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KY Human Rights Commission asks state and local governments to erect statues of women

August 20, 2015 in Historiography

Press release from Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
August 20, 2015
Louisville, Kentucky USA

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners at its meeting today unanimously passed a resolution encouraging Kentucky state and local governments to erect statues of women of historical significance and of notable achievement in places of honor throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The resolution will be submitted to the Kentucky General Assembly and to the Governor of Kentucky, the Kentucky Mayors’ Association, the Kentucky County Judges’ Association and the Kentucky Division of Historic Properties.

Kentucky Human Rights Commissioner Sandra Moore of Richmond, Ky., who represents the state at large on the commission board, read the resolution at today’s meeting.
About the resolution Commissioner Moore said: “I think the year 2015 is the time for Kentucky to go on record as recognizing the leadership and contributions of the great women of Kentucky. It is important not only for the women whose images would be cast in bronze or marble, but it is also important for all women and especially the younger generation to see their female role models who have contributed to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

The resolution states:
“Women, the same as men, have advanced Kentucky, the nation and world, and Kentucky has done little to acknowledge and honor this reality in bronze or in marble. In our visual culture, the icons and symbols of women achievers is sorely lacking throughout our state.
“A failure to observe women in places of honor narrows the vision of our youth, and reveals a lack of understanding of American history regarding women’s work, sacrifice and the immeasurable and timeless contributions to society’s advancement.
“The absence of such symbols stymies the inspiration, motivation and encouragement that these markers would provide, if they existed.

“In Louisville, a campaign led by the Louisville Girls Leadership organization is under way to recognize women.

“The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights commends the Louisville Girls Leadership organization for bringing to the attention of the public, the lack of female statues and icons honoring women achievers to public attention.

“The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights encourages state and local governments throughout Kentucky to assess the dearth of women honored in their communities, and to lead the way in establishing statues, and other appropriate symbols and icons such as plaques and murals, to recognize and honor the outstanding contributions of women achievers to society.

“The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights calls upon our state and local elected and appointed officials, to pursue the placement of statues and icons honoring women achievers in the state Capitol rotunda, in courthouses, parks and on plazas, as well as other state and municipal-owned and managed government buildings and tax-supported facilities.”

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is the state government agency that enforces civil rights laws, which prohibit discrimination. For help with discrimination, contact the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights at 1.800.292.5566.

Kentucky Black Heritage now online

June 20, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Historiography, Primary source

Mrs. W.H. Faus, circa 1944

Mrs. W.H. Faus of Lexington, holding a certificate of appointment to serve on the KY Commission for the Study of Negro Affairs, created in 1944 by Gov. Simean Willis.

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights recently announced that its out-of-print history reference book, Kentucky’s Black Heritage: The Role of the Black People in the History of Kentucky from Pioneer Days to the Present (1971), can now be downloaded in its entirety from the Commission’s website. The Commission had charged a committee of prestigious scholars – including one woman and several men of color – and support staff to create it as a textbook supplement for Kentucky junior high school history courses. Only five years before, in 1966, the Kentucky Civil Rights Act had passed. The book is free and now widely available to the public.

Filled with photographs and profiles of many African Americans in the history of Kentucky from pioneer days through the 1960s, the book is still an interesting resource for us to use today. Though few passages in the book refer to women, there are some key points that make the book still valuable, especially for those of us searching for ways to craft a more inclusive narrative about Kentucky’s history.

It was common all through the Civil Rights Era to overlook and to forget to document women’s participation in the Movement – and this book was compiled and published just as Black Power and the feminist movements were taking off.  This booklet is no exception even though its purpose was to correct the wrongs of discrimination and exclusivity in traditional, mainstream histories.

The Kentucky Black History Committee for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights were listed at the back of the book (pp. 141-144). There were 15 African-American and 2 white members:

  • Dr. Eleanor Y. Alsbrook

    Dr. Eleanor Young Alsbrook, KY Black History Committee

    Dr. Eleanor Young Alsbrook (daughter of Whitney Young, Sr.), assistant professor and assistant dean, University of Louisville

