Tracy K'Meyer: This is an interview with Anne Braden by Tracy K'Meyer, conductedon June 7, 2001. This is our second session. I'd like to start off by asking you were you involved personally in any of the events that led up to school integration in Louisville? Anne Braden: Oh yeah, oh God yes! Not what the school board did, which I think was for the birds. Did we talk about the Committee for Democratic Schools? TK: No, that's actually where I'd like to pick up, because I've seen that in many of your papers. AB: Well, I don't remember exactly how it started. It seems to me it kind of grew out of the interracial hospital movement. It was people we knew through that. I know that Perdue was involved, 1:00Reverend Perdue and Reverend Hughlett. And people from the Progressive Party, I guess, which had pretty much fallen apart by then. I can't remember exactly when but it was before the Supreme Court decision. It must have started, that was in '54, of course, and we had a hearing in Frankfort in, I think, March of '54, maybe. So I think it either started in the fall of '53 or possibly that spring. I'm not sure, but in there somewhere. So I can't remember a meeting where it took place or anything, but it was just a few people got together and formed a thing we called the Committee for Democratic Schools. I can't remember when J.C. Olden died. We talked about him. TK: Yeah, I know it's right around in this period somewhere. His name isn't on the stuff for the Democratic schools that much. AB: He may have been dead by then. I know it was in the winter, because I 2:00remember Carl spoke at his funeral. Had a big funeral, and you know, he never was known in the white community hardly at all. That was a real loss because he'd taken the lead on so many things. It may have been as late as January '54. I think it was somewhere along in there. He may have been around when this started, I don't know. But anyway, we got up a petition, and I bet the petition is probably in my files in Wisconsin somewhere because we got it to circulating in the churches. It was for repeal of the Day Law basically, and we wanted the schools integrated. We got a lot of support actually. I got a lot of petitions signed, I remember that. I can't remember where all we got them signed, but I guess mostly through churches. I don't even remember who the petitions were to, 3:00whether it was to state government some way because it was a repeal. To the legislature and governor I guess. I'm trying to think who the governor was, because. whoever it was announced immediately after the Supreme Court decision that Kentucky would comply. We always thought that the kind of the work that was done around this helped prepare the atmosphere. We had some support out in the state especially in Berea that had helped make it possible for him to make that 4:00announcement, see because other states were saying massive resistance and Kentucky never did. I don't remember exactly what we did with the petitions, but we got a legislator to introduce a bill to repeal the Day Law. It had already been modified, as you know. Of course the Johnson case was way before that. After that decision in the Johnson case, I can't remember whether the legislature amended it as it applied to graduate education maybe. I don't know whether it applied to undergraduate or not, I can't remember. But along about that time was when the University of Louisville desegregated because they knew that the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was getting to file a lawsuit; that's why they did it. I've forgotten what year that was. TK: '51. AB: That was '51. By that time then the Day Law had been changed as it applied to higher education generally. So this was only for high school on 5:00down. So we got a legislator to actually introduce a bill, which we knew wouldn't pass, but that gave an excuse to have a public hearing! We had a great public hearing in Frankfort. I think it was Senator McCann who introduced the bill. He was kind of a maverick guy. He was there, I know, when I was working on the paper. He was always making some statement that was quotable. He got quoted a lot. I think he's the one who introduced that bill. I'm not even sure we had any black legislators then. I don't know who it would have been. We had had Charlie Anderson. He got killed somewhere, well, no, he wasn't dead. TK: He was still alive, but he was not in the legislature anymore. Felix Anderson was in there by then, not related to Charlie Anderson. So McCann was white? AB: He was white. TK: I wasn't sure about that. AB: I don't know how we got him to but he did. Anyway, I remember the hearing and we got people to go, and a lot of people went. I've got a picture of it. Sometimes you remember these things because of pictures. I wrote it up for the Southern Patriot, which that was long before Carl and worked for SCEF [Southern Conference Educational Fund] and it was before we even knew Jim Dombrowski. But we had gotten linked up with SCEF really through Al [unintelligible], who worked at the Courier-Journal on the copy desk with Carl and was very close to Jim Dombrowski and edited the Patriot, which was just a little thing the size of the Alliance newsletter now, you know. So I began writing a few things for them from Kentucky and I wrote a story about that hearing and there was a picture. I forget who took it, because we didn't get as many good pictures in those days as we did later. But somebody took a picture in that hearing and it's in the Patriot files. You can see Hughlett there and 6:00different ones. Berea [College] had already opened to blacks, you see, as soon as the Day Law changed so they could, since it had been passed aimed at them anyway. There was a bunch of black and white students came to the hearing from Berea and talked about how much better the campus was now that it was integrated, so that was good. I forget who else testified. I didn't. Carl and I weren't as much pariahs then as we became later, but we were still sort of radicals. So we really didn't get out in front too much. I'm pretty sure Hughlett testified and I think Perdue. I can't remember who was white that testified. TK: Were labor leaders involved, too? I mean was labor still involved at this point? AB: I don't remember any labor leaders on that, now there may have been some. And by that time I think the Harvester union had pretty much been taken over by the UAW [United Auto Workers] and was not the same as it had 7:00been before, you know, when they had lost that strike and the UAW won. So I don't really remember that there was. There was a guy named Mansir Tydings. You've probably run into that. TK: Yeah. AB: He was later. What was he doing then? Head of the, some sort of human relations