4 page paper research on Z alexander Looby

Essentially it is a portion of this group project that I am in. This portion is a 4 page paper that has to include the following. What part I contributed to the project (I am in charge to research the guy himself), Process of what I found (Discussion of process of gathering and analyzing information) (sources). Lastly, how it relates to civil rights and class topic (include any relation to the Ivory Perry reading that was used in the previous paper).Ivory Perry Read: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_GVy5dx3deXwc2NpI…The topics I have to research on him:·Background information (bio)·What he was known for (significance) and in what places (Nashville)·Events that were going on around this time in the gov. that relates·Politics of today (results of what he helped achieve till this day in age).Person: Z Alexander Looby·Use footnotes for quoting and paraphrasing.·Use class book a bit, along with any outside sourcesSources I have found using Databaseshttp://www.oxfordaasc.com/article/opr/t0001/e4909See attached PDF

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Looby played vital role in Nashville’s integration
Walter, Jeff . The Tennessean ; Nashville, Tenn. [Nashville, Tenn]31 Dec 2012.
ProQuest document link
Z. Alexander Looby was instrumental in bringing about such change, which included integrated city schools and
golf courses, equal pay for white and black teachers and desegregated restaurants. […]he earned respect from all
factions of the council.
The Tennessean
This story originally published March 25, 2003.
File / The Tennessean
He came to the United States from the West Indies, a soft-spoken man who never completely shed his Caribbean
accent and who maintained a largely conservative political philosophy.
In Nashville, he made his mark as an educator, a lawyer, a councilman and a civil rights activist whose quiet dignity
and slow smile belied his passionate desire for equality, albeit equality achieved by peaceful means.
“We want change, not revolution,” he said.
Z. Alexander Looby was instrumental in bringing about such change, which included integrated city schools and
golf courses, equal pay for white and black teachers and desegregated restaurants. And he did it his way.
“We can’t tell people on either side of the question how to feel and how to think. But there is evidence that most
people want to do the right thing,” he once said.
“The idea is to open a door without breaking it down. When you break a door down, you injure the whole house.”
Today the name of Z. Alexander Looby lives on in a library, community center and theater on MetroCenter
Boulevard in North Nashville.
Helping those in need
Zephaniah Alexander Looby was born in Antigua, British West Indies, on April 8, 1899, to John Alexander and Grace
Elizabeth Joseph Looby. The family was poor, and after the death of his father, young Looby became a cabin boy
on a whaling ship bound for the United States, arriving at age 15.
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He worked at a variety of jobs and read insatiably.
Looby earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1922, a law degree from Columbia University in 1925
and a doctorate in jurisprudence from New York University in 1926.
He moved in 1926 to Nashville, where he took a job as an assistant professor teaching economic law at Fisk
University. He also lectured on medical jurisprudence at Meharry Medical College and would return to Fisk two
decades later as a lecturer on law and government.
After being admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1928, he began a legal career of providing representation to those
who couldn’t afford it and taking on civil rights cases. He also served as director of the NAACP legal commission.
In what he later considered his biggest civil rights case, Looby successfully represented a number of blacks who
had been charged with murder during race riots in 1946 in Columbia, Tenn.
He represented plaintiffs in school desegregation suits, including one in Nashville after the U.S. Supreme Court’s
Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954. In that case, Looby represented black parents in a lawsuit that led to
the city school system’s plan to integrate schools by one grade each year. After federal courts approved the plan,
black students entered previously all-white Nashville schools for the first time in 1957.
Independent thinker
Looby and Robert Lillard were elected in 1951 as the first two blacks on the Nashville City Council. Looby went on
to spend five terms — 20 years — representing North Nashville. The body became the Metro Council in 1963 after
he, as a member of the first Metropolitan Charter Commission, helped develop the plan for a joint metropolitan
On the council, he was known as a man who infrequently took the floor to speak — but when he did, his colleagues
would strain to hear his carefully reasoned but quietly spoken arguments. He prided himself as an independent
who evaluated issues on their merits rather than partisan considerations. As a result, he earned respect from all
factions of the council.
