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Founding the NAACP

December 9, 2010 in 1920s-30s, Social history

William English Walling, Chairman of NAACP Executive Committee (1910–1911) in 1906 William English Walling was extremely active in the creation and beginning of several groups whose target was to bring women’s rights to the forefront of the nation’s stage. He was a firm believer in equality for all races and genders and showed his willingness to participate in activism designed to spread these ideas to everyone in the United States. Political and social equality for African Americans and women was his main concern. He was born in 1877 in Louisville and died in 1936, so his actions and plans were very progressive for the time period. Also his parents had owned slaves at one time, so for a white man from Kentucky, whose parents formerly owned slaves, really speaks to his character.

William English Walling was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) and was very active in the organization for many years. Also In 1903 he founded the National Women’s Trade Union League, which was designed to educate women and keep them informed on trade unions and the positives that they offer for women trying to be independent and destroy the gender barrier that existed in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. Women had been working in horrible conditions in hospitals and other jobs and the idea of the club was to help teach women how to fight the exploitation that companies were trying to do to women across the country and in Kentucky.

William English Walling, known as English, was a revolutionary in his era. He helped positively influence the lives of thousands of women inside Kentucky and around the United States. At the end of his life he began traveling a lot and while in Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands, he died in 1968.

Educator, Attorney and Activist

October 21, 2010 in 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

Professor Carolyn Bratt is a perfect example of a woman who took her views and beliefs to a new level of reality. Professor Bratt flew through many glass ceilings and then constructed escalators for other women to come through. Originally from New York, Professor Bratt graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1974 and then instantly joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky Law School in 1975. Once in Kentucky she never left, but instead devoted all of her free time to the civil rights movement and to the women’s equality movement.[1]

She broke through many barriers in Lexington history by being one of the first women to practice law in Lexington and was the first woman to be on the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees.[2] This was the first time any women had done anything like this on a southern campus across the country. Professor Bratt gave more than three hundred speeches in her time at the University of Kentucky, all across the state, in order to give her opinions on the equality of women and gender in political, economical and educational aspects of life. Most recently she was deeply involved in helping the University of Kentucky create policies to deal with sexual assault and harassment for all of the people surrounding the campus.

It was extremely rare to see a woman on the forefront of her department who was involved in changing the way that women fit in around college life. She opened the doors for women to get involved in any aspect of the education process that they wished, where before certain areas of education were meant just for men. Her dedication to spreading her ideas on women’s equality and the civil rights movement is beneficial to the thousands of women that attended the University of Kentucky today.

[1] “2003 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.”

[2] “2003 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.”

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