council, which was non-governmental. TK: It was the Kentucky Council on Human Relations. AB: Right. He became the first director of the Louisville Commission, which wasn't set up 8:00until after the sit-ins. All through this period that's what he was doing. He was scared to death of Carl and me, but you know, he couldn't avoid his path crossing with our sometimes. I remember we were organizing to get people over to Frankfort to that hearing and I remember he called up and talked to Carl some. He said, "I've been trying to get in touch with you," or something because he was also trying to work on this bill. I think he found himself having to work with us whether he wanted to or not. So I can't remember whether he testified or whether maybe he got some people there. Anyway it was good and it got very good local publicity as well as other things. What we wanted was the schools desegregated from top to bottom. I'm pretty sure that was in March, you see, which was right before the house thing and we got involved in that in March. Then in May the Supreme Court decision came down. Our kids were preschool then 9:00and I was determined that my children weren't going to a segregated school, that was my motivation on that. I didn't want them in a segregated school to grow up as little white children, knowing nothing but little white children. After the house thing all started, obviously that sort of consumed our lives and I don't know what happened to the Committee for Democratic Schools. I think it fell apart after that and it didn't really play any role in the shaping of what Louisville did, which it would have been good if it had I think. Maybe if our case hadn't come along, we'd have kept it going and done that. I was so elated when the Supreme Court decision came down because I really thought the schools were going to be integrated the next fall. I wasn't the only person that thought 10:00that. Fred Shuttlesworth told me later he thought that, too. I mean we thought we'd won and they were going to be integrated the next fall! [Laughter] My oldest child was just three then, so he was due to start to kindergarten in about two years. Of course the Supreme Court then said it was going to issue a further order, which it did a year later with the deliberate speed thing. So nothing had much had happened. Then here, let's see when they finally desegregated, they certainly didn't integrate, was '56 right? TK: Yeah, fall of '56. AB: That was the year that Jimmy, our son, was to start to kindergarten, he 11:00was five. So that year, you've read Omer Carmichael's book? TK: Yeah. AB: Which I think is phony as a three-dollar bill. You see Louisville got all this attention about how great it was because it wasn't violence like -- Now when was Sturgis? TK: Same year, actually. AB: Same year. We were kind of involved in that, too. I wrote that up for the Patriot and went down there and met some people after. Then we were in touch with people in Henderson and I wrote an article about that because there were two ministers in Henderson who really did a great job of staving off what had happened in Sturgis where there was violence you know. There was a White Citizen's Council in Henderson and they organized a movement to counter that in Henderson, which was quite effective. I remember writing a story and it's in the Patriot files if you want to read it. So I had 12:00gone and met them. So Henderson and Sturgis were the same year, and Little Rock wasn't until a year later. But there had already been trouble in Clinton, Tennessee, that year. I think that was '56. A school was blown up or something. There were several trouble spots. It's the reason I get mixed up on the years. Every fall we knew there was going to be a crisis somewhere, you know. So Louisville was peaceful and that looked pretty good compared to bombing a school 13:00and stuff like that, so it got a lot of attention. I haven't read Omer Carmichael's book in years, but he got a lot of credit for going around and preparing the community for this process, right. But that's what I always objected to. He went around talking to community groups and so forth and the message was very clearly, "I don't like this any better than you do, but it's the law of the land and we got to put up with it." I just think that was outrageous and I thought it at that time. That's not just hindsight, although I've thought about it in recent years with all this stuff now about how desegregation hadn't worked very well for the black students. You've got all these white people running around now, "Oh, don't take your students away from my students," you know, "This has meant so much to white students." Which it has, it has done more for the white students than the black students. But if some of those voices like that had been speaking out in the white community then, the difference it could have made, you know what I mean! He could have, instead of going and saying things like that he could have said, "Look, we've got the best opportunity we ever had to give our kids a really democratic 14:00education." He could have done that! But he didn't. So what happened was, then they sent out a letter. They redistricted the city. You probably know all this. Because you know we had white and black schools. They redistricted the city to eliminate those lines. I can't even remember what was happening in the county. There weren't many blacks in the county so it wasn't a factor, I guess. And then they sent out a letter to all the parents of students. I can't remember whether we got a letter, because our child would have been going to kindergarten. They cut the kindergartens out that year. I don't know if that had anything to do with integration, but they did [unintelligible]. TK: Oh really? I didn't know that. AB: Uh-huh. They came back later. So Jim, our son, went to kindergarten 15:00with some of the teachers that had taught at Virginia Avenue [Elementary School], which is where he would have gone. It's now Carter at Thirty-sixth and Virginia. They started a kindergarten over across the street in a church. So he went there. So I'm not sure we got one of the letters. But they sent a letter to anybody that was in the school and maybe first graders enrolling, saying the Louisville schools will be desegregated next year. "Your child has been assigned to such and such a school. If you would prefer he attend another school, please list your choices, one, two, three on the back." So they encouraged a massive transfer, which happened. Where we live on Virginia Avenue, we were in the Stephen Foster [Elementary] district, which was the white school. It's the one they're getting ready to build a new one now. It's the same building, it's still there and it's now Stephen Foster