Nashville, Tenn.,
11:17 AM

Metro Historical Commission to honor school desegregation leader A.Z. Kelley with historical marker

The Metro Historical Commission will dedicate its newest historical marker in honor of Nashville barber and civil rights activist, Alfred Z. Kelley (A.Z. Kelley), who led the push for desegregation of Nashville’s city schools in 1955. A digital unveiling of the maker will take place inside A.Z. Kelley Elementary School in Antioch, Tenn., on Tuesday, November 5.

A.Z. Kelley was the lead plaintiff in a historic federal class-action lawsuit (Kelley vs. Board of Education) filed on September 23,1955, on behalf of his son Robert Kelley, who was refused admittance into all-white East High School, and 20 other African American students who were refused entry to other Nashville city schools. The case was fought and won by his legal team that included local attorneys Z. Alexander Looby and Avon Williams, before being joined by then-national director of the NAACP and first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


  • John Cooper, Mayor of Nashville

  • Caroline Eller, Metro Historic Commission

  • Dr. Adrienne Battle, Interim Director of Schools

  • Fran Bush, Board Member, Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education

  • Heather Bethurum, Principal, A.Z. Kelley Elementary School


  • Tuesday, Nov. 5

  • 9:30 a.m.


  • A.Z. Kelley Elementary School

  • 5834 Pettus Road, Antioch, Tenn.

About MNPS

Metro Nashville Public Schools is one of the nation’s top 50 largest school districts, preparing 88,000 students for higher education, work and life. With the goal of being the first choice for Nashville families, Metro Schools is committed to #ExceedingGreatExpectations with the mission of delivering a great public education to every student, every day. The district is earning a national reputation for urban school reform, social and emotional learning and rising academic achievement. The governing body for Metro Schools is the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, a nine-member elected body. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @MetroSchools or