Z. Alexander Looby

Z. Alexander Looby
Z. Alexander Looby.jpg
Portrait of Z. Alexander Looby believed to be by E. Sebofield.
BornApril 8, 1899
Antigua
DiedMarch 24, 1972
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Alma materHoward University
Columbia University
New York University
OccupationLawyer
Political partyRepublican Party
Parent(s)John Alexander Looby
Grace Elizabeth Joseph

Zephaniah Alexander Looby (April 8, 1899 – March 24, 1972) was a lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee who was active in the Civil Rights Movement. Born in the British West Indies, he immigrated to the United States at the age of 15, and earned degrees at Howard University, Columbia University Law School, and New York University.

He settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he built a law practice and taught at Fisk University. He is noted for being part of the defense team for 25 black men charged in attempted murder for the Columbia race riot of 1946 and winning acquittals for most, in the aftermath of the first major racial confrontation in the United States after World War II.[1] He participated in numerous other cases, including leading desegregation of schools in Nashville.[2] He served as a Republican member of the Nashville City Council from 1951 to 1971.[3] His house was bombed by segregationists on April 19, 1960.[3]

Early life

Looby was born on April 8, 1899 in Antigua.[4][5] His father was John Alexander and his mother, Grace Elizabeth Joseph.[4] When he was five, his mother died while giving birth to a sibling. His father died when Looby was a teenager. The youth moved to the United States in 1914 as an orphan when he was fifteen years old.[4]

Looby attended Howard University as an undergraduate,[3] and became a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1922. He went on to earn a law degree in 1925 from Columbia University in New York City, and a doctorate in jurisprudence from New York University in 1926.[2]

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