Academy. The black school for that area was Virginia Avenue. So you know, if the desegregation order hadn't happened, Jim 16:00would have been assigned to Stephen Foster. As it was, he would be assigned to Virginia, except there wasn't a kindergarten that year. But that's the kind of thing that was going on. "Please list your choices, one, two, three on the back." I think, to put the best face on it, that the school officials saw that as sort of a safety valve. You know, if some parent was going to lose their mind, let them go on and transfer, which might have been all right if they had let them take the initiative, but doing that by letter really gave the impression the school board really wants you transfer to where you're in a majority, you know. And there was a massive transfer! I think I remember the figures because it was so appalling at the time. As I recall 85 percent of the white kids applied to transfer out of schools that had been black. I think it was something like 45 percent of the black. I talked to people in my 17:00neighborhood, and that neighborhood was still, or my block was mostly white then. It was in the later fifties that blacks began to move into that block and later fifties, too, when there were new houses built across the street from us where the old fairgrounds was, but none of that had happened. So right there, and I may have told you before, right up the street was a black block, you see. It was checkerboard. We had thought it would become integrated, that's why we wanted to go there, so we could live in an integrated neighborhood with our kids. So there were mostly white people around and I talked to people who had their kids in school and definitely that kind of pressure was working because they said, well, they didn't care. They didn't mind their children going to school with Negroes, I guess they would say in those days. But it seemed like this was they way the school system wanted it to be. So they really felt that, there wasn't any doubt about it. So you had very little desegregation actually 18:00happened. And it was just sad. It was the same way everywhere, except in other places you had the massive resistance. You had schools closing and you finally had more white people coming out in sort of a moderate movement to save the school systems, not so much for integration but to save the school systems. That happened in Little Rock and that happened in Prince Edward County, in Atlanta, and other places. Then you had this great rash of private schools being set up. We didn't have that here so much. The Catholics, as I recall, did a good thing then, I think that. No, that was during busing. When they said they wouldn't let people come there as a haven from busing. TK: Yeah, Pat Delahanty told me that story. AB: Yeah I don't think they did anything in the fifties. TK: They did open their system. They did integrate their system roughly at the same time. AB: Well, it may have become more integrated, I don't know, but the schools in 19:00Louisville didn't very much. Then of course, over time they became more so. Some schools began, by the sixties, to get more like Male, got more and more black students finally. Then they were beginning to shift to be majority black. I think in all the studies that the Human Rights Commission kept doing finally in the sixties, they were getting more desegregated, which brought on the suit in the seventies. Then there was a big struggle around --that we did help on that some, by this time I think it was towards the tail end of the Wade case and we had a little bit of time again -- over teacher integration. The Defender sort of led that. You've probably, if you're up to there, they had a whole series of 20:00articles. TK: You can definitely tell that they're pushing that. AB: Was Frank Stanley, Sr., still there then, I think? TK: Yeah. AB: I think that was one of his passions. They ran a series of articles, as I recall. I know that we were doing some things on that. By that time, that was a little later in the fifties, I think and our son was in school because he went to kindergarten that year and then he went over to Virginia Avenue for the first grade. And he was the only white child in that school! TK: Really! AB: Everybody had transferred out. See, that's a good example. In that area then, now it's changed, there was enough racial mixture that if people had stayed put in the districts that they were assigned to, it would have been about half and half. Some people probably really were repulsed by the idea, but mostly it was the psychology of this is the way its supposed to be and they transferred out. I got involved in the PTA there and 21:00we were very much involved later. I was for some years real involved in the PTA there and we had a lot of battles with the school board because we were trying to get resources for that school. We finally got a library, we didn't have any library. We kept going out there to see them and we finally got a library. They changed the name later to Jesse Carter. Actually, when my daughter died, she was in the fifth grade there. So we had people, rather than sending flowers, give books to that library and they had a little sort of memorial to her in the library then. I don't know whether it's still there or not, but we got the library. They did put an addition on the building and we got some things done for that school. TK: So the teacher integration stuff, I'm just getting up to that I think because I've just noticed the . . . AB: I think that first year there was no shifting of teachers at all, there was no teacher desegregation. TK: As of 1958, there still hasn't been. AB: Somewhere along in there in the late fifties or early sixties, as a result of that agitation that, as I recall, 22:00the Defender played a major role in. I can remember being at some meetings about it. I can't remember exactly how it was organized. There was some community pressure too. I can't remember whether the NAACP was, I think they were somewhat. Anyway, at some point, they did begin to desegregate the teachers, which turned out to be a disaster in a way for schools like Virginia Avenue. See, my two older children went there and then my youngest child who was born in '60, so she must have been about, '66 when she went to Virginia Avenue. She went 23:00there for six years, because that's the way it was divided then. By that time the Brown School had started so she went to the Brown School. But the school had changed totally in terms of the teaching quality. What had happened, they had had really good teachers. Jim and Anita both had just really great teachers and they had been bled away by the integration process. I realized it at the time that there was just, it was a racist sort of thing. It