fact that this small sliver of battlefield survives and is the place where this monumental event occurred is amazing.” Gruber continued, “It’s not hard to stand at the new sign and imagine the United States flags being unfurled as these men charged forward charting a new course for our nation.”

The Battle of Nashville Trust (BONT), Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. (Visit Music City), STEM Prep Academy, and Civil War Trails, Inc. came together to make this project a reality after three years of research, review, and planning. After securing a grant from the Tennessee Wars Commission in July, 2020 the BONT solicited the expertise of Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr., historian at Tennessee State University. William Ozier, President of the BONT who spearheaded the project said, “We are pleased to be able to offer this new Civil War Trails sign which recognizes this long overlooked event for both our community and travelers.” Ozier acknowledged the help of several people including, “A special thanks go to John Banks, and Dr. Williams who helped make this possible.”

The team at Visit Music City who is the sustaining partner for this new sign worked with Civil War Trails, Inc. to find an appropriate location and ensure the content was exciting to visitors of all ages and interests. The team was elated when STEM Prep Academy not only embraced the idea but offered to review content and host the new sign. Dr. Kristen McGranger, CEO of STEM Prep Academy said, “STEM Prep Academy is both honored and humbled to be able to work alongside the Civil War Trails to commemorate the selflessness, bravery, and sacrifice of the individuals who gave and preserved lives here. We know that freedom is not free. It often comes at a cost that most are not willing to pay. Yet, the individuals who fought on this consecrated ground knew that their efforts were not just to overcome the disunion that was afoot in this country, but their efforts were in service to very foundational principles of our nation – freedom, justice, and most importantly – personhood. We are grateful for each and every one of the individuals who battled here, both known and unknown. Our reasonable service to repay this debt is to continue to be vigilant guardians of the democracy that they fought to reclaim.”

Almeta Slater-Rogers Director of Operations at Stem Prep Academy (left) and John Banks, historian, editor, and board member of the Battle of Nashville Trust (right) set the new interpretive sign. While reading the new sign visitors will be standing in the footsteps of the men who comprised the 14th, 17th, and 44th regiments of the “United States Colored Troops.” Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.

This same sentiment was echoed by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development who is one of the five state travel offices that partner together as part of the Civil War Trails program. “Tennessee’s historic sites and trails serve an important role in both preserving our history and inspiring tourism,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “It’s important we recognize and honor the contributions of Black Tennesseans and this new Civil War Trails site in Nashville is an important step in doing just that.”

For more information about the December 15th ceremony please email John Banks at the Battle of Nashville Trust at To begin planning your trip to explore Nashville’s Civil War Trails sites request a free brochure at Inspired by the event? Snap a selfie with the new sign and post it with #signselfie, #civilwartrails, and #visitmusiccity.

2 Responses to Nashville to Unveil New Civil War Trails Sign Recognizing the Service of African American Soldiers on December 15

  1. Drew, congratulations to you and your team in keeping alive this important chapter in the Battle of Nashville and the part played by the USCT units.

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