You are browsing the archive for NAACP.

by becca

55th Anniversary of Rosa Parks brave choice

December 1, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Political history, Social history

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to move seats in order to accompany a white passenger and to move to the back of an Alabama bus, as the law stated she must since she was African-American. She was promptly arrested for this action, a small price to pay for the change she brought on.

After that night, there was a 381 day protest of the Montgomery bus system in support of Rosa’s brave decision to stand up for her rights. This boycott almost led to the demise of the buses in Montgomery due to the mass amounts of people refusing to ride. Churches and homes in the black community were often attacked during this time when people felt they weren’t cooperating. Finally, in 1956, the Supreme Court banned segregation on public transportation.

Rosa Parks, along with her husband Raymond, were active in the Montgomery branch of the NAACP and she was appointed secretary in 1943. She later served as the advisor for the NAACP Youth Council. She was also hired as a staff assistant to House of Representatives member John Conyers, Jr.

55 years later, it is incredibly important to remember the actions Rosa Parks did in order to make a necessary change in our society. Although she passed away in October of 2005, Rosa Parks will forever be remembered and honored for her brave achievements.

This website has a great biography on her life and accomplishments:

by OneTon

Through the Eyes of a Teacher: Lucille Griffin Brooks

November 5, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Primary source, Social history

After learning in our history class at the University of Kentucky about the achievements of the Kentucky Historical Society‘s Oral History Project: Civil Rights in Kentucky, I chose to research the extensive interviews on the website. I began my research by searching women who made an impact in educating the state of Kentucky. My mother, Mary Fitzpatrick Singleton, is a very important person to me. She taught for many years in Louisville, KY and Charlotte, NC and is a true hero. During my search, I found another impressive lady who had the opportunity to teach during the integration process of Kentucky schools.

Born in Simpson County, Kentucky in 1922, Lucille Griffin Brooks grew up on her grandfather’s farm. The farm helped her learn life skills which would help her during the Civil Rights Era of the United States of America. She attended Sand Bank, Madison Street High School (graduated in 1939), Kentucky State College (graduated in 1944), and finished at Atlanta University. This resume of schools for a woman in the mid-20th century is very impressive and shows great determination to better herself and others around her. Her favorite subjects were math and science based classes too.

Throughout her interviews (see the full text of the interview transcript at the Kentucky Historical Society’s website) she explains what integration meant to the black community and how it affected the community. She explains that if teachers had tenure that they had the best chance of keeping their jobs. Tenure at that time meant having four years of teaching on your resume. She also explains that the black high school teachers were those that were chosen to teach at the predominately white schools too. Brooks spent her first year of integration at Franklin-Simpson High School, but she did not return for her second year. She had been promoted to the job description of Visiting Teacher, but it only lasted a year. She returned to teach the next year and is seen as a major face in the education system of Kentucky. For further insight into the life of Lucille Griffin Brooks, you are welcome to read and listen to the audio recordings of her interviews conducted by Dr. Betsy Brinson for the Kentucky Oral History Commission.

          Lucille Griffin Brooks, interviewed by Betsy Brinson, African American Heritage Center in Franklin, Kentucky, June 6, 2000, catalog 20 B 50, The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Kentucky Historical Society Oral History Project,

The Power of Working Together

November 4, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Economic history, Political history, Social history

The history regarding the civil rights era and the efforts that were made locally here in Lexington, Kentucky have not been given proper time or coverage, as far as recording the history. That is partially our jobs in this class with our service learning projects. That why I wanted to bring up the power of working together. People from all over the city were using the help of groups such as the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) and the National Association for the Advancenment of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.), to organize protests and marches all across Fayette County.

Picture of Julia Etta Lewis (1932-1998), from 2001 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Julia Etta Lewis (1932-1998), leader in the Lexington Congress of Racial Equality

Audrey Grevious

Audrey Grevious, leader of Lexington NAACP

Julius Berry, a Lexington native, spent much of his life advocating equality for black people in Kentucky and was involved with C.O.R.E. in tackeling the issue of desegregation in the public schools of Fayette County. At the same time as Julius Berry’s efforts on desegregation, Audrey Grevious and Julia Lewis combined their powers in the N.A.A.C.P. and C.O.R.E. together to arrange sit-ins and non-violent demostrations through out Lexington. The demonstrations and sit-in’s were usually aimed at the segregation of the entertainment businesses, restaurants, education, and public transportation.

These two women did remarkable work on the community level and they should be remembered for the strength they showed by working together and tying multiple resources together. If the community supports a movement, then change will come with leaders like Grevious and Lewis at the forefront of the local movement. As for Berry, his basketball carear probably influenced him to get involved with C.O.R.E. and the desegregation of the pubilc schools in Fayette County and across the commonwealth. The bottom line is that working together and combining resources under one movement will make life a lot easier for the people involved.

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’.

by Syle

A Successful Activist: Ella Baker

October 14, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Political history, Social history

Ella Baker was a very prominent and successful leader. She was part of many important groups and worked along side many of the biggest names during the civil rights era. Her grandmother was a slave, and growing up she would listen to stories of slave revolts. She graduated college from Shaw University, as the valedictorian of her class. Afterwards she went on to do great things as an activist and became a great leader.

Ella Baker was part of many well known groups that were essential to the Civil Rights movement. She did much of her work behind the scenes and was even responsible for some of these groups starting in the first place. She started her work with teh NAACP and spent much of her life working with them. Much more noteworthy however, she was part of the reason the Southern Christian Leadership Conference even began. She became the first staffmember for the SCLC and was so for long time. While working with the SCLC she worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King who was the first president of the organization. During her career she also helped jumpstart the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and began working with them for many years.

Ella Baker was a very important woman for the Civil Rights Movement, even though she did much of her work behind the scenes. Starting these organizations shows the kind of leader she was and her desire to make things equal. She worked with many people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, W.E.B. Dubois, and Anne Braden. But has also been noted as being a mentor for other people such as Rosa Parks. Ella Baker was an amazing woman with a lot of drive and was a very key part of the Civil Rights Movement.

by kcjohn2

Suffrage for All?

September 17, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Social history

There are many pioneers of women’s suffrage. My question is, how progressive were these progressive thinkers?

One of the first trailblazers for women’s suffrage in Kentucky was Laura Clay.  Clay was not only a leader for women’s suffrage in the state of Kentucky, but throughout the entire south. She founded the Equal Rights Association in Fayette County in 1888 and went on to establish the association as one of the leading groups for suffrage in the country. Equal rights evoke a sense of freedom for all. This was not the case to Laura Clay, who was strictly defending the rights of white women. Having grown up in the south, this was the typical mindset of the time. For such a forward thinker, how could this be? The opposite can be said of Sophonisba Breckinridge, a born and bred Kentuckian, who later spent her life in Chicago. Sophonisba spent her life in Chicago dedicated to social reform for all. Not only is she remembered for her social work, but also for her membership in various women’s clubs and most notably the Chicago chapter of the NAACP. Could her more progressive thought come from her move to the north, where people were more likely to have been open minded towards these even more forward thinking thoughts.

It is amazing to see the two different degrees of progressivism and put them into prospective with time and geographical reference. Clay was such a pioneer for the white woman’s suffrage, but yet still did not believe in blacks being afforded these same rights, while Breckinridge was seeking rights for all. These two women show the varying degree of progressive thinking in the early suffrage movement.

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