was this unconscious assumption only the best black teachers could teach those little white children out in the suburbs. Now, of course, they didn't have to go, you know, and I think a couple of them did stay, preferred to stay there that were pretty good. It seemed like getting up in the world, I guess. We lost the really good teachers and you'll hear other people in the black community talk about that, too, that the desegregation process bled their schools of the good teachers because they went out to the suburbs. There were a lot of places where they began closing some of the black schools, too. You had a decrease in the number 24:00of black teachers because black schools were closing. That happened more in the rural areas, I think, where maybe there wouldn't be but two schools and they closed the black one. Then they would send us at Virginia Avenue, I remember we had a lot of young white teachers and the school was still predominantly, it stayed black really mostly for the whole time my children were there. 'Course, now it's a traditional school and you got all these little white kids coming in from the suburbs to it now. TK: I didn't know it was one of the traditional schools. AB: It's a traditional school, and my granddaughter went there for the first grade, first and second grade. Then they moved away from here then. But it was a different atmosphere. It wasn't nearly as good an atmosphere as before, I 25:00didn't think by then, which was not that long ago. Well, it's been quite a while, in the eighties. But they'd send these new teachers there sort of learning on them and they have been perfectly well intentioned and maybe good teachers eventually, but they were new. You did have just probably the most outstanding minds in the black community went into teaching in those days, you know. I think there's a certain romanticism now among a lot of African Americans of "Let's go back to those days," which you probably can't go back to. You're not going to have those teachers now. But there was an atmosphere. Virginia Avenue was a good school and they had a wonderful principal. She's still living! That woman's in her nineties, Ms. Jackson, Evelyn Jackson. TK: I interviewed her actually. AB: Did you? TK: Yeah, yeah. AB: Well, she was there the whole time my children were. Let's see, no, the first year Mr. Leegan was there when Jim was there. Then she came when Jim was in the second grade and she was still there 26:00when Beth was there and I can't remember when she retired. She was very strong figure and she was really was a kind of a stern person with the kids, but she was really good and she cared about it. She really worked with the teachers and she cared about those children. There was a real caring atmosphere and she was wonderful to my children, but that wasn't just, and partly you know because you see, when they were there, it's when we were so under attack. One morning she called me up and there was some people with cameras out taking pictures of the children. They happened to be friends of ours who were making some kind of a movie about our case and some other things, you know, it was after kind of things were over. But they were out there and she wanted me to know it. I said, "Yeah, I know them, it's okay." She said, "Well, I'm not going to let anything happened to those children!" She was very protective of them, you know. But they 27:00got really good preparation there. It was an excellent school and, but it was a nice atmosphere. I look back on it and I think, you know, I can sympathize with these people who are saying, let's go back to our neighborhood schools because something was lost, you know. I never thought about it at the time and I don't think that anybody else did because I never read it commented on at the time, but when you really look back on it, the Supreme Court decision, as historic as it was, was a racist decision! Did you ever think about that? Because it was actually, read it. I read it back again a few years ago when we were working on the Central High School case because we filed, you know, an intervention in that, the Alliance did, to try to get the court to deal with equal education thing and the achievement gap and all that. So I went back to the original 28:00purpose of the Supreme Court decision, which wasn't, that decision does not mention the word diversity or what we were trying to do is diversify, prepare students to live in this interracial world, which people talk about now and it's a good goal, but that wasn't what it was about at all! It never says anything like that! Well, I don't even remember the word diversity being in the vocabulary then, you know. But basically it's because it was based on the fact that these black kids were being denied their constitutional right to an equal education, that was the purpose, an equal education! That's what we're claiming now that they haven't gotten. But in the course of it and there's something we quote, the decision that when they said, there's no such thing as separate and equal, but unequal in effect because the very fact of segregation puts a badge of inferiority on black students. We were arguing in the court just a few years ago that the very fact of saying that you can only have white majority schools 29:00and blacks can't be in the majority anywhere, that puts a badge of inferiority. We said they're doing the same thing in a different way, so that's why we're quoting the decision. When you read the decision, you realize that what it's also saying is that what is white is better, and that was the inherent notion of it, you see. Blacks weren't getting an equal education and they would if they were in the white schools. It was true that most of the black schools had very inferior physical facilities. Now some didn't! I was talking to somebody in the last few years that grew up in North Carolina where their school was better than the white one physically. So that wasn't true everywhere, but generally it was true. I mean blacks got hand me down books and all that kind of thing, so that was true for the physical things. But when you look into it and the kind of 30:00experience I had at Virginia Avenue, I know people who've talked about their experiences in these segregated schools in recent years now grown or middle aged, that there was definitely a more caring atmosphere in those schools for the students. Now that's probably not true everywhere, but I think it was general that white schools didn't have it! AB: . . . These schools had something to give each other, you know, we might have had a different situation. 