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Avon N. Williams, Jr.



Avon N. Williams, Jr. (1921-1994) was an African American attorney in Nashville, Tennessee, and served as a Tennessee state senator from 1972 to 1992. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 1940 and studied law at Boston University.  He was involved in several civil rights and school desegregation cases. In 1949 he became a cooperating attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and in this capacity he assisted five African Americans with admission to graduate studies at the University of Tennessee. He represented the plaintiffs in Geier v. Blanton, which resulted in the merger of historically black Tennessee State University with the University of Tennessee at Nashville. The downtown campus of Tennessee State (previously the campus of the University of Tennessee at Nashville) is named for him.

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