  • Dr. Rufus B. Atwood, President-Emeritus, Kentucky State College
  • Dr. Henry E. Cheaney, professor and chair of Afro-American Studies, Kentucky State College
  • Mr. Charles Franklin Hinds, Director of Libraries, Murray State University
  • Mr. Lyman T. Johnson, Assistant Principal, Manly Junior High School, and Treasurer of Louisville NAACP
  • Mr. Howitt C. Mathis, Superintendent, West KY State Vocational-Technical School (Paducah)
  • Mr. James O’Rourke, Head Librarian, Kentucky State College
  • Dr. Charles H. Parrish, professor-emeritus at University of Louisville, acting chair of Division of Social Sciences, Lincoln University
  • Dr. William H. Perry, Jr., Grand Sec’y of Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F.& A.M. of Kentucky; Deputy for Kentucky, the United Supreme Council, 33 degree, Southern Jurisdiction
  • Mr. Alvin M. Seals, assistant professor, Kentucky State College and President of Lexington Montessori Society
  • Mr. Frank B. Simpson, assistant superintendent, Jefferson County Schools
  • Tava Taylor

    Tava Taylor, staff support for KY Black History Comm.

    Mr. Maurice Strider, assistant professor, Morehead State University

  • Dr. Rhea A. Taylor, associate professor, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. George D. Wilson, professor emeritus, Kentucky State College
  • Dr. Whitney M. Young, Sr., President-Emeritus, Lincoln Institute
  • Miss Tava Taylor, student at Kentucky State College
  • Miss Charlotte Dunne, student at Eastern Kentucky University

The three women who were on the Committee probably felt tremendous pride in getting the book out at all.  I can’t help but wonder, though, if any one of them had wished for more information on women’s history to include in the book.  It may have changed some of the narrative as well when expressing the history of an event or series of events from a woman’s perspective too.

Charlotte Dunne

Charlotte Dunne, staff support for KY Black History Comm.

In addition to these women, the acknowledgements (p. 145) showed that more women scholars were involved in the creation of the booklet.  Librarian Jacqueline P. Bull (director of Special Collections and Archives) at the University of Kentucky, Mrs. Amelia Buckley of Keeneland Racetrack Library, Librarian Elizabeth Gilbert of the Hutchins Library at Berea College as well as Barbara Miller from the Louisville Free Public Library are thanked for helping the Committee members with information and archival materials.  Mrs. Charles Farnsley of the Lost Cause Press, Mrs. Lillie Gleaves of the Jefferson County Department of Welfare are also mentioned for helping to research facts and aiding the Committee in acquiring many of the rare pictures published in this book.

It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on how these women worked to create the book – and to wonder if they had been able to craft a different book than the one we now have in our possession.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

A Day in the Capitol

April 11, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

Kentucky Capitol Building

Without a doubt, our class trip to the state capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday was a valuable experience. Not only did my class have the opportunity to explore an important location in our state history, we were able to witness a revolutionary proclamation that continues to have immense worth in our society. First, our group had the opportunity to meet with Eleanor Jordan of the Kentucky Commission on Women. Ms. Jordan shared with us the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit of notable Kentucky women that hang in the halls of the capitol building. Jordan was quick to address the fact that visitors to the capitol can see the beautiful dolls of the First Ladies upon entering their wing of the building, yet women have made much more valuable contributions within our state than have been previously recognized. Although the portraits are a small token of appreciation to glorify these women’s hard work, the gallery is a unique and crucial development in this male dominated space. Her future plans include the erection of a female sculpture in the building to further illuminate the work of women in our state.

John J. Johnson

Following our meeting with Eleanor Jordan, our group attended the Fair Housing Proclamation in the capitol rotunda. The speakers included John Johnson of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and numerous others who support has brought this legislation to the forefront and given rights to many deserving individuals. The most moving part of the proclamation, for me, was Colmon Eldridge‘s speech at the program’s conclusion. Eldridge, representing the office of the governor, came to announce the proclamation but shared a very moving story about his motivation to work for continued legislation such as this. He shared stories about his grandma and his personal home ownership story and why this proclamation has such a personal meaning to him for an African American male. He also noted that the audience was a blend of all shades of color thus emphasizing the fact that this isn’t just an issue of African American civil rights, but rather, an issue every citizen of Kentucky and the nation at large should take note of.

Our trip ended following the proclamation and we shared a wonderful lunch at the Grey Goose in historic Midway, Kentucky. Though it was a relaxed atmosphere, it was extremely important for us to bond together and reflect on our experiences of the day as we had just seen real legislation that has come from the time period in which we are continuously studying. As we continue to research each of our respective accomplished women, we must go forth with an understanding that their with civil rights is far from complete and we too much be agents of change in our communities to continue their legacies.

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.

 

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