'Course, that's Monday morning quarterbacking forty years later, but. TK: It's interesting in Louisville because when you look at, especially the high schools, it is documented and admitted by the school board at the time, that the level of 31:00education of black teachers was higher than white teachers. On average there were more degrees, more advanced degrees. AB: At that time, uh-huh. TK: But that's a very urban phenomenon. That wouldn't be true if you went into rural schools. AB: No, that's true. Well, that's the sort of educational level, but also I think the atmosphere and maybe because there was that sense of community in the black community. It really is that it takes a village to raise a child. I hate to say it, but that there was that attitude of these are all our children. You hear any number of African Americans who are middle-aged now say that's the way they grew up. They knew they had to mind the woman down the street as well as their mother. TK: Oh, I hear that constantly in these interviews. AB: I think that was definitely true and I think it was true in the schools, you see. I was in a meeting back a few years ago and we were talking about the sad situation in schools here and it just kind of stuck with me. T. [unintelligible] Walker, he's the minister out here at Gethsemane, was talking about the sad situation. I 32:00remember him saying what he was worried about was not so much, talking about the black students, not the ones that were exceptional, they were getting into these better schools, they would make it anywhere. There's always a few people, you know, that will. And not even the ones who were maybe way behind because there seemed to be programs trying to help them. It's the ones in the middle, the average students. He said because he thinks back to his own education and that what made him -- I can't remember where he grew up, I don't think it was in Louisville -- push ahead, because he went into the ministry and all this, he's pretty well-educated. He's sort of a scholar. He teaches out at the Presbyterian Seminary, I think, maybe the Baptist Seminary, I don't know. But there was always some teacher that was telling him that, "You can do this if you want to and I really believe in you and you can do it." He said, "What bothers me is nobody is saying that to our children now!" Now maybe some schools are, but in 33:00general that's just not there and I think it was there then. I think it was something that the black schools had that nobody was thinking about. So now, you know, you look at what happened and you hear all this about how desegregation has failed. I really would like to see a study. I don't whether there's been a book in recent years, there must be somebody working on some, just a whole study of all over the South. I know the Southern Regional Council has kept up with those things but I don't think they've done a book recently. They've tried to follow it and it varies from place to place. TK: Actually in academic history circles, there's been a number of books re-evaluating school integration and talking about school integration lately. I haven't kept up with that reading as much as I should, I have to admit. AB: I'd like to find out more, like I really don't know even what's happening in Anniston where I grew up that much. I know that they closed the black high school, they only have one high school, but 34:00there again they have a private academy where the more upper class whites go. So that's happened a lot of places. TK: I was thinking that I wanted to try to, I was just looking at my watch, thinking if you want to get through the fifties. I wanted to ask some sort of general questions about the fifties before we move on to the early sixties. One question I had, just in general from that time period when you look back on Louisville, again in the fifties, what would you say were the important groups and individuals who were active at that time who were doing civil rights stuff? AB: Fifties? TK: In the fifties, yeah, I mean just to wrap up the fifties before we move on. AB: Well, I think the NAACP, although I don't remember exactly what it was doing the whole time. Because, you know, after '54, the whole case did absorb us and then we got so isolated and we couldn't really be active in things here because people were scared of us. Perdue wasn't, I mean he was always absolutely outspoken in supporting anything we did. I guess that 35:00thing that you were talking about, Shuttlesworth came down and I don't even remember that but I guess we probably were major part of organizing that with them. And they would do things like that, who'd you say? TK: Perdue, Hughlett, Tucker. AB: Yeah, well, they were the ones we sort of continued to work with. They were never afraid. They all went on, I think they all joined the SCEF board at some point. And Eubank Tucker, he was a maverick. See he was one of our lawyers, nothing ever scared him. His wife of course was later elected to the legislature. TK: Yeah, what's her first name? Amelia. AB: Amelia, uh-huh. She only served one term and I can't think what happened. TK: I'm actually interviewing Neville Tucker in August. AB: Are you? TK: Yeah. AB: 'Course, he was, I don't remember him then, but he was a major player in the sixties and got run out of town. No doubt about it. I mean they framed him on tax charges, but they really wanted to get rid of him because he got elected police judge. First 36:00time we'd had anybody on the bench of the police court that was treating people like human beings. He was a good judge. He was lawyer that was handling so many of the cases with Dan Taylor and Bob Delahanty, but that was sixties. In the fifties [C. Eubank] Tucker stayed active and stayed in touch with us. I'm trying to think what else was around. Well, there was that Council on Human Relations that Mansir Tydings had, which we were never involved in because he was scared of us. I'm not sure we would have been anyway, we might have. I don't know what else, what else. I can't think what else there was! Have you run across anything else? TK: Not any major groups, because like the Militant Church Movement just is the spearhead of that time. AB: I think after Olden died that that pretty much disappeared as an entity. Although Perdue had been pretty key to it, I don't think he tried to keep it. And he had his own church as a base. TK: Tucker had this thing called the Kentucky Bureau of Negro Affairs, but it seems to been just him. AB: Yeah, that's the kind of thing he'd do. He was a rugged 37:00individualist. TK: So it does seem, when you read the Defender, the Defender was a pretty NAACP- leaning paper at that time. So it heavily records what they're doing. It's hard to know, does that mean there isn't anyone else? AB: I just don't remember other things. There could have been but I don't think so because you didn't have a youth movement. Now they had a NAACP