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.”

2 responses to Educator, Attorney and Activist

  1. Thanks for sharing your discovery of Professor Carolyn Bratt. Her strength, dedication, and achievements are very admirable! I feel honored to attend a University in which facilitated such progressive reform.

  2. Yes, indeed, she left a legacy of women’s rights activism here at UK that is still very impressive! I was lucky to have been included in several studies she helped to lead on the status of women at the University of Kentucky – when I was a graduate student in the History Department, a faculty leader at Lexington Community College (when the community colleges were still part of UK), and post-doctoral Commonwealth Humanities Scholar. Here’s one of the reports that gives very a very startling portrait of the institutionalized sexism at UK:

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