You are browsing the archive for Audrey Grevious.

by Mary

Lexington and Segregation

October 15, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Political history

The textbook definition of segregation is “the seperation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnice group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area by barriers to social intercourse by seperate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” [citation needed here]  From the AASRP Race Dialogues “Sisters in the Struggle” talk yesterday I think it is fairly safe to say that Lexington still enables segregation in the community.

 The facilitator, Mrs. Valinda Livingston, was addressing issues with Lexington’s North and South end schools and how there is not much diversity.  The “white ” schools have more resources while the “black” schools are lacking in technology.  This is not what activists from the Civil Rights movement, like Lexington’s former NAACP president Audrey Grevious, would like to see.  It is modern day segregation and not fair for individuals that live in less than ideal socioeconomic conditions.  When Mrs. Livingston was talking about when she was a prinicipal in the 90’s and another principal called her to ask about to deal with those “type” of children (meaning the African American students), that shows a racist mentality that has been imbedded in the community. 

There are studies that show how segregation can affect a child’s self identity and how they perceive others.  An example of one of these studies was the Clark Doll Experiment done in 1939.  This experiment brought in black children to choose between a white or black doll, most chose the white doll to play with.  When the experimenter asked the children which one was the “bad” doll they pointed to the black one.  This shows a direct effect on their self identity. 

One of my professors last year was talking about how his daughter goes to a school that has mainly a white population here in Lexington.  One day she came home and told her father how she was ugly because she did not have white skin and blonde hair and none of the boys would talk to her.  This is a direct effect on African American children and not having a diverse learning environment to find their identity.  It is not fair that the Civil Rights activist endured all of these struggles and Lexington in a way is still stuck in the era of segregation.

by kcjohn2

The Non-Violent Movement

October 15, 2010 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Social history

From Greensboro, North Carolina to Lexington, Kentucky, 1960 marked the beginning of the non-violent civil rights movement. Although there had been other sit-ins before 1960, Greensboro sparked a nationwide trend, which began to change the country from one town to another. Our own Lexington was one of these towns, which took notice and began developing its own plan of action.

At the head of Lexington’s nonviolent movement was Audrey Grevious, a teacher and the President of the Lexington chapter of the NAACP at this time. Grevious, an amazing professional and community leader, worked with the Lexington members of CORE to decide which places to sit in first. They finally decided their first task would be to get more jobs for African Americans in the community. Not only would this bring the obvious, jobs, but would also boost the self-esteem of the African Americans in the community.

First, they picketed at the local grocery; they marched for blacks to be hired as cashiers. In the ‘60’s groceries were all white owned, and the white owners would only hire blacks as maintenance help. Their next task was to take on downtown, still trying to get blacks as cashiers in the local businesses. They marched on Main St. in front of businesses like, Purcell’s and Mitch Bakers. In listening to Ms. Grevious’ interview, I found it very interesting that Grave’s Cox was the only downtown business, which supported the movement. Unlike the two businesses above, Grave’s Cox is still in business today.

After the Lexington NAACP had succeeded in their mission to get some salespeople and cashiers in grocery stores and downtown businesses, they took on the lunch counters. This proved to be the most difficult. The actions of these narrow minded people, in something as simple as eating in the same place as someone else, were simply barbaric. Those involved in the non-violent movement were successful in not only getting the jobs and rights blacks deserved, but also in rising above the inhumanity of it all.

Much of my research came from the oral history the Kentucky Historical Society  did with Audrey Grevious’.

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