Expert on racial violence to lecture about Nashville in the 1950s

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ In September of 1957, a bomb exploded at the Hattie Cotton School as Nashville moved toward desegregating public schools. Five months later, dynamite exploded at the city’s Jewish Community Center.

No one was killed or hurt in these attacks, but decades later they are still remembered by those who lived in the city at the time. Though there was a strong suspect, no one was ever charged.

Those tense moments in the history of Nashville, along with efforts to find peaceful solutions, will be revisited at a lecture at Vanderbilt University sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies.

Clive Webb, lecturer in North American history at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, speaks at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 3, in Room 109 of Calhoun Hall.

Webb is the author of Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil Rights (2001). The book is the winner of the Southern Jewish History Book Prize, awarded by the Southern Jewish Historical Society in Atlanta.

Webb’s lecture is titled "We Will Not Yield: Racial and Anti-Semitic Violence in 1950s Nashville." He is currently researching anti-Semitic activists in the South and mob violence against Mexicans in the United States, the latter in collaboration with William Carrigan of Rowan University.

"When these tragic events happen, people might want to say, ‘Forget about it, it’s over, it’s history,’" said Jack M. Sasson, the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt. "But in the long run, these events are not as crucial as how and what we learn from them. We try to reshape our future to make sure that such evil will not happen again."

For more information about the lecture, visit on the Web, or contact Lynne Perler at the Program in Jewish Studies at 615-322-5029 or

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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