Suzy Post – do we see what she saw?

October 5, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Primary source, Social history

A Louisville organization, the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, is holding a Unity Dinner, 5 pm November 13, 2010, at Wayside Mission’s Hotel in Louisville, and Suzy Post will receive the Carl and Anne Braden Lifetime Achievement Award.  This is a very timely award as Kentucky continues to slip in the national records.  We need to remember and celebrate the women leaders who worked so hard in our communities — and Suzanne W. Post is an excellent example of the type of women we should be celebrating.

Suzy Post, civil rights activist, Louisville KY

Click to listen to .mp3 clip of Suzy Post interview, 1991

When Post was president of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, she worked across race and class barriers to include local leaders in various communities to address the fact that Louisville’s neighborhoods and schools were still segregated. How did she develop these leadership skills?  Where did her strength and persistence come from?  Post told historian Catherine Fosl in an oral history interview on June 24, 1991, that the source of her strength and convictions came from her extended family and growing up here in Kentucky.  Listen to this two-minute mp3 clip from her interview available from the Anne Braden Oral History Project, Louie B. Nnnn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky and available online via the Kentuckiana Digial Library

One of the most powerful experiences in Post’s life came when she was bringing a friend from New York home with her from college to Louisville. She and her friend reached Louisville’s train station and when the friend got off the train she stopped. As Post told Betsy Brinson in an oral history interview in 1999:

” I turn around and Sandy is white as a ghost. I mean, she’s stopped in her tracks and she’s white as a ghost. I said, “What’s the matter?” And I followed her eyes, where she was looking, and what she saw was white/colored: white drinking fountain, colored drinking fountain, white waiting room, colored waiting room. And I looked at that and she was horrified. She would never come back to Louisville after that again. And what’s interesting, I think, about that is, that that had been a situation I had been exposed to many, many, many times and not seen. It took this experience with a stranger for me to see it. That had a profound impact on me. I mean that–not only that I saw it, but that I hadn’t seen it.”

See Suzy Post, interview by Betsy Brinson, January 6, 1999, catalog no. 20 B 1, “Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project,” Kentucky Historical Society. Accessed 16 September 2010.

I wonder if we here in Kentucky today can see what strangers see when they visit?

1 response to Suzy Post – do we see what she saw?

  1. This is a great article, and it makes me think about all the things today that happen and we still do not see. We might not have the seperation of white and colored water fountains and waiting rooms anymore. There still are things that happen that many people just view as normal such as how people act, or some things that people say, and maybe we just do not see it as wrong when it really is.

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