A Look Back at the Looby Bombing and Nashville’s Silent March

There are no signs where Z. Alexander Looby’s home stood in North Nashville. No historic marker shows where the car slowed down at 5:30 in the morning fifty years ago today. There’s nothing to tell how its occupant threw dynamite at the house. But, as WPLN’s Nina Cardona reports, the day that began with a bombing meant for one of the city’s most visible black leaders ended in a landmark victory for the city’s civil rights movement.

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WEB EXTRAS:

Ben West, Jr.
The mayor’s son remembers threats against his family from disgruntled white Nashvillians.

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A conversation with his African American nanny helped Mayor Ben West form his thoughts on race relations.

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Rip Patton
Patton describes his training in nonviolent protest.

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Reaction to the sit-ins took an ugly turn.

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Demonstrators asked Harvey’s Department Store to wait before integrating.

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Black and white women from area churches quietly integrated the lunch counters.

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Crowds attacked a black bystander during a mass arrest.

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Patton was one of a number of Nashville students who went on to participate in the Freedom Rides. For his efforts to desegregate interstate busses, Patton was arrested and spent a total of 40 days in several corrections facilities, including the maximum security penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi.

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NOTE:
Our thanks to the Nashville Public Library’s Civil Rights Oral History Collection for the interview with Matthew Kennedy.

Veterans of the Silent March will commemorate the event today (April 19th) by once again leading a march to the courthouse. The walk begins at 10:00 am at Tennessee State University.

 

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