Individual Acts of Excellence

February 18, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Primary source, Social history

Throughout the 20th century many group efforts were made to end segregation across the Kentucky community. However, there were many women who made individual efforts to stop segregation. Two women who made great strides to end segregation were Audrey Grevious and Mae Street Kidd. These women helped to stop the segregation that they saw happening in their everyday lives. These women sacrificed their jobs, reputation, family and friends to help put an end to the injustice that was occurring in Kentucky during this time period.

Picture of Audrey Grevious

Audrey Grevious

Audrey Grevious was fortunate enough as a child to be able to go to school and get an amazing education. In her oral interview, she says that it was these teachers who taught her during her childhood and her mom that pushed her to work so hard to get a college education and become a teacher herself. Throughout college she worked three jobs to pay to go to Kentucky State and from this she understood how important education is. After college she took this hardworking mentality to her next job, a teacher at Kentucky Village Reform School, later known as Greendale Reformatory. She started teaching the girls that went to the school and was despaired that some of the eighth graders could only read at a second or third grade level. So she began to work hard, using the skills she learned while putting herself through school, to allow these kids to have the same opportunity at a great education that she had. Not only this, but she worked to desegregate the reform school as well. Her and her students would eat lunch in the White cafeteria and she talked to the school superintendent several times. While she often times feared that her job would be lost, she never stopped fighting for equal rights and opportunities for her students, and eventually received what she wanted. Grevious worked endlessly to allow Blacks to have equal rights, hold positions and go places that they had never previously been.

Just as Grevious worked to obtain equal rights for her students, Mae Street Kidd worked to allow Blacks across the state of

Picture of Mae Street Kidd

Mae Street Kidd

Kentucky to legally have equal rights as Whites. Kidd pushed for the Kentucky legislature to ratify the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery, the 14th amendment, which granted citizenship to African Americans, and the 15th amendment, which gave African Americans the right to vote. Kidd was able to accomplish this and much more, such as passing legislation for equal and fair housing for all. By being elected to Kentucky’s General Assembly, she was able to lead and participate in many campaigns to get each of these goals accomplished. As a Kentuckian, Kidd was proud of her state and heritage and didn’t want Kentucky’s history to be defined by unjust actions such as not passing these amendments.

Both of these women worked tirelessly throughout their lives to gain equal rights for the people that they fought for. With their individual acts against segregation and discrimination, they each pushed Kentucky further into being a state that was desegregated and granted equal rights to all. They put all that they had and believed in on the line so that others could live in a better environment. Their efforts were coupled with the efforts of great organizations such as the NAACP to end segregation and discrimination in Kentucky and across the U.S.

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“Audrey Grevious.” The HistoryMakers. <http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/kidd-mae-street-1909-1999>. 18 Feb. 2013.

“Audrey Grevious.” Wikipedia. 17 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Grevious>. 18 Feb. 2013.

“Mae Street Kidd.” Wikipedia. 16 Feb. 2013.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Street_Kidd>. 18 Feb. 2013.

“Kidd, Mae Street (1909-1999).” The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. <http://www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/kidd-mae-street-1909-1999>. 18 Feb. 2013.

1 response to Individual Acts of Excellence

  1. I enjoyed reading your take on the lives of Grevious and Kidd. Both were remarkable women.

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