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Midway Woman’s Club records – an update

March 19, 2014 in Oral history, Research methods

Photo of the home to the Midway Woman's Club

Midway Woman’s Club

 

With gratitude to Reinette Jones of the UK Libraries and hearty congratulations to my former UK History students Angelia Pulley, Kyle Shaw, and Brad Wexler, I am proud to announce that the finding aid for Midway Woman’s Club records they helped to collect during their service learning project now is available for viewing on ExploreUK.

You can view their project, “Midway Woman’s Club and the ‘Better Community’ Project,” including original oral history interviews and images from their work on the Club’s archives at http://www.kywcrh.org/voices/midway.

Angelia Pulley, Kyle Shaw, Brad Wexler

(l-r) Angelia, Kyle, Brad presented their findings on the Midway Woman’s Club at their winter holiday meeting, Dec 2010

 

AAUW Community Action Grant proposal features KYWCRH.org Open Knowledge Initiative

January 23, 2014 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Research methods

AAUW logoAfter several weeks of planning and creating new partnerships here in central Kentucky, I submitted an AAUW Community Action Grant for 2014 that features our KYWCRH.org initiative. The title of the proposal nearly tells the whole story (it’s long enough, anyway):

Empowering Girls in Central KY with Digital Humanities and Writing Wikipedia Code: Women’s History and the 1964 March on Frankfort for Civil Rights

Here’s the list of partners who wrote letters in support of the proposal:

When the project moves forward, it is exciting to know that it is likely that there will be many more organizations and people involved.

The aim of this proposal is to engage women and girls in researching, collecting and recording women’s civil rights history in Kentucky. In support of the Fayette County Race, Community & Child Welfare initiative, the proposal builds on the commemoration of the 1964 March on Frankfort by spotlighting the work of Kentucky women in that event – before and after. The target audience is 10 families whose teenaged girls are/were part of the Fayette Co. child welfare system. The partner organizations will recruit those who are African-American/Black or Hispanic/Latino or mixed race to work together on oral history and multi-media projects. The girls, together with one or more family member, will partner with University of Kentucky undergraduate female students to learn about their community’s leaders and strategies undertaken by politically active citizens and organizations to improve the quality of life for all.  In brief, the proposed program will rely on collaboration among the above partners in these four major components:

  1. Learning about Kentucky women’s history in the context of the 1964 March on Frankfort (for desegregation of public accommodations and the implementation of fair housing laws) through a series featuring Kentucky civil rights activists and oral history projects.
  2. Orientation and training in appropriate use of research resources and digital media for creative digital storytelling and for the development of general knowledge articles on women in Wikipedia. Learning how to find and use community resources and government documents crucial for our citizens to use in life-long learning and for self-empowerment.
  3. Training in and applying skills in basic coding languages used commonly in creating webpages and social media – HyperText Markup Language (HTML) – for the KYWCRH.org site and the markup coding used in creating effective Wikipedia pages. A Kentucky WikiMeetup will allow for the teams to work with experienced Wikipedia editors.
  4. Developing skills in civic leadership and college/career readiness modeled by local community members in partnership with higher education students and faculty.

CKCPJ and the Lexington-Fayette NAACP branch will collaborate to offer a series of community-based lectures, films and neighborhood walks on KY civil rights history and women’s roles. The Project Director will work with the UK Nunn Center to prepare and train project members in how to conduct oral history interviews (to be digitally archived in the OHMS database) and with MATRIX staff at MSU to teach UK undergraduates and their partner teams to create multimedia projects showcased in a redesigned KYWCRH.org Open Knowledge Initiative. The celebratory showcase will not only celebrate the project teams’ work but also increase the visibility of AAUW-KY’s contributions toward achieving educational opportunities and equitable resources for women and girls.

The proposed timeline is for the program to begin in Summer 2014 and conclude by the end of the school year in Spring 2015:

Summer 2014: 10 girls aged 13-17 selected from a pool of applicants recruited from the Fayette Co. RCCW target audience. Lexington NAACP and CKCPJ plan a community-based series (lectures, films, neighborhood-walks) by experts in civil rights activism, history and racism in the U.S.  The series is recorded and posted on KYWCRH.org – which will be updated and redesigned courtesy of MATRIX at Michigan State. The families involved in the project will be encouraged to ask for reimbursements to reoup costs for childcare and food costs to attend project-related activities as well as transportation to conduct oral history interviews, to work with the UK undergraduate students while research or working on multimedia projects at the University, or other required meetings with the project director.