A single word — “Why?” — was often his mantra as he tried to get to the heart of a measure before casting his vote.
Looby was basically a conservative Republican who was “against the increasing trend toward socialization in
government,” as he once said. “I’m not in favor of tearing the big man down to the little man’s level. Rather, we
should help bring the little man up.”
He broke from Republicans in 1946, when he supported Lyndon Johnson for president over Barry Goldwater,
whose positions were “in direct opposition to what I conceive to be the philosophy of that party.”
Looby’s stances sometimes made him the target of criticism from blacks as well as whites. Some said his
integration efforts — particularly those at Meharry — would hurt blacks. Some accused him of moving too quickly,
others too slowly.
He personally felt the sting of discrimination, having been refused service at restaurants locally and elsewhere.
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Perhaps more painful was the Nashville Bar Association’s rejection of his membership application in the mid1950s, a slight that was corrected 10 years after his death, when the group granted him posthumous membership.
Moment of truth
It was an act of violence that led to one of the most memorable aspects of Looby’s legacy.
In 1960, sit-ins had begun in Nashville, with blacks protesting segregated lunch counters. Looby, along with his
associate Avon Williams, represented the protesters in court, at one point receiving a contempt-of-court citation in
a rare moment of vocal frustration.
Then, in the early morning of April 19, the threats that Looby had endured for years from segregationists became
real when his home at 2012 Meharry Blvd. was firebombed. Although the house was almost completely destroyed,
he and his wife, Grafta, were unharmed but shaken. (The house was later rebuilt, thanks to public donations, but
Looby was unable to get insurance on it.)
The public, whites as well as blacks, immediately responded in horror to the attack on the councilman’s home.
About 2,500 people marched on the courthouse for an eventual confrontation with Mayor Ben West. The mayor,
forced by direct questioning from angry students to take a stand, conceded that “it is wrong and immoral to
discriminate,” at lunch counters or elsewhere.
Within days, Nashville lunch counters began desegregating.
‘I enjoy what I do’
In the later years of Looby’s life, he was in ill health and partly confined to a wheelchair. In 1971, he announced his
retirement from Metro Council.
“I think I have made my contributions to social welfare, and now I am tired,” he said.
Yet he could not stop working as a lawyer.
“What would I retire from?” he asked. “When a man retires he admits he never did enjoy his life’s work. I enjoy what
I do. Why should I force myself to do something else just because I’m getting old?”
Z. Alexander Looby died March 24, 1972, two weeks shy of his 73rd birthday, at Hubbard Hospital, where he had
been for more than two months. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Weeks before his death, he told a reporter: “Things have changed from the time I first came here. I feel the major
change is in the attitude of the people — there is less hate based solely on a man’s color.”
Source: Tennessean archives
ID_Code: DN-121129030
Page 3 of 5
Civil rights; African Americans; Litigation; Equal rights; School boards; Councils
Nashville Tennessee British West Indies United States–US
Company / organization:
Name: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; NAICS: 813311;
Name: Fisk University; NAICS: 611310; Name: New York University; NAICS: 611310;
Name: Columbia University; NAICS: 611310; Name: Howard University; NAICS:
611310; Name: Meharry Medical College; NAICS: 611310; Name: Supreme Court-US;
NAICS: 922110
Publication title:
The Tennessean; Nashville, Tenn.
Publication year:
Publication date:
Dec 31, 2012
News Nashville Area
Gannett Co., Inc.
Place of publication:
Nashville, Tenn.
Country of publication:
United States, Nashville, Tenn.
Publication subject:
General Interest Periodicals–United States
Source type:
Language of publication:
Document type:
ProQuest document ID:
Document URL:
Copyright 2012 – Tennessean, The – All Rights Reserved
Last updated:
The Tennessean,ProQuest Central
Check Findit@VU for Availability
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