Civil rights plaque destroyed in 2020 protests to be reinstalled

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – A civil rights plaque destroyed in 2020 is expected to be restored on Tuesday.

The Nashville Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Foundation, in partnership with the Napier Looby Association and Foundation, the Mayor’s Office, the Metro Council Black Caucus and sponsor K&L Gates, will host a dedication event on Tuesday, April 19 to commemorate the relocation of the plate.

In the summer of 2020, a peaceful protest in response to the death of George Floyd turned violent in downtown Nashville. One of the casualties of the violence was the permanent civil rights plaque near the downtown courthouse. The plaque was smashed and protesters then used the pieces to smash windows in the courthouse.

Many broken pieces have thankfully been salvaged and will be donated to Fisk University as part of the new plaque.

The civil rights plaque, originally dedicated on April 19, 1995, commemorated the desegregation of Nashville in 1960.

On April 19, 1960, the home of black city councilor Z. Alexander Looby was bombed. Several thousand marchers marched to the Metro Courthouse in protest, where Mayor Ben West met them and told the crowd that store owners were wrong to sell to black residents while denying them the service during a public exchange with Fisk University student Diane Nash at the lunch counters.

A plate destroyed in 2020 will be reinstalled(Fisk University)

The pieces of the plate will be part of a new permanent exhibit in the Special Collections and Archives area, including a digital exhibit with a documentary about the desegregation of Nashville and the historical significance of the plate.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. at the Fisk University John Hope and Aurelia Elizabeth E. Franklin Library. Free parking is available in the parking lot behind the library and Jackson Street.

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