Exclusive Belle Meade club grants woman membership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- For the first time in its 111-year history, the Belle Meade Country Club has granted full membership to a woman.

The Tennessean reported it obtained a copy of the club's most recent newsletter in which Adelaide D. Stevens is noted as the newest resident member.

The club in the wealthy western Davidson County city has faced criticism in recent months over its lack of diversity. Senior U.S. 6th Circuit court of Appeals Judge Gilbert S. Merritt said that he might be forced to drop his honorary membership. On Tuesday, Merritt called taking in Stevens as a member "a positive step."

At least three African-Americans have been proposed as members. It is unclear if any were accepted and the club will not discuss membership matters.

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