NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For the last several years, Tennessee State University professor Dr. Learotha Williams has been pushing for something big.
“This year I tried to do a little something different,” he said.
April 19 is a day worth recognizing here in Nashville, according to Williams’ online petition.
“This event was, in my estimation, one of the most important events to ever occur in this city,” he said.
Sixty-three years ago, on April 19, 1960, prominent lawyer and Nashville City Councilmember Z. Alexander Looby’s home was bombed by segregationists.
“It could have been for his work in (the) integration of public schools,” said Williams. “He was involved in cases throughout the state, so that made him a target, a very viable target.”
After the bombing, students at Tennessee State University (TSU) began silently marching with Fisk University and Pearl High School students to city hall to see Mayor Ben West.
According to Williams, “1,500 students left TSU. By the time they get to city hall, there are about 3,000 of them.”
This house bombing became a critical moment in Nashville’s civil rights movement.
“This is a significant moment,” said Williams. “Not only for it being a moment that reveals just how violent things could become, but also for what it pushed our students…our young people to do.”
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The historical marker located on 2012 Meharry Boulevard details that eventful day, but Williams is hopeful more can be done to honor Looby, a man he believes greatly impacted the city of Nashville.
“We’re going to remember this man,” he said. “We’re going to celebrate everything he accomplished, and we’re going to figure out what our role is going to be in this narrative to make this city a more just and more equitable place.”
Williams said he plans to deliver his petition to Mayor John Cooper and said he’s also spoken with a few city councilmembers about working to have this name honor Looby.