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Mae Street Kidd, An Inspiration

February 17, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, Primary source

Mae Street Kidd

Mae Street Kidd, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights

Mae Street Kidd had a lot of things to say about life in her narrative about her experiences growing up as a mixed race female in Kentucky during the Civil Rights Movement. In Passing for Black by Wade Hall, Kidd spoke quite a bit about how others perceived her. What struck me is that she mostly spoke about how she didn’t care what others thought about her. “People have told me they like me because I will fight for what I believe. It is true that I am a fighter, but I fight fairly (p. 13).” Mae felt torn between two worlds her entire life- her black heritage and also her very light skin. “I will repeat it. I never made an issue of my race. I let people think or believe what they wanted to. If it was ever a problem, then it was their problem, not mine. I never, ever advertised my race, and I still don’t (p. 41). ”

Mae has a lot to teach current and future generations about not letting other people define you. Her interpretations of her experiences throughout her life are expressed with a sense of pride that she was who she was and other people could deal with it or not. For many people, this was not a common attitude, but for those who did feel that way, it became the driving force behind the Civil Rights Movement, and more and more people began to adopt this attitude.

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Resource

Hall, Wade. Passing for Black: The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

4 responses to Mae Street Kidd, An Inspiration

  1. Your interpretation of Kidd’s memoir is definitely the same conclusions I drew from the book, she was a very strong, very determined woman. Which of her actions do you feel best showcased her strength and commitment to the cause and elevation of Black identity?

  2. I think that your use of the Mae Street Kidd’s quotes greatly enhanced your point and showed how inspiring she truly was; to grow up in a time such as this and act and believe the way that she did is truly amazing. I also really like the way that you tied her beliefs about race to the civil rights movement as a whole and how inspiring she was for everyone else. Great Job!

  3. Mae Street Kidd was definitely an inspirational women with an astounding sense of determination. She did many amazing things in her lifetime.

  4. The most admirable trait about Mae Street Kidd was that she never let her identity as a black woman stop her from working hard to become successful. Though she could easily pass for being white, she identified more with her black side and did whatever she could to advance her race.

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