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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.

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…

 

 

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.

An Unsung Hero

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

Recently, granestrella and I finished reading transcripts for two oral histories from Audrey Grevious. We have already found information about her on various websites, a few old newspaper articles from the Herald–Leader, and some books we have been reading for class. Thus far, we haven’t had much luck finding pictures of Ms. Grevious, but I was able to get in contact with the archivist for the old Dunbar High School, who gave me an old freshman year yearbook photo. Now, we are working on indexing her oral histories to make it easier to find specific topics and gathering our information to put on the webpage.

This whole semester, it has been a struggle to find more information from Audrey’s childhood. A lot of the information we found was more recent, talking about how the Herald-Leader apologized for not covering the civil rights movement while it was going on. I think this made it difficult to get details because there was little coverage of the civil rights in Lexington. Grevious did work for a local African American newspaper called the Town Crier, but we were unable to find old issues.

I believe that Audrey Grevious’s obscurity and the difficulty in finding information about her further deepens the need for her recognition. By creating this webpage, we hope to create a mechanism for which people desiring to learn more about civil rights in Lexington can use for further insight. It could also create a forum for those who did not have a place to talk about their experiences during the civil rights in Lexington. The webpage can help to create ties within the community, while providing knowledge about an unsung hero who deserves all the attention we can give her.

by emme23

A Southern Patriot

April 18, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, Oral history, Social history

In the past few weeks my partner and I have made great strides in researching for our project on Anne Braden. The hardest part about researching Anne is not finding information — in fact, there is so much information it is a little overwhelming — but rather figuring out what information is the most important to focus on. I just finished reading the book Subversive Southerner in depth, as well carefully watching the documentary Southern Patriot. We were especially privileged because this week Cate Fosl spoke to our class and we were able to learn some amazing things about Anne firsthand. We are very lucky she was able to talk to our class and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

The best part about researching an important person in history is that after a while you don’t feel like you are just reading about events, but you actually get to know the person. I think Anne is one of the most amazing people I’ve read about and it makes me sad that she isn’t mentioned more often on a national level in connection with the civil rights movement.

Carl and Anne Braden after his release from prison in July 1955.

A few notes on my favorite things about Anne: Her feminism in a time when feminism wasn’t as prevalent as it was in later decades. Even after having children, Anne did not give up her career to become a stay at home mom as many other women did. She found a way to balance her career and her home life. Second, her career in journalism. At the time female journalists weren’t very common, but that didn’t stop her from working for multiple newspapers. As a female student with an interest in journalism, I really enjoyed learning about how she approached writing for the paper and how she used it not only as a way to report on the news, but also as an oppertunity to record oral history. Third, her relationship with husband Carl Braden. Anne and Carl’s relationship is not your typical 50s love story, but that is what makes it so interesting. Its easy to tell how much they loved each other just by looking at looking at photos of them together. The fact that they were able to work so well together is part of the reason their efforts towards fair housing were so successful.

 

 

A Day in the Capitol

April 11, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Political history, Social history

Kentucky Capitol Building

Without a doubt, our class trip to the state capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday was a valuable experience. Not only did my class have the opportunity to explore an important location in our state history, we were able to witness a revolutionary proclamation that continues to have immense worth in our society. First, our group had the opportunity to meet with Eleanor Jordan of the Kentucky Commission on Women. Ms. Jordan shared with us the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit of notable Kentucky women that hang in the halls of the capitol building. Jordan was quick to address the fact that visitors to the capitol can see the beautiful dolls of the First Ladies upon entering their wing of the building, yet women have made much more valuable contributions within our state than have been previously recognized. Although the portraits are a small token of appreciation to glorify these women’s hard work, the gallery is a unique and crucial development in this male dominated space. Her future plans include the erection of a female sculpture in the building to further illuminate the work of women in our state.

John J. Johnson

Following our meeting with Eleanor Jordan, our group attended the Fair Housing Proclamation in the capitol rotunda. The speakers included John Johnson of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and numerous others who support has brought this legislation to the forefront and given rights to many deserving individuals. The most moving part of the proclamation, for me, was Colmon Eldridge‘s speech at the program’s conclusion. Eldridge, representing the office of the governor, came to announce the proclamation but shared a very moving story about his motivation to work for continued legislation such as this. He shared stories about his grandma and his personal home ownership story and why this proclamation has such a personal meaning to him for an African American male. He also noted that the audience was a blend of all shades of color thus emphasizing the fact that this isn’t just an issue of African American civil rights, but rather, an issue every citizen of Kentucky and the nation at large should take note of.

Our trip ended following the proclamation and we shared a wonderful lunch at the Grey Goose in historic Midway, Kentucky. Though it was a relaxed atmosphere, it was extremely important for us to bond together and reflect on our experiences of the day as we had just seen real legislation that has come from the time period in which we are continuously studying. As we continue to research each of our respective accomplished women, we must go forth with an understanding that their with civil rights is far from complete and we too much be agents of change in our communities to continue their legacies.

I Shared The Dream: Georgia Davis Powers & Others

March 31, 2013 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Intellectual history, Oral history, Political history, Social history

After reading Georgia Davis Powers’ autobiography, I Shared the Dream: The Pride, Passion, and Politics of the First Black Woman Senator from Kentucky, my group led a book discussion on the most important themes and events addressed in the book. Most prominently, my group agreed that Georgia Davis Powers sought to portray herself as a real woman, someone who faces adversity and obstacles and makes conscious choices regarding her life which may not be seen in the public eye. In the book, Powers addresses her life and achievements but also her personal reflections on situations and relationships that had not been published until this book was written. My class has studied numerous influential women in Kentucky during the Civil Rights Movement and was able to draw important similarities between Senator Powers and other major figures.