Fall 2014: UK offers EXP396 (Experiential Education) and faculty oversee learning contracts for each of the 10 undergraduate females recruited. UK students will be trained in the use of the oral history interviewing equipment available from the UK Libraries Oral History Department. Also in the UK Libraries for students are the PresentationU and Media Depot @ the Hub which support the students and community partners as they build their Wikipedia articles and multimedia projects showcased on KYWCRH.org Open Knowledge Initiative. The educational series and training meetings with the project teams will take place at The Plantory (in Lexington’s East End neighborhood) or Imani Family Center (north of Lexington) during the Fall and Spring. The project partners will also journey to the Kentucky State Capital to visit the Kentucky Commission on Women offices and to view the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit. The families and their undergraduate mentors will take the free School of Open course (either self-paced or live webinar sessions) on Wikipedia. Basic training in coding and publishing in Wikipedia will accompany skillbuilding exercises in how to find and analyze general resources in the community and government documents crucial for citizens to use for self-empowerment.

Spring 2015: The oral history interview digital files are processed by the Nunn Oral History Center staff and indexed for use by the project teams and community in the OMHS data repository. A Wiki-Meetup allows the teams to work on their entries in a face-to-face setting with experienced Wikipedia editors. The project teams are invited by the UK Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education to present their digital media projects in April at the UK Undergraduate Research Showcase. The AAUW Bluegrass Central Branch hosts a celebratory showcase event and highlights specific projects via social media.

 

 

by mookygc

End of the Year

May 1, 2013 in Primary source, Research methods

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is already upon us. At the beginning of this class, I had no idea the magnitude of the projects I would undretake, and the feeling of accomplishment I would gain. I am so proud of the research I was able to do on Douglass School in Lexington, Kentucky, and hope that some one will find that resource helpful at some point in the future. It is enough for me that now the information that exists is at least mostly in one place; at least the information I could find.

I am so grateful for my group members for the project on Governor Martha Layne Collins for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. At times, we really struggled to find the information we needed or that would be helpful, but luckily I had group members that were not willing to give up or compromise their standards, just because the work was difficult. Shortly, we will have a finished product that we will all be proud of (see the Start page at http://www.kywcrh.org/projects/kchr-hall-of-fame/collins).

I am not sure what I was expecting of this class when it began, but I know I didn’t expect any of the work we did to have a direct impact on the community and the people we were researching. That opportunity is not one I have experienced in any other class in my college experience thus far. I have gained so much knowledge about research methods that I know I will use for the rest of my college career, and all of my future endeavors. I will forever be extremely grateful for the experience of this class.

Suzy Post Project

April 15, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Research methods, Social history

Picture of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

Suzy Post was a civil rights activist, worked towards gaining equality for women in all areas, joined the anti-war movement, held many positions in different organizations such as the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, and worked towards creating a better society for everyone. Post recently was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame and for one of my honors classes I am working with another girl in my class on creating a webpage on Post’s life and all of her accomplishments. This project allows for all of Post’s accomplishments and hard work to be recognized and appreciated by all.

For our project, my partner and I have found many different sources, one of the best being oral history interviews. Suzy Post has given a number of oral histories that highlight different movements that she was involved in, how she felt about society, and the influence she had during this time period. Through these oral history interviews, my partner and I have gained much deeper understanding of what Post was going through and how she was affected by it. We have gone through all of these interviews and are working on compiling the information and putting it into a format that is accessible to everyone else.

Not only have the oral history interviews been helpful but so have many other sources. By looking at the organizations that she was a part of and talking to those who knew her and have done extensive research on her, we have gained more of an insight into her life. We have contacted Dr. Catherine Fosl and some of Dr. Fos’l’s colleagues at the Anne Braden Institute at the University of Louisville to obtain more information about Post’s involvement in the Louisville civil rights movement. They have provided us with more sources and have been extremely helpful in our gaining a larger comprehension of what Post was like and how she was involved during this time period.

As we contacted these people, we were pointed to talking to Suzy Post herself. After contacting Post, she has agreed to do an interview with my partner and I. We believe that this will allow us to be able to ask the questions that we haven’t been able to find answers to and to be able to fully understand what this time period was like coming from Post herself.

Our project is going exceptionally well, and my partner and I are in the final stretch of putting all of the information together. We believe that we have researched the time period, the organizations, and Post, herself, very well. We are looking forward to seeing the finished project and being able to provide a great wealth of information on a truly wonderful person.

*************************************

“Suzy Post – Hall of Fame 2007.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights –. http://kchr.ky.gov/hof/halloffame2007.htm?&pageOrder=0&selectedPic=10. 15 Apr. 2013.

“Suzy Post.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Post. 15 Apr. 2013.

