David Gettleman was born in Louisville in 1927. His father was a Rabbi who instilled the desire for racial equality among all of his children. Growing up in the Jewish minority in the city, David states that he did face prejudice of his own, which only strengthened his resolve to fight for others. David started college at the University of Louisville at only 16 years old, before leaving for a year and a half to serve in the Navy during World War II. Upon returning to Louisville, David went on to attend law school and he immediately began practicing in the city upon graduation. He mentions being an â€œOutspoken Liberalâ€ while he was a student, as well as the chairman of the student body. He worked as a lawyer in Louisville for over 50 years.
In the interview, David recounts stories of his time as an advocate for social justice causes. One such story highlights the racial prejudice of the Louisville Country Club, as they would not allow visitor Arthur Ashe, one of the best tennis players of all time, to use the country club pool during his visit. The majority of the interview is dedicated to Davidâ€™s time spent with the American Friends Service Committee; a Quaker founded organization. He worked very close with African American activist, Betty Taylor. The organization founded the Park DuValle Neighborhood Health Center. He recounts working with other Louisville activists such as Dora Rice and Mansir Tydings. He specifically recounts being on many interracial committees with Tydings, as both men were staunch advocates for racial equality and desegregation. David helped draft local legislation for social justice issues and worked on the Open Accommodations and Open Housing movements.