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A legacy built in Lexington Ky.

October 23, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Oral history

Dr Joyce Hamilton Berry is a remarkable woman who was born and raised in Lexington Ky. Growing up in a time of segregation she never felt lesser than anyone in respect to her gender or race. Part of her story is told in the recording she did for the Kentucky Civil Rights Oral History Project. She graduated from Dunbar High School at the age of 15. After graduating from Hampton University in Virginia, she returned to Kentucky and taught at Lancaster and her beloved. Her love of learning lead her to enter graduate school at the University of Kentucky. She completed her masters in 1962 then went on to become the first African American female to earn a PhD from U.K. in 1970. Dr. Berry is a renowned psychologist with her own practice in Washington D.C. She has been a regular contributor to Ebony Magazine and has written for many others. Dr. Berry has also appeared on television shows like “Judge Hatchet” and “Geraldo” etc where her expert advice and counsel was needed. Many obstacles and barriers were overcome by this native “lexingtonian” from the MLK neighborhood. Her life is a shining example of one who knew what they wanted and went after it. The youths of Lexington, Kentucky, The U.S. and by extension the world, will do well to learn from her life experiences and achievements.

Anna Mae Clarke; Fighting for Equality

October 8, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, Military history

When looking for a historical woman of  influence from Kentucky, I came across the brave and honorable Anna Mae Clarke.  Born in Lawrenceburg KY in 1919, Clarke was constantly facing descrimination in her struggle for gender and race equality.  After getting a degree in Economics from Kentucky State University, Clarke struggled for work until landing in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).  In 1943 after only a couple years of her being part of the WAC, the WAC joined forces with the United States Military.  Seeing this as an opportunity, Clarke successfully gained a posistion as an Officer and thus became the first black female to be in command of an all white company.  I think that while doing this, Clarke was able to effectively fight for equality on more levels than one.  She not only pushed the boundaries of the traditional military ideal that it’s only for men, she did it as an African American woman in 1943!  When Anna Mae Clarke first began her career she likely had no idea what kind of influence she would have or the figure that she would eventually become for women -as well as African Americans- in the fight for equality.  However, the obstacles that she overcame and achievements she made during her lifetime makes her quite the historic icon.  If not for the contributions Clarke made, the way that the military treats women, as well as African Americans, could be much different than they are in today’s society.

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