“Catherine Fosl, Women’s and Gender Studies Department.” University of Louisville. https://louisville.edu/wgs/catherine-fosl.html. 15 Apr. 2013.

by mookygc

Martha Layne Collins

March 26, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Political history, Research methods

My group and I are working on a web based project designed to honor Governor Martha Layne Collins’ contribution to the Civil Rights history of Kentucky. We are struggling to find footing with a thesis about Governor Collins, because a good portion of the information we are finding about her is in relation to her time as Governor of the state of Kentucky, which is after the time period we are looking at, from 1920 to 1970.

Also, people close to the former governor are extremely hesitant to speak about anything regarding Governor Collins, because of a scandal involving her husband after her governorship. We are not interested in what she did as a governor though, instead, we are looking for any information regarding the work she did to promote fair civil rights for all.

We are aware that she had a lot to do with education reform, due to her background as a teacher, but are having difficulty finding anything about her life before that, aside from the fact that she was in a lot of beauty pageants and a young adult and created an organization called the “Jaycettes”. WE had an interview set up with a family friend of Collins’ but said interview was later cancelled. Our next step is to go to the Woodford County Historical Society, where there is a file about Governor Collins during her time there. Hopefully while there we will be able to form a thesis about why Collins was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Anne Braden – A Project in Progress

March 24, 2013 in Research methods

Anne Braden

Anne Braden

I’ve been working with Emme23 on a project about Anne Braden for the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. For the most part, this project has been wildly successful. Our main issue has been sorting through the wide array of information available about Anne Braden’s life and career. We are using many different resources, including Subversive Southerner, a biography by  Catherine Fosl, as well as Southern Patriot, a movie about Anne Braden’s life. In addition to both these incredible sources, we have discovered many online resources as well.

Our next step is to visit the University of Louisville and their Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. While we’re at the University of Louisville, we are hoping to speak with Catherine Fosl. She wrote Anne Braden’s biography, and we are hoping to use her as a resource to help us sort through the plethora of information available about Anne Braden. Hopefully Dr. Fosl will help us to sort through the information to choose the most important parts of Anne Braden’s life to focus on for the Hall of Fame.

Hyperlinks used in the above narrative:

KY Governors for Desegregation

April 19, 2011 in 1950s-1960s, Political history, Research methods, Uncategorized

Until I started researching on the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and KET websites, I never knew that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson (of the Brooklyn Dodgers)stood on the steps of Kentucky’s State Capital building during the Civil Rights Era.  Civil Rights in Kentucky isn’t taught in many schools like the National Civil Rights movements of the 1950‘s and 60’s. Therefore, I found it interesting to know that people like Happy Chandler and Bert T. Combs made substantial contributions to the Civil Rights movements in Kentucky.

Happy Chandler served as Governor of Kentucky for two separate terms along with serving as a U.S. Senator and as the commissioner for the MLB, where he allowed the integration of blacks such as Jackie Robinson to play professional baseball.  Chandler, as governor faced some disgruntlement with Kentuckians when desegregation came into the Bluegrass; however he stated that “when the Governor takes office, he puts one hand on the Bible and takes an oath before God to protect the humblest citizen.  What we did today is in keeping with the oath I took.” This was after some trouble in two western Kentucky counties where he sent Kentucky State Guards to protect the African American students from the harm of white farmers.  Though Chandler was unsuccessful at keeping these two schools desegregated because they did not have an “orderly process” of desegregation, the children had to wait till the following year when the courts forced the school engage in desegregation.

Bert T. Combs, who succeeded Happy Chandler, also favored desegregation.  Combs appointed Galen Martin as the first Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.  The CHR was designed to supervise the legal rights of minority groups in Kentucky, looking for civil solutions for racial problem across the state.  Combs also emitted two executive orders that reviewed the states procedures and contracts to eliminate discrimination and also to discourage discrimination in public places including restaurants, hotels, and etc.  The bill did not pass the committee though thousands of people rallied in favor of this bill in Frankfort including Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson; however, after the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Rights Act of 1964 the bill was reinstated into the committee and passed.

I find it amazing how like Bert T. Combs and Happy Chandler have influenced this great state into what it has become.  Kentucky’s desegregation might have not been as harsh as those seen in Alabama or Mississippi, but all-in-all it makes me proud to live  in a state where people like this try to make a difference for the better good.  From my family that grew up in Versailles I have heard many good things about Happy Chandler, but I never heard about his time as the commissioner for MLB.  It makes me wonder that if he wasn’t the commissioner, how long it would’ve taken for the MLB to allow African Americans to play, and if Jackie would’ve still been on the steps of the Capital rallying for the desegregation in Kentucky.

