A New Book Aimed At Filling A Void In Kentucky History

April 18, 2011 in 1960s-1970s

In a recent discussion about civil rights, it occured to me, not once did I hear Kentucky in the conversation. After some research at my local library, I found a book on Kentucky and Civil Rights. The points out that the movement in Kentucky has gone relatively undocumented in Kentucky. The fairly new book was published with the aim of helping to fill this void in Kentucky’s history, Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky 1945-1980, written by Tracy E. K’Meyer. Within her newly published work, K’Meyer points out how Louisville, “the most populous and raciallydiverse city in Kentucky created the perfect atmosphere where the civil rights movement could prosper.”

K’Meyer contends that after the Civil War, Louisville developed a pattern of segragation and discrimination, which closely mirrored that of the Jim Crow Laws of the South. She interestinglly points out that many of the acts of segragation were not legislated by the local government but implemented by that of public opinion. This leads one to wonder how such a diverse population in the city which considered itself to be modern and progressive to promote such ideas.

The city of Lousville itself had many of the same characteritics that were associated with the urban north. Louisville also had a strong industrial economy, much like its northern brothers. The author also points out direct parallels between roots of the civil rights movement in the industrial driven North and the industry based economy of Louisville. Within her book, K’Meyer discusses some of the local people and organizations which were heavily involved in the civil rights movement. She also points out how the Church was greatly involved, as they were in many other areas of the countryin aiding in the push of the civil rights movement.

K’Meyers’ book is a very interesting and informative piece of work. I think the idea of exploring the civil rights movement is such a distinctive location such as Kentucky, a sort of middle ground between the North and the South is very intreging. Since much of what is written about of the civil rights movement involves mainlythe occurences within the southern states. Hopefully this book along with web sites such as this one may help fill the void of information on the civil rights movement within Kentucky.

It was very interesting to compare the movement in Kentucky to those in other areas of the country. Some of the same stratedgies of furthering the civil rights movement were employed in Kentucky as other partsof the country. However these stratedgies and important peopleand their roles in Kentucky’s Civil Rights Movement are rarely acknowledged or discussed. I hope this post encourages everyone to find a copy of this book to gain a better perspective on the movement in Kentucky, especially Louisville.

Kudos to Tracy E. K’Meyer and Dr. Hollingsworth, we need more people like these putting information out there about Kentucky’s role and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

1 response to A New Book Aimed At Filling A Void In Kentucky History

  1. Thanks, tbone! and kudos to you for pointing out the importance of Dr. K’Meyer’s wonderful book.

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