United Record Pressing in Nashville, Tennessee

In 1959, a 30-year-old songwriter from Detroit had a few hit tunes from recordings he had written with his sister, so with $800 borrowed from his parents, Berry Gordy began what was to become one of the most successful African-American owned businesses in history. But in the 1960s, even as Motown dominated the charts, in southern cities like Nashville, racial segregation kept Gordy and his artists out of most hotels.

Left with few options in one of the most important music towns in the...

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