Youth Council, we'll come back to that in a minute, which really wasn't visible that much until the demonstrations at the Brown Theater. It had been around before that, but I don't know exactly that they were particularly out in the community active. So I don't know of any youth groups in the black or white community that were dealing with this. TK: When did CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] get here? AB: That was after the sit-ins started nationally. TK: Oh, okay. So after February 1960. AB: Yeah, Len Holt came, he was a friend of ours and he was working for CORE. They never had a big membership here but they became kind of visible because they did the first sit-ins here. But that would have been in '61, I think. Now, wait a 38:00minute, '61, no by '61, '61 was when the big demonstration happened. Well, it was before that, it would have been, sit-ins started in '60, it was probably that summer or fall that he came here. It may have been, that's interesting, I don't know. TK: And how did you know him? AB: Len Holt? TK: Yeah. AB: He was a lawyer in Norfolk. He had two law partners and they were into everything in Virginia. But he left there. He was traveling around and some way got linked up with CORE. He was just linking up with who ever he could to get something done. 39:00He also really brought the Lawyers' Guild into the South. He was responsible for that. TK: I think he has a book. Doesn't he have a book? AB: Well, he wrote a book, he wrote a couple of books. He wrote a book about the Freedom Summer, "The Summer that Never Ended," [The Summer That Didn't End] or that won't end or something like that, very soon after the '64 summer. I'm trying to think what the other one was. But nothing that, it's not anything that really tells his history, I don't think. It's about other things, I think. TK: I saw him listed in a bibliography. AB: I can't think what that other book is. I don't know whether he just came here or whether we knew him before he came here. He stayed at our house when he came, I know that, but everybody else did, too, beginning to end. 'Course, things like that were just beginning then. But I can remember him being there and trying to get CORE started here and I guess we put him in touch with Perdue and them, and Tucker began to be a part of CORE. See, Tucker, 40:00I don't think ever got along with the NAACP, so he was just looking for something else to link to. And some way Beverly Neal got involved in CORE and then some white kids, you see, the ones we've talked about before, Lynn Pfuhl and . . . TK: Birdie McHugh. AB: Birdie McHugh, and this guy, K.D. Kerr, you never did find him, did you? TK: No. AB: He would love to talk. He was such a talkative guy and I just wonder where he is. TK: I had the impression he was a little older, though. AB: He was a little older. TK: They were high school and he was older. AB: Yeah they were high school. He was older, but they were all in CORE. Dr. George Kimbrough, who had his office right down the street here, was in it. So it was mixed ages. They began, I think, probably because the NAACP wasn't picking up much on the sit-ins here. They were happening all over by that time. You had this whole thing going on. I think they formed it to have an action group. They began to have some sit-ins and all that kind of stuff and began the small sit-ins that led to the whole explosion in February of '61. But Raoul Cunningham, who you've talked to right? TK: Yeah. AB: Told me recently, I 41:00don't remember this and I'm not sure about his memory being right, but he said he was with the NAACP Youth Council, sort of grew up in it or joined it when he was fourteen and that was in the mid-fifties sometime. Maybe he was head of it. Then Beverly, he said, was chair of CORE. She may have been, but I can't remember how she really got involved because she was Sterling's daughter and Sterling was inactive by then. But Raoul says that he and Beverly got together. There was all kinds of jealousies with the NAACP, didn't want to deal with CORE. Also apparently the adult NAACP weren't anxious for the youth do anything much. He and Beverly got together and linked up the NAACP Youth Council and CORE. I'm sure that was after the first sort of visible thing they did, that picket at the 42:00Brown Theater. TK: Yeah, that was the Youth Council. AB: I mean that was the Youth Council. Wasn't any CORE then, that was '59. TK: Right, yeah. AB: So that was before. Well, the Unitarians had a social action committee and that was where the whites came from. Well, that picture we have of that picket line has Henry Wallace in it. Henry was always out wherever anything was going on, and Carla with him, the little girl in the picture. I don't think they're in that picture I have, but there were a number of white Unitarians came out and joined that thing. It was called the Social Action Committee or something of the Unitarian Church. TK: That's the Porgy and Bess demonstration? AB: Yeah. TK: Okay. AB: Maybe they did some other things. I know they did some other things, but maybe there's some other visible things, too. That's the only thing I remember and it got more publicity. So that was an active group in the Unitarian Church, which is interesting. The Unitarian Church was always kind of a place where you could meet when other places wouldn't let you meet and all that kind of stuff. George Kimbrough, I think, probably got into CORE and that kind of 43:00thing because he was a Unitarian and he went to the church and he was in that group. That's probably how he got into CORE and that's probably how we met him. We got to be real good friends. He was our doctor. TK: Now when these groups are forming, what's your relationship to them or what are you doing at this time? AB: Usually helping the -- in the background. TK: Because of your status in town? AB: Well, not only that, and nationally because I remember that Jim Farmer was scared to death that we would get involved in Louisville CORE. In fact, he wrote letters about it to people here. That's Jim Farmer. I saw him in recent years. He's conveniently forgotten that, I'm sure. I saw him some years before he died at something, but I never knew him well. But he was worried about it. Though the people who really formed the nucleus of CORE here were pretty good 44:00friends of ours, like Tucker and Hughlett and Perdue. But he was worried it would cause them bad national publicity if we were involved. I don't think I ever went to a CORE meeting. I tell you who was active in CORE was Andrew Wade. He went to some of those early meetings. I think it's the last thing he did like that, and I don't know exactly what happened that he didn't keep on. He wasn't around particularly when the big sit-ins