Z. Alexander Looby
Politician, Deceased Person
1899 – 1972
Who was Z. Alexander Looby?
Zephaniah Alexander Looby was a lawyer active in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was born in Antigua, and moved to the United States in 1914. He attended Howard University as an undergraduate where he became a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Looby earned his bachelor's degree from Howard University in 1922. He went on to earn a law degree from Columbia University in 1925 and a doctorate in jurisprudence from New York University in 1926.
After graduating from New York University, Looby moved to Nashville where he took a job as an assistant professor at Fisk University. In May, 1951, Looby was elected to the Nashville, Tennessee City Council, along with another lawyer, Robert Lillard, the first African Americans to be elected since 1911. He helped found the Kent College of Law in Nashville.
In 1960 Looby defended the students arrested in the Nashville sit-ins. As a result of his support of the students, his house was dynamited on April 19, 1960. Neither he nor his wife were harmed in the bombing.
In 1976, the government of Nashville named a new library and community center in Looby's honor. In 1982, the Nashville Bar Association posthumously awarded him membership, which had been refused him in the 1950s.
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