Colley, Sister Rose

90 minutes
K'Meyer, Tracy
Transcription available:
Civil Rights Movement in Louisville
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Sister Colley, formerly Sister John Martin, was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1928. She served in the Archdiocese of Louisville for nearly half a century as an educator, mediator, facilitator, trainer in mediation and conflict management. She served as principal of Christ the King School from 1961 to 1964. She then was appointed to Supervisor of Schools for the Louisville Archdiocese. In the interview, Sister Colley speaks of witnessing prejudice firsthand in the very segregated city of Nashville as a child. She said she realized that racism was unjust, though her own parents subscribed to such beliefs in her youth. Her formative years were spent in Texas, where she was educated by the Sisters of Loretto. She would join the order right out of high school. Once she was relocated to Louisville in 1961, she would go on to join the West End Community Council and become the secretary of the council. Through her involvement, she helped to combat many social justice issues that plagued the city at the time, namely the Open Housing cause and the War on Poverty. Her work specifically with the War on Poverty led to her work with the Head Start programs in the city. Sister Colley states that education was the best path to combat the effects of racial equality. Sister Colley recalls her friendship with Anne Braden, whom she defended against accusations of Communism and prevented her from being expelled from the WECC. She also recalls how she marched with Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. when he came to Louisville in 1967 and how she also travelled to Washington D.C. to protest the inauguration of Richard Nixon in 1969.
Civil rights