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by mookygc

Trip to Frankfort, Kentucky

April 23, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Economic history, Social history

A couple of weeks ago, April was declared “Fair Housing Month” by the governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, in honor of the Fair Housing Proclamation’s 45th anniversary. Luckily, my honors professor decided that it would be beneficial for our class to attend the remembrance ceremony.

On our trip to the capital, we got the privilege of meeting Eleanor Jordan, the director of the Kentucky Commision on Kentucky Women. Jordan walked us through the “Kentucky Women Remembered” exhibit, a series of portraits that honors the many varied accomplishments of strong Kentucky Women, that hangs on the capital’s walls. It was inspiring to hear her talk about all the future plans she has for the exhibit, and the long and strenuous process for selecting each year’s nominees. It was wonderful to hear that they have a very difficult time choosing which portraits to commision, because they have such a wide range of women to choose from.

At the Proclamation rememberance, it was very powerful to hear John Johnson, the Director of the Kentucky Commision on Human Rights speak about discrimination and equality and fairness. I believe we were all very moved by what he had to say. Most interesting were the comments shared by Mr. Colmon Elridge, the executive assistant to Gov. Beshear. It was amazing to heaar him talk about how much the Fair Housing Proclamation meant to him, as he is a young African-American man, and his wife is caucasian with a disability, yet they were faced with no difficulties when purchasing a house, which meant quite a lot to him.

Overall it was a wonderful day speaking with wonderful people about the amazing things happening in Kentucky, and I am grateful we were able to attend.

Trip to Frankfort

April 15, 2013 in Primary source, Social history

picture of Frankfort Capital Building

Capitol Building

This past week, our class had the opportunity to take a trip to our state’s Capitol in Frankfort. This trip was a great experience, and we were able to see a lot of things that related to our course’s curriculum. We spoke with Eleanor Jordan, who took us on a tour of the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit. It was very wonderful to see the women we’ve been studying immortalized on the walls of our Capitol.

It was enlightening to speak with Eleanor about her dreams for including Women in Kentucky history. The passion and fire we witnessed in these women, along with that of the attendees of the Proclamation signing, was inspiring to witness. It truly brought to light the fact that our work for this course matters. People dedicate their lives to this cause, and to us, these project may seem like just another thing on our to-do list, there are people who truly care about these women and their lives. It was humbling to witness, and it has provided me with a new-found dedication and the final push necessary to end our semester strong.

The Proclamation signing was also fascinating. Men and women who have dedicated their lives to obtaining rights for people of all colors, all genders, and all walks of life spoke to us about their passions and dreams for the Commonwealth. These wonderful people simply overflow with passion, and it was inspiring to be able to spend time with them. I am so pleased that our class had this opportunity, and I hope that our work continues to thrive and develop as the end of the semester quickly approaches.

 

References:

“Frankfort”, magazineUSA.com (3 July 2007) http://www.magazineusa.com/images_st2/ky/ky_frankfort_capitol.jpg

 

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.

 

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