The charts below represent a comparison of Georgia Davis Powers, Mae Street Kidd, and one other prominent figure of the student’s choosing. These diagrams intend to show relationships among the female leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky as well as highlight key differences in their tactics and methodology.

Scan0006 Scan0007 Scan0008  Scan0011 Scan0010

Scan0009

 

by mookygc

Martha Layne Collins

March 26, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Political history, Research methods

My group and I are working on a web based project designed to honor Governor Martha Layne Collins’ contribution to the Civil Rights history of Kentucky. We are struggling to find footing with a thesis about Governor Collins, because a good portion of the information we are finding about her is in relation to her time as Governor of the state of Kentucky, which is after the time period we are looking at, from 1920 to 1970.

Also, people close to the former governor are extremely hesitant to speak about anything regarding Governor Collins, because of a scandal involving her husband after her governorship. We are not interested in what she did as a governor though, instead, we are looking for any information regarding the work she did to promote fair civil rights for all.

We are aware that she had a lot to do with education reform, due to her background as a teacher, but are having difficulty finding anything about her life before that, aside from the fact that she was in a lot of beauty pageants and a young adult and created an organization called the “Jaycettes”. WE had an interview set up with a family friend of Collins’ but said interview was later cancelled. Our next step is to go to the Woodford County Historical Society, where there is a file about Governor Collins during her time there. Hopefully while there we will be able to form a thesis about why Collins was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Finding Audrey

March 26, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, Social history

When you mention the name “Audrey Grevious”, it will most certainly ring a bell among activists and Lexington civil rights advocates alike. While it is a taxing struggle to find many pictures of Grevious, there is much information on her efforts in local schools and protests during her younger years.

Grevious was quite active in Lexington, participating in various protests and sit-ins, while being involved with the local NAACP and CORE chapters. She eventually became the president of the Lexington NAACP and worked as a teacher before becoming the principal at the Kentucky Village Reformatory School (now called the Blackburn Correctional Complex) and Maxwell Elementary School. Grevious’s time at the Kentucky Village allowed her to bring about desegregation in the lunch rooms, a landmark moment that nearly echoes a sit-in at a local restaurant in which Grevious continued to persevere while the owner repeatedly swung a chain at her leg.

Indeed, Grevious was one of the pivotal leaders during the civil rights era in Lexington, KY, but it is difficult to find pictures from her active years. Grevious is still alive, but much weaker and ill, making it more challenging to get in touch with her. In attempting to find more information, granestrella and I are looking at the transcripts for a couple oral histories. I am also working on getting in contact with Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, and possibly Dunbar High School (though the existing one is not exactly the same as the one previously attended by Grevious). If we succeed in our quest, we may be able to bring more insight into the life of a dynamic woman underrepresented in the playing field of civil rights.

Sources

“KET | Living the Story | The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky.” Glossary, Audrey Grevious. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.

“National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.

“Audrey Grevious.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.

Fosl, Catherine, and Tracy Elaine. K’Meyer. Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, 2009. Print.

Suzy Post Research

March 25, 2013 in 1950s-1960s, 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Primary source, Social history

Suzy Post is an activist, who has worked tirelessly her entire life to gain equal rights for all people. A few of the many causes that she has devoted her life to are opening housing, desegregating schools based on both race and gender, and fighting against the Vietnam War. Each of these causes has greatly impacted Post and pushed her to fight for equal rights for all. All of these organizations and campaigns have several different resources that have helped to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of what Post’s involvement in each of these organizations. However, one resource that combines all of these resources and many more into one is an oral history interview by Sarah Thuesen for the Southern Oral History Program Collection. This oral history puts all of Post’s

Picture of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

achievements and activities into one place that allows for great research to be done on Post’s life.

This oral history is extremely useful first of all because Post talks about all that she has done in her life. This allows for overviews on each organization and cause that she was a part of. She goes through what she did for each of the organizations and the positions that she held. This shows a step by step process of the movements that she was a part of throughout her life. By using this oral history interview, a lot can be seen about her life. Not only are the actual steps that she took shown but the importance of each of these steps is also shown.

By listening to or reading through the transcript of this interview, a lot can be gained about what Post saw to be the most important causes she was involved in during her life. The interview is Post talking, which is extremely important. This lets her stress certain topics by talking about them more and in more detail as well as talking about what she wants to talk about. A lot of the questions that are asked during this interview are open-ended which permit Post to talk about what she feels is of greater significance. This shows what Post was truly passionate about and which jobs and causes she dedicated more time and energy into. This also demonstrates which ones she enjoyed working for.

Post isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard. She says what she wants and how she feels about certain people and topics, which is extremely useful. This illustrates a greater understanding of who Post is and what she enjoys, dislikes, infuriates her, pleases her, and what she thinks should and need to be changed. This, among the other things that were expressed above about the usefulness of this interview, add up to this interview being the most useful resource that I have found so far on Suzy Post’s life, accomplishments, and causes that she has been a part of. This interview is one of the best research materials that I have found that incorporates Posts past and present actions, her feelings on what she has done, and how she believes society has and should change to better benefit equality in all areas.

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

“Hall of Fame 2007 – Suzy Post.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. http://kchr.ky.gov/hof/halloffame2007.htm?&pageOrder=0&selectedPic=10. 25 March 2013.

“Suzy Post.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Post. Accessed 25 March 2013.

“Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006.” Interview by Sarah Thuesen. Documenting the American South: Oral Histories of the American South. http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/playback.html?base_file=U-0178. 25 March 2013.

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