Anne Braden

April 19, 2011 in 1960s-1970s

When researching the life of Anne Braden it is difficult to not become awed by the bravery and diligence of this woman who fought for the equal rights of a race not even her own. With threats of jail and death facing Anne Braden and her husband Carl throughout their struggle against racial inequality, the term “heroes” doesn’t seem to be powerful enough to describe the character of this married couple. When looking for information about Anne Braden I came across a collection of audio interviews on the Kentuckiana Digital Library website in which Anne talks about her family, environment, and struggles. Hearing the stories come from her own mouth let me feel as though I was right in the room with this remarkable woman and it really helped me understand her life and situation on an entirely new level.

Anne was born in Louisville, KY in 1924 but raised in the strictly segregated state of Alabama. After college she began working as a newspaper reporter and decided to move back to Louisville.  She expressed that the racial struggles in Alabama had always bothered her and upon moving back to KY she witnessed many of the same problems facing the African-American communities.

Her most famous act as a civil rights warrior was when she and her husband Carl bought a house in an entirely white suburb of Louisville, then, in a pre-planned act of protest, turned the house over to an African-American family. This was met with great anger from the white majority and crosses were burned and windows were shot out of the house in the days to follow. The presumed invasion was soon ended though, when the house was bombed while the black family was out. An acquaintance of the Braden’s was arrested but the true bombers were never discovered.

The Braden’s became highly criticized by the pro-segregation whites and finding employment in the Louisville area became difficult for the couple. It was after this that they devoted their lives to fight against segregation and to support racial equality. Anne and Carl began working for the Southern Conference Educational Fund which was an organization dedicated to gain white southerners as allies to support the civil rights movement and push the fight forward.

Throughout the remainder of her life which ended in 2006, Anne Braden fought for equal rights through many facets. Her books on Civil Rights were highly acclaimed and her support and experience were highly regarded by many civil rights workers and protesters as invaluable for the decades to come.  Even in popular culture she became an influence as shown in the Alt-Rap group Flobot’s song entitled “Anne Baden”, which describes her struggles and even puts audio of her to rap beats.  This woman and her deeds helped change the face of America and, in my opinion, anyone who takes the time to learn about Anne Braden will also learn a great deal about nobleness,virtue, and what a struggle doing what is right, can be.

 

http://www.ket.org/civilrights/bio_braden.htm

http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?c=abohkuk&cc=abohkuk;page=simple

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhwjeEmNyIY

 

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