So, I’m doing some research on East Nashville, just to get a more insightful insight into the area when I read this (pdf).
Today, Rock City Street connects Ann Street and Litton Street in South Inglewood. It is the site of the original Rock City area that was settled by approximately forty African American families in the early to mid-1900s. It was know to be a close-knit, caring community. Its residents were primarily homeowners and upstanding citizens. Many of Rock City’s residents were employed as housekeeper and farm laborers in the neighboring communities.
Well, of course, I’m immediately like “Hey, I want to know about this ‘Rock City’.” So, first I google the street. And then I google the city. And I find “In April 1861, in response to the growing secession crisis in the South, the Nashville, Tennessee militia—the Rock City Guards—was expanded from one company to three.” And at first, I’m all “How could a small black community north of Nashville have three companies of men?”
But then I find this.
So much for the first negro company in the Rock City. The editors of the Union and American, King Isham’s organ, were evidently chuckling over the prospect of seeing the bloods of the “Rock City Guards” followed by nigger Jim Dunge’s Rock City–Black Guards, all bearing the Stars and Bars, playing Dixie and huzzahing for King Isham and Jeff. Davis at the top of their lungs.
So, clearly, the Rock City Guards were white dudes. And Rock City was Nashville in general (you can even march around to the music, if you want). Here’s a history of Rock City Construction, which also gives Nashville’s nickname as Rock City.
And so, I’ve discovered that Nashville used to be called Rock City, but I discovered nothing about any small community near Nashville called Rock City.
So, there’s that.