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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.

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.

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.

 

 

Inspiration from Audrey

April 16, 2013 in Social history

This semester, I have been working on a Hall of Fame project on Audrey Grevious with granestella. I have learned so much about this local activist and have come to greatly admire her past work while researching about her life and accomplishments. Indeed, it surprises me that she has not received much recognition for the many trials she experienced during the civil rights movement in Kentucky, but I hope that through this project, Audrey Grevious can receive a little bit of recompense for the work she has done in the Lexington community.

While there are many articles looking back at her previous achievements, we have found virtually no articles published about Grevious from before the 1980s. There are also very little pictures of her except for the two from The HistoryMakers and KET Living the Story. There seems to be many roadblocks to finding more about Audrey Grevious. I feel as if her story is one that must be told to all African American women aspiring to make a change in their communities. She truly took steps to make changes to things she saw as wrong and stayed true to what she believed in. This is well exemplified in the time when Grevious decided to desegregate the lunchroom of the Kentucky Village. She simply went into the lunchroom reserved for the white staff members and sat down!

Grevious was very much involved in the local efforts to fight segregation, whether it was in participating in sit-ins or as the president of the Lexington chapter of the NAACP. She shows us that just one person can make a difference through their actions and character. In fact, we can all use a trailblazer like Audrey to look up to and celebrate in her achievements that will bring inspiration to our own quests in making a difference in the world.

Sources

“KET | Living the Story | The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky.” Glossary, Audrey Grevious.          http://www.ket.org/cgi-bin/cheetah/watch_video.pl?nola=kcivs+000112&altdir=&template=

“National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Jan. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAACP_in_Kentucky

“Audrey Grevious.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 02 Jan. 2013.              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Grevious

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.

Trip to Frankfort

April 15, 2013 in Primary source, Social history

picture of Frankfort Capital Building

Capitol Building

This past week, our class had the opportunity to take a trip to our state’s Capitol in Frankfort. This trip was a great experience, and we were able to see a lot of things that related to our course’s curriculum. We spoke with Eleanor Jordan, who took us on a tour of the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit. It was very wonderful to see the women we’ve been studying immortalized on the walls of our Capitol.

It was enlightening to speak with Eleanor about her dreams for including Women in Kentucky history. The passion and fire we witnessed in these women, along with that of the attendees of the Proclamation signing, was inspiring to witness. It truly brought to light the fact that our work for this course matters. People dedicate their lives to this cause, and to us, these project may seem like just another thing on our to-do list, there are people who truly care about these women and their lives. It was humbling to witness, and it has provided me with a new-found dedication and the final push necessary to end our semester strong.

The Proclamation signing was also fascinating. Men and women who have dedicated their lives to obtaining rights for people of all colors, all genders, and all walks of life spoke to us about their passions and dreams for the Commonwealth. These wonderful people simply overflow with passion, and it was inspiring to be able to spend time with them. I am so pleased that our class had this opportunity, and I hope that our work continues to thrive and develop as the end of the semester quickly approaches.

 

References:

“Frankfort”, magazineUSA.com (3 July 2007) http://www.magazineusa.com/images_st2/ky/ky_frankfort_capitol.jpg

 

Suzy Post Project

April 15, 2013 in 1960s-1970s, Oral history, Research methods, Social history

Picture of Suzy Post

Suzy Post

Suzy Post was a civil rights activist, worked towards gaining equality for women in all areas, joined the anti-war movement, held many positions in different organizations such as the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, and worked towards creating a better society for everyone. Post recently was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame and for one of my honors classes I am working with another girl in my class on creating a webpage on Post’s life and all of her accomplishments. This project allows for all of Post’s accomplishments and hard work to be recognized and appreciated by all.

For our project, my partner and I have found many different sources, one of the best being oral history interviews. Suzy Post has given a number of oral histories that highlight different movements that she was involved in, how she felt about society, and the influence she had during this time period. Through these oral history interviews, my partner and I have gained much deeper understanding of what Post was going through and how she was affected by it. We have gone through all of these interviews and are working on compiling the information and putting it into a format that is accessible to everyone else.

Not only have the oral history interviews been helpful but so have many other sources. By looking at the organizations that she was a part of and talking to those who knew her and have done extensive research on her, we have gained more of an insight into her life. We have contacted Dr. Catherine Fosl and some of Dr. Fos’l’s colleagues at the Anne Braden Institute at the University of Louisville to obtain more information about Post’s involvement in the Louisville civil rights movement. They have provided us with more sources and have been extremely helpful in our gaining a larger comprehension of what Post was like and how she was involved during this time period.

As we contacted these people, we were pointed to talking to Suzy Post herself. After contacting Post, she has agreed to do an interview with my partner and I. We believe that this will allow us to be able to ask the questions that we haven’t been able to find answers to and to be able to fully understand what this time period was like coming from Post herself.

Our project is going exceptionally well, and my partner and I are in the final stretch of putting all of the information together. We believe that we have researched the time period, the organizations, and Post, herself, very well. We are looking forward to seeing the finished project and being able to provide a great wealth of information on a truly wonderful person.

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

“Suzy Post – Hall of Fame 2007.” Kentucky: Kentucky Commission on Human Rights –. http://kchr.ky.gov/hof/halloffame2007.htm?&pageOrder=0&selectedPic=10. 15 Apr. 2013.

“Suzy Post.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 Feb. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Post. 15 Apr. 2013.

“Catherine Fosl, Women’s and Gender Studies Department.” University of Louisville. https://louisville.edu/wgs/catherine-fosl.html. 15 Apr. 2013.

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.

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