 

Mapping neighborhood diversity over time and segregation in Louisville

February 17, 2011 in Research methods

Go to http://www.mixedmetro.com, click on the drop down list under the middle map and choose Louisville to study the change in population trends there from 1990 to 2000.  You can see how some parts of Louisville’s African-American and White communities have changed from very low diversity to a more mixed area.  Also, African-American households have grown in some areas that were nearly all White a decade before. 

This site was created by geographers at the University of Georgia, the University of Washington, and Dartmouth College. The primary individuals involved are Steven Holloway and Michael Wellman (Georgia), Mark Ellis (Washington), and Richard Wright and Jonathan Chipman (Dartmouth).  They use federal census data and overlay it with mapping software (ESRI GIS) to display using Google Maps to create a rich, interactive environment for us to discuss.

The Louisville neighborhoods undergoing rapid change in one decade include Smoketown (dicussed in Rhonda Mawhood Lee’s article, “‘Admit Guilt—And Tell the Truth’: The Louisville Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Struggle with Pacifism and Racial Justice, 1941-1945,” J of Southern History 76 [May 2010], 315-342) and Shively (the post-WWII racism and Red Scare in this area is an important focus of Catherine Fosl’s biography, Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South). I wonder what Anne Braden would have thought of these changes today!

** See also Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky by Catherine Fosl and Tracy E. K’Meyer **

by Syle

Midway Women’s Club

November 5, 2010 in Research methods, Social history

Yesterday my group and I attended the monthly Midway Women’s club meeting and had the chance to meet some very interesting individuals that we will be meeting with in the coming weeks. I will admit going into it, I was not sure what it was going to be like and was a little unsure about it. However, after meeting with some of these women and hearing brief stories that they had shared I will admit I was blown away by these women. Sitting in this meeting also made me think about what we have been talking about in class recently, and how women have been doing this for decades. Micromobilization has been the base of everything that happened during the civil rights era and it still continues today.

Up until this point, I have been looking for women that stand out because of things that they have done, such as leading a movement, or being the first woman in political office. While these women deserve to be researched and noticed for what they have done, I believe I have been looking past many other great women. The ones that lit the match that started the fire so to speak. Maybe they were not the ones that gave a public speech, sat somewhere they were not supposed to, or just made their opinion known.

I have decided to switch my way of research and find these women that maybe held meetings, like the one I was able to attend, and were essential to success in teh civil rights movement. Clubs like the Midway Womens Club have been around for a long time and maybe by meeting a couple hours every couple weeks, or maybe once a month, they were able to accomplish many things and deserve to be brought into the public eye.

Belinda Robnett, “African-American Women in the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965: Gender, Leadership, and Micromobilization,” The American Journal of Sociology 101, 6 (May 1996): 1661-1693.  http://www.jstor.org/stable/2782115

Invaluable Resource

October 21, 2010 in Oral history, Primary source, Research methods

This week of HIS 351 class was very helpful with the development of our groups service learning project. Starting with guest-speaker Professor Sonia Gipson Rankin from the Department of Africana Studies, University of New Mexico; then an oral history presentation by Doug Boyd, Director of the Nunn Center at the University of Kentucky; and in finally, Dr. Jim Klotter, Kentucky State Historian and Professor at Georgetown College. Thank you to all and to Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth and Librarian Reinette Jones for your continued guidance.

Professor Rankin was helpful in suggesting books in which key components of Women’s History in Kentucky during the Civil Rights Era can be explored further. Two authors, Paula Giddings and Joan Morgan were recommended to help understand historical context better. An interesting question Rankin proposed to our class was: where would Women’s History be today if black and white women had worked together in advocacy of civil rights and equality?

The oral history presentation given by Doug Boyd expounded on effective interviewing strategies. In addition to methods, ethical considerations and perspective are just as important. Building an instant rapport with your interviewee is the key that opens the door to the story sought after. Ask your interviewee to tell you about themselves and listen for key ideas, events, or themes that surface in their monolog. Follow up on something they said. Doug says also be ready to defend why you are asking certain questions when challenged by your interviewee. He calls this an elevator statement, much like a mission statement; the purpose of the question and how it serves the project.

Kentucky State Historian, Dr. Jim Klotter’s first order of advice was how to eliminate hours of leg work in our research by examining the sources and bibliography of current writings about our subject. In the case of no secondary sources, he explains how to effectively search Special Collections, but without the promise that it could be done in ten minutes! He says we’re now detectives of cold case files. Throughout Dr. Klotter’s lecture, he engages us may times with the question: “Why write history?” Share and validate knowledge before it is lost. The lives and experiences of Kentucky Women need to be told.

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