started, but in those early meetings he was there and he was a part of it, I'm sure of that. TK: That's interesting. AB: So we would just do things in the background. I guess probably Len Holt may have come here and looked us up because people knew our name by then. By that time of course we were working with SCEF. But we wouldn't have met him anywhere else. I think he was beginning to travel around with CORE and the best I, he might remember and I got to write him sometime soon, but I think he probably just came 45:00here and looked us up. I remember he stayed at our house because I remember him being around when Beth was a baby. I remember he was there when I was feeding Beth. She was real little so it may have been in that summer. She had just been born in February, so it was probably that summer. I don't know how else it would have happened, that we put him touch with Perdue and Hughlett and the people that we knew and that we could work with. He got the nucleus of a CORE chapter started here, and maybe had some training sessions for sit-ins or something like that, which he had learned to do. He was a lawyer, but he was much more of a direct action person. He believed in using the courts for action kind of things. He would teach people how to file their own lawsuits and all stuff like that. He had real confrontations in Virginia with the equivalent of the Virginia Un-American Activities Committee. They called it something else, but raided their offices and took all their files and stuff, so he had a lot of battles. But anyway that's how I think the little CORE chapter started. Of course, they really generated -- they were the ones, although Raoul said it was the NAACP and 46:00I guess the NAACP people were with them, that were doing the sit-ins for almost a year. No, not quite, but for months before the thing exploded, after they were foolish enough to arrest somebody, basically what's happened. And the next day, there were more and the next day there were more and the next there were more. It was a real mess. But it was that little group that started, it was the CORE group. We just would help in the background because the Red baiting was still a major thing. It continued a long time after that, too. There was some Red baiting of the sit-ins when they started. I can remember Sterling Neal being by our house. He'd come by every once and a while, because he lived right near there. 'Course, Beverly by that time was sort of a leader of it, and he said something about they were accusing him of being Communist again. He said, "Yeah, but I don't think that's going to go this time." It didn't, you know, it didn't 47:00really have that much effect on that movement. TK: So the demonstrations themselves were mostly young people though, right? AB: Oh yeah, by the time it got to mass proportions. When they were doing the little ones down there all those months, they'd go down every Saturday I think, it was both. I was trying to remember that. I remember it as being Kaufman's, which was the department store that's long closed up there north of Muhammad Ali, north of Walnut. Yet I'd see where it was Stewart's. They were demonstrating at both places. The day they got arrested the first time was Stewart's at the tearoom. That was every Saturday and that was kind of mixed in ages. I think, you know, Tucker would go. I think George Kimbrough went. He wasn't real old then, but he's more my age. 48:00K.D. was younger, I mean older. So it was a mixture. But then when they arrested the people and the next day twice as many people came and it just sort of quadrupled. That was really Central High School students is what it was. And I guess some black students from Male. It was entirely black except for Birdie and Lynn Pfuhl, as far as I know. TK: But I've heard it's mostly a youth movement and its mostly black, unlike open housing which is more mixed in age. AB: Which was mixed in age, yeah. But the older people did form a committee to support them, you know. I never was involved in that because those people didn't want to, were afraid of us. You've got to understand a lot of those people were very friendly to us, but it was just you stay away and you'll help us by staying away sort of thing. But they raised money. That bondsman, Benboe, got everybody out of jail, but I guess they paid him something and I suppose they had lawyers. But anyway, they raised money. Then they organized the boycott of downtown, which 49:00obviously that made more difference than it would now because people shop other places. It was pretty effective. So the older people came around and supported them. Apparently it was pretty good, I think it was pretty solid support, really. TK: That's the area that I have the best interview stuff on. People really remember the sit-ins. Other stuff is a little fuzzy, but those incidents, especially those kids, well, kids right, they're middle-aged now, but people who were teenagers at the time, it's amazing . . . AB: Oh yeah, they look back on it as the turning point in their lives for them, sort of the golden moment. TK: Yeah, yeah. The stories are really crystal clear and also so uniform that they must be accurate because everybody remembers the same couple of things, so. One thing that I really want to ask you about starts in the early sixties but goes on is the West End Community Council. When I read about them it just really interested me. AB: Yeah, I spent a lot of time on that. But I don't remember exactly what year it started. TK: '63 or 4 is what I have. AB: Well, I thought 50:00it was a little earlier than that. TK: It could be because the paper picks up and it's already there, so. Do you remember how it got started? AB: Oh yeah, I started it! But I don't remember what year and I know I was trying to remember when that guy did that story about me at the time of my birthday. I don't know whether you ever saw it. Last year they had a big story in the paper. TK: I saw it at the time and I can easily go back and find it. AB: But he wanted to get that date. He was doing sort of a timeline thing. And I said, "Well, nobody's going to remember." I said, "Just go on and say it was '62 or whatever." He said, "Well, you don't know, somebody will and they'll call up!" So I remember I called the guy at the Lincoln Foundation, he just retired. TK: Sam Robinson. AB: Sam Robinson, who was active in it. And he racked his brain, we figured out when 51:00he came to Louisville, because he got active in it right away. We never did establish, I think it was before '63. Yes, I know it was because Carl went to prison in '61 on the HUAC case and was prison until about February or March of '62. I think that some of that was going on then. I don't know. I really could rack my brain and