Gallatin, TN

"True grit & amazing grace -- the epitome of everything great about the South"
Nominated By Paige Brown

Named a Finalist Because: With racial unrest and anti-police sentiment making for a toxic combination in communities across the country, Gallatin, Tennessee, found a way to turn conflicts into a lesson of healing.

From the Editors: When a white police officer in Gallatin, Tennessee, shot and killed an African American woman who was wielding an ax last year, residents in all corners of this Nashville suburb were understandably on edge. Deadly encounters between white police officers and black residents have resulted in civil unrest from Baltimore to Dallas to Minneapolis, and there was a real fear that violence could erupt here too. Instead, something miraculous happened. Local residents hopped on Facebook and started to plan a prayer vigil to recognize victims of violence around the country. About 60 people—including nine pastors, 20 police officers, and the chief of police—gathered in the parking lot of Gallatin City Hall. It was a diverse crowd, representing Gallatin’s diverse and growing population.

“It was a good moment for the city,” said Josh Cross, a reporter at the Gallatin News. “You’re going to have divides anywhere, but there’s an open dialogue. The chief of police is out talking with folks. They can call him on his cell phone if they have questions.”

Gallatin is very much a symbol of the booming new South, where an influx of new residents has remade the city in unexpected ways. The population has grown from 8,000 to nearly 40,000 in recent years, creating vibrant communities of Sudanese, Asian American, and Hispanic residents learning to celebrate each other—and their shared home.

And yet the small-town spirit still lives in Gallatin. “People greet each other and wave when they pass on the streets. They help in times of need,” says Mayor Paige Brown, who nominated Gallatin. “In the true tradition of Tennessee, we volunteer.”

Read Paige Brown’s nomination below to learn more about why Gallatin might just be the Nicest Place in America.

—The Editors


Gallatin is a diverse community where many people are moving now due to a growing economy. Everyone is welcome! (Credit: Paige Brown)

This is a city that fits the Reader’s Digest description of “Nicest Place” exactly. People greet each other and wave when they pass on the streets; they inquire about others and genuinely care; they pull over for funerals; they help in times of need (our city experienced two tornadoes and a flood in the past decade); they are engaged in the community; and in the true tradition of Tennessee, they volunteer.

Shamrock Run for Education

Tornado Tragedy

Gallatin Welcomes You


More Information

Praying for the victims of police shootings

Summer tornado devastation

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