Black Ancestors : Z. Alexander Looby

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Z Alexander Looby, April 1960


    By Betsy Thorpe


    [​IMG]


    Zephaniah Alexander Looby was born in the British West Indies in 1899. He immigrated to the United States in 1914. After earning a degree in law at Columbia University he was offered a position at Fisk University and first arrived in Nashville in 1926.

    Looby soon earned a reputation as a respected civil rights attorney and political activist. In 1946 Z Alexander Looby and the future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall joined forces to defend twenty-three African Americans who had been charged with murder following race riots in Columbia, Tennessee. The two attorneys won acquittals for all twenty-three defendants. In 1951 Looby was elected to Nashville's city council, becoming the first African American to serve on the council since 1911.

    Following the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Looby filed the first desegregation suit against the Nashville public schools and in the spring of 1960 he headed the twelve member defense team sponsored by the NAACP to represent the student protesters participating in the organized sit-ins at Nashville's downtown lunch counters.

    On March 28th 1960 Z Alexander Looby arranged the release of approximately 100 students protesters arrested following a confrontation with white students in downtown Nashville. Less than three weeks later, at 5:30 a m on April 19th a blast of dynamite destroyed the Nashville home of Z Alexander Looby.

    http://nashvillepastandpresent.blogspot.com/2009/04/z-alexander-looby-april-1960.html
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Zephaniah Alexander Looby, the son of John Alexander and Grace Elizabeth (Joseph) Looby, was born in Antigua, British West Indies, on April 8, 1899. After the death of his father, young Looby departed for the United States, arriving by 1914.

    Looby received a bachelor's degree from Howard University, a Bachelor of Law degree from Columbia University, and a Doctor of Juristic Science from New York University. In 1926, the year that he received the doctorate, he came to Fisk University as assistant professor of economics and remained until 1928. Later he served brief periods as a lecturer at Fisk University and Meharry College. In 1929, Looby was admitted to the Tennessee bar. He practiced law in Memphis for the next three years and met a school teacher named Grafta Mosby, whom he married in 1934.


    Unwilling "to pay the moral price" demanded of Memphis' attorneys and "Boss" Edward H. Crump, Looby returned to Nashville. He helped to found the Kent College of Law, Nashville's first law school for blacks since the old Central Tennessee College's department of law (1877-1911).


    When the Negro civil rights movements of World War Two began, Looby became the local leader. From 1943 to 1945, he presided over the James C. Napier Bar Association. He ran for the city council in 1940, although a white opponent beat him in a runoff election. In 1946, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hired Looby, Maurice Weaver, and Thurgood Marshall to represent the blacks of Columbia, Tennessee, who were charged with murder following recent race riots in that town. Looby's legal defense helped acquit twenty-three of the defendants. He criss-crossed the state in the company of other black lawyers, arguing against Jim Crowism and discrimination. Looby is credited with desegregating the Nashville Airport's dining room and the city's non-private golf courses.


    Soon after the momentous U. S. Supreme Court decision of Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954), Looby filed a suit against the local public schools on behalf of A. Z. Kelly, a barber, whose son Robert was denied access to a nearby white school. During the sit-in demonstrations and civil rights marches of the 1960s, Looby and other black attorneys provided money and legal services for local college students who were arrested and jailed. On April 19, 1960, his Meharry Boulevard home was destroyed by dynamite.


    Looby viewed politics as a way to change an oppressive system. In 1951, he and fellow attorney Robert E. Lillard became the first blacks to be elected to the city council since 1911. In 1962, he ran for a seat on the Tennessee Supreme Court but lost. In 1963, Looby became a member of the Metropolitan Charter Commission. In 1971, he retired after serving on the old city council and the new Metropolitan Council for a combined total of twenty years.


    Z. Alexander Looby died on March 24, 1972. On October 8, 1982, the Nashville Bar Association, whose white members had denied Alexander Looby's membership application in the 1950s, posthumously granted a certificate of membership in his name. His contributions to Afro-American Nashville are recognized in the Z. Alexander Looby Library and Community Center erected by the city on Metro Center Boulevard.

    Linda T. Wynn
    [​IMG]

    http://ww2.tnstate.edu/library/digital/looby.htm
     
  3. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    Thank you for sharing this piece of history sis.....In full honoring
     
  4. MsVeraisblessed

    MsVeraisblessed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Now this is interesting...Thanks for the insights of his past..
     
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