relate it to some other things and figure that out. Anyway it was early sixties, it was very early sixties. What had happened was, this goes back, of course, to the fifties, to the late fifties. See, that neighborhood, the West End was beginning to change from white to black. It was always checkerboard. The blocks around us were. Forty-fifth Street was the dividing 52:00line and it was black up to the Parkway. You know, the black doctors and lawyers lived on Western Parkway, some of them still do. Then our block on up to Cecil and on up to Thirty-sixth Street or the cemetery there. The expressway wasn't there then that got built later and split the neighborhood. But there was black and all that. But the real estate people began to really push, and did a lot of scare selling, so that it was changing very quickly. I don't remember exactly what year that started. Well, it was somewhat gradual, but it happened in a few years. In the late fifties, Broadway was like a magical line. Blacks couldn't live north of Broadway until you got down to Twenty-eighth Street, which was the dividing line, always had been the dividing line, or Thirtieth, mostly Twenty-eighth. South of Broadway they were doing what they always did. They were 53:00going and saying "This block is going to be mostly black, you better sell your house now or you won't have any value" and all that, and they were making a killing. So we thought about it a lot at the time. By that time we were in and out of town some because of SCEF, and what could we do about it? I knew about these movements or organizations in other places that had campaigns to try to keep areas integrated. In fact, I was in pretty close touch with a guy who had worked a lot in Washington. I don't know whether he's still living, Marvin Kaplan, he may not be. He later became head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, that coalition there. He and his wife had worked real hard on an effort like that in Washington, which I think probably ultimately failed because most of them did in most places I know of. Here, this was the only place blacks 54:00could go, so every time we could persuade a white to stay, that was another house that blacks couldn't have, so that was always sort of a contradiction. We weren't really doing anything then in the late fifties because we couldn't. I remember vividly seeing what was happening. Our block changed to all black pretty soon. I'm trying to remember what year the people moved next door to us, the woman's still living there. They were the first black family that moved in and she would remember when she came there, but it was somewhere in the fifties, like '57, '58, '59 in there sometime. Talk about property values! We had bought our house in the early fifties, us and the bank, for I think seventy-eight hundred dollars or something. The houses are exactly alike on that whole block. They were built right after the war, same plan, you know, little four room houses. We added on to ours and made the attic and stuff. They paid about eleven thousand dollars for theirs right next door just a few years later and things 55:00hadn't gone up that much. So people were buying these houses, scaring people, buying the houses cheap and then selling them at inflated prices to blacks. It was going on all over. The real estate people were making a killing because they were buying and selling the houses in the West End. They were selling houses, mostly out in southwest Jefferson County, to the whites, who were often older people who had their houses all paid for here in the West End, who got scared and sold and moved out there. So they have a whole new market to sell to, see! It was kind of ironic I remember then after a few years later when we had a flood, before the flood wall was extended further out, that all those people who had moved out of the West End -- we were high and dry behind the flood wall and they all got flooded out in southwest Jefferson County! [Laughter] TK: Could have been the '64 flood, yeah. AB: It may have been. Yeah, that's about when it was because I remember that water was kind of coming up in our yard. The flood wall was there. What they did they turned, they had pumping stations, they turned the pumping stations on backwards or something and we had some water in the yard but we weren't really flooded. TK: OOPS! AB: But anyway I knew I 56:00couldn't do anything! I mean, you can't really grasp how scared people were of us! I remember calling -- I wish I remembered who they were --a number of ministers, white ministers. There were still a lot of white churches in the West End. Of course eventually all of them moved, too, or like the church I go to stayed but became a black church mostly, which I'm glad it stayed. Calling them and just talking to them, I mean they knew who I was. I said, "Here's what's happening and I can't do anything about it but you can! Why don't you call a meeting and see if we can't keep this an integrated area," you know. Couldn't get a soul to do anything. They said, "Well, you know, these things are very difficult. It's just hard to talk to people about this." Nobody would do anything. I must have talked to three or four ministers I know that I thought might be receptive, who seemed like pretty good people! I wish I could remember 57:00who they were but I blocked it out of my mind. So then somewhere along in the very early sixties they began the same process north of Broadway. By that time I was just getting a little, I'm not going to sit here and let this happen this time! Nobody else is going to do anything! So I went to see Gladys Carter at the YWCA. Have you ever met her? TK: No. AB: She's still around, I think. She's very old by now, I guess, but I think she's still living. She was director of the Y and she had a lot of good programs going. Now it's the Center for Women and Children there at Forty-third and Broadway. It's the West End Y. It was the Phillis Wheatley Y. TK: Oh, okay. AB: It was on Sixth Street when I first came here because I can remember meeting Mrs. Meeks there. Somebody told me to look her up and I was trying to get her in the Progressive Party. Then I got to know her real well at Virginia Avenue later, but that was when the Y was on Sixth 58:00Street. At some point they moved to the West End. She [Carter] had a nursery school and my children had gone there some for children activities so I knew her somewhat. So I went to see her. I said, "Look, Mrs. Carter, here's what's happening, you can see what's happening." I said we ought to do something about it and she agreed. So she said, "Well, let's have a meeting." We called a meeting there at the Y. I can't remember who all was at the first meeting. I don't remember it blow by blow, but we got