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.

 

 

 

 

Avatar of mookygc

by mookygc

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.

Wrapping up the Semester

April 30, 2013 in Oral history, Social history

Picture of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

As the semester comes to an end, I can’t believe all of the work I have done and the knowledge I have gained. To look back and see the wonderful pieces that my classmates and I have accomplished, is incredible. I have truly learned so much about the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky and the women who participated in it. Finding out about what the women that were apart of this Movement did and how influential they were, was something I wouldn’t have gained anywhere else.

My partner and I are finishing up our final project on Suzy Post, and are working hard on making sure that all of the details are there. After being able to interview Ms. Post, we wanted to make sure that we covered all of the major points in her life, the organizations she was apart of, and the great significance that she made towards the Movement in Louisville. She was a truly remarkable woman.

In order to do this, we are putting the final touches on our webpage that focuses on the important organizations that she contributed to as well as other aspects of her life. We have pages dedicated to her Civil Rights activism, work with the women’s movement, involvement in the anti-war movement, and her family life. We are so excited to get all of the information out and allow everyone to see how wonderful a woman she truly is.

 

************************************

“Civil Rights Movement.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Apr. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_movement. 30 Apr. 2013.

“Suzy Post.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Post. 30 Apr. 2013.

“Suzy Post, Hall of Fame 2007.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. http://kchr.ky.gov/hof/halloffame2007.htm?&pageOrder=0&selectedPic=10. 30 Apr. 2013.

Final Thoughts

April 29, 2013 in 1960s-1970s

As the semester is winding down, we are hard at work to finish up the projects for the Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Our project on Anne Braden is coming along nicely, as Emme23 and I have officially begun sorting our information into six separate sections and divided up the responsibilities of creating our six pages based on the research and information we’ve gathered from so many different sources this semester.

Our six pages will be: Background/Family Life, Chronology, Journalism, Activism, Pictures/Quotes, and Additional Resources. We feel these distinctions will best serve anyone looking for information about Anne McCarty Braden.

It is very rewarding to watch a full semester’s work come together in a singular place. I am very hopeful that this resource will be useful for future students looking for information about Anne Braden. This semester I have learned of her strength, her dignity, her dedication, and her passion. My hope for this project is that we are able to share that tremendous personality with other students and researchers. I truly hope that Anne’s personality and dedication shine through, and that Emme23 and I are merely the vessel through which it arrives.

 

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.

EXTRA EXTRA Anne Braden Headlines

April 25, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, Political history

What would YOUR newspaper headline be?

 

Little woman, big heart, megaphone voice for Civil Liberties…

Anne and Carl Braden promote unity within the community…

Braden continues to defy all social norms…

Anne Braden revolutionizes civil rights communication with newspaper southern patriot…

The Other America, reflecting on a lifelong activist who break social norms…

 

 

Martha Layne Collins

April 23, 2013 in 1960s-1970s

As has been stated before, I am currently working on a project highlighting Martha Layne Collins’ contributions to civil rights in Kentucky.  This task has proven much more difficult than originally assumed.  When beginning the project we had intentions of interviewing Collins.  As the project has progressed we have learned that task was much harder than originally expected.  As a group, we expected people to be generally willing to help and intrigued with our research.  In actuality, that has not always been the case.  Some people we contacted did not feel as though they had the information to help us, such as the principal of Shelby County High School, but would pass our information along to people of the community he felt could contribute to our research.  When we were connected with those people we were not always met with open arms.  No one was ever rude to us, they just gave us the feeling as though contributing to our research was not as important as the other things they had to tend to.  Usually, this meant they would pass the buck to someone else.  This was what most of our time researching consisted of, contacting someone for them to tell us someone else to contact.  Because of this, unfortunately, we have not made the progress we had hoped to make on this project.

Avatar of mookygc

by mookygc

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.

Nearing the End

April 22, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Oral history, Primary source, Social history

Viola Davis Brown at graduation in 1959

As the semester winds down rapidly, I am working vigorously on two projects regarding amazing women of Kentucky. The first, my article on Viola Davis Brown, has been published to Wikipedia. Fortunately, unlike many of my classmates, I have had the wonderful opportunity to share my work with Mrs. Brown herself and request feedback from her. Mrs. Brown was extremely enthusiastic to review my article and was very appreciative of the work my class is doing. Mrs. Brown’s unique achievements in the field of medical education in Lexington, Kentucky deserve recognition and thus I was extremely proud to share her story with the Wikipedia community. Although members of the community will continue to review and edit my contribution, I am also working with Mrs. Brown to clarify any details crucial to her life and accomplishments. Mrs. Brown has sent me small facts to change or incorporate as additional information. Furthermore, Mrs. Brown gave me permission to add a photo to the article, which further strengthens its credibility and value in the Wikipedia community.

View the Wikipedia article I published on Viola Davis Brown here.

                My second project, a web project on the life and work of 2012 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame inductee Audrey Grevious, is progressing very well. My partner and I have been compiling the research we have gathered throughout the semester to provide a guide to the life and accomplishments of Audrey Grevious. Because we have not been able to gather significant amounts of new, original information about Grevious, we are organizing all the resources available on the web and in print that feature her. Many of these resources include oral history interviews which serve as perhaps the best resource for individuals looking to gain a perspective on the civil rights movement in Kentucky. While the resources are crucial, we are struggling to group the information appropriately on project pages because it is all very interrelated. We are building context around Grevious’ work via locations and events addressed in oral history interviews but also want to incorporate what already exists about her life.

Meeting Suzy Post

April 22, 2013 in Oral history, Primary source, Social history

Picture of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

For the project that I am doing for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, my partner and I wanted to do an oral history interview with Suzy Post, who are project is focused on. After contacting her, we set up a time to interview and began anticipating what to expect for the interview. However, my partner and I got much more than just an oral history interview. We ended up hanging out with Ms. Post and truly seeing how passionate she was about the issues that she is known so well for fighting for.

When we went to interview Ms. Post, she told us that she had several things to do and asked if we would like to come along with her. We agreed and were able to experience many things that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. We first went to a memorial service for Ruth Booker Bryant, a woman who worked with Ms. Post during the Civil Rights Movement. While at the service, we were able to meet many other people who worked during the Civil Rights Movement, see their enthusiasm towards the project that we are doing and the influence that the Movement had on so many people. It was amazing to be able to see how alive the movement still is and how involved so many people are in it.

After the service, Ms. Post, my partner, and I all went out to dinner. Here we were able to talk to Ms. Post outside of the context of an oral history interview. We were able to see her views on current and past issues, how she was still involved in working to end these issues, her advice to younger activists, and able to simply just get to know her. It was incredible to see her point of view and how passionate she is about everything that she has and is fighting for. Finally we returned to her home and she showed us some newspaper clippings, letters, pamphlets, and brochures that she wrote or was mentioned in. It was extraordinary how involved she was in the community and how many people she was able to affect by her actions.

It was absolutely fantastic being able to get to know such an incredible woman, who has done so much for the community of Louisville and for all of the movements that she was involved in. She is a remarkable person who has so much to offer. I can definitely say that I learned far more than what I ever bargained for and wouldn’t change that experience for anything. Suzy Post is a truly outstanding woman who I had the honor of spending an entire day with.

**********************************

“Civil Rights Movement.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

“Hall of Fame 2007.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights -. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

“Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights – Home.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights – Home. N.p., n.d.          Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

“Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.” Notable Kentucky African Americans. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

“Suzy Post.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.