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The Work is Far From Over

April 28, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Oral history, Social history

The end of the semester has finally arrived and our final project on Audrey Grevious has been posted (http://www.kywcrh.org/projects/kchr-hall-of-fame/grevious). Without question, I thought rather pessimistically about our contributions to this project for most of the semester. Consistently, I thought in terms of quantity rather than quality in consideration of how much (or rather how little) information we were able to gather about Grevious. While our investigations and connections seemed less than successful at times, I have come to realize that our work has indeed been significant. I have learned SO much about Audrey Grevious and the movement in its entirety throughout this process and also hope that I have helped illuminate her life for others conducting similar research.

After utilizing the internet, texts, and most importantly, oral history interviews, I have observed the transformation of history and its record in just a period of 50 short years. The work my class has done this semester has been incredible – listening to the experiences of brave women, reading and analyzing literature about their lives, and even meeting them personally to record new history. I have never been more impressed with the success of a class.

Something I found very interesting from one of Audrey Grevious’ interviews that I studied closely was the following quote:

“And I feel like the generation now have lost out on that sort of thing. There’s not that closeness. There’s not that interweaving of cultures, of friendships, of anything.”

While this may be true from her perspective, from what I’ve gathered through all our research, today’s generation is better connected and more intertwined than ever. In examining the stories and backgrounds of students in our class alone, the sensitivity of our generation is ever increasing thus constantly embracing cultural difference and promoting friendships every day.

More than Just a Senator

December 6, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Economic history, Intellectual history, Political history, Primary source, Social history

Georgia Davis Powers was extremely influential for all women and the African American community through her actions and life. She became the first African American to hold a seat in the Senate and she became the first women to hold a seat in the Senate. Powers had to cross not only the racial barriers of the time, but also the gender barriers because she is a black women. Georgia Davis Powers was born in Springfield, Kentucky on October 19, 1923 and she was born a natural leader.

Prior to her political careear that begun in 1967, Georgia Davis Powers was extremely involved in the civil rights movement for all African Americans. She led many small movements through out Kentucky for several years until 1964. In 1964 she was able to convince Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson to come to Kentucky for a march on the state capital of Frankfort. Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s brother was a minister in Louisville and was able to help organize the march on Frankfort with Georgia Davis Powers.

Three years after the march, Powers was elected to the United States Senate, where she remained a senator for five consecutive terms, or for 21 years. She is quoted in saying that she looked at her senate years as a “mission” to accomplish as many things for equality among all people. She also credits god for giving her the strength to continue on through her mission for equality throuhg out her life and political careear.

Senator Powers also traveled to Memphis in April of 1968 at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was present at the hotel when he was shot. In an interview of Senator Powers she retells the story and speaks of the iincident in which she was standing over the body and King and realized that he was dead. She has forever been a living example of how people should live their lives. Her devotion for equality amongst races and gender took her to heights few people have been to. Georgia Davis Powers was and still is a great leader for equality and for the civil rights movement and she will forever be remembered as one of the most influential and great women of all time.

http://www.womeninkentucky.com/site/public_service/g_powers.html

 http://www.ket.org/civilrights/bio_powers.htm

Information also gathered from December 2, 2010 meeting with Mrs. Powers at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center on the University of Kentucky campus for  the “Sisters in the Struggle” video demonstartion.

Elizabeth Hardwick

November 30, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Social history

Elizabeth Hardwick was a female novelist and feminist born in Lexington, Kentucky circa 1916.  Her name is often overlooked in history today and for what reason?  There are unfortunately many reasons why this woman who has contributed so much to the world of literature and feminism is so often ignored by historians.

Ms. Hardwick was a native of Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1939.  She was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947 and was first published by Harper’s in 1959, solidifying her future as one of the most influential female American writers.  Her first featured article was a piece titled “The Decline of Book Reviewing” in which she highly criticized book critiques that were done by prominent male authors and historians and even the New York Times.  Her criticism of book reviews inspired her to start a book review society of her own with the help of several other authors and scholars, including poet Robert Lowell, whom would eventually be her husband.

Overall, Ms. Hardwick published many novels including “The Ghostly Lover”, “The Simple Truth”, and “Sleepless Nights” all of which were top sellers.  She also continued to mentor and teach writing seminars at Barnard College and Columbia University through the 1970’s and 80’s.

Why is a majority of her work not made widely known throughout the commonwealth and the rest of the country?  How is a woman so magnificent reduced to near non-existence after leading such a well educated and exciting life?  There is reason to believe that being female has played a large role in Ms. Hardwick’s dissappearing act.  Other reasons include the lack of interest in literature and he rlast piece of work being published over 12 years ago.  Even so, Elizabeth Hardwick’s work and dedication to literature and society must be better recognized and given more notoriety.

Wiki Press.  www.wikipedia.org.  Wikipedia.  Elizabeth Hardwick.  Oct. 31 2010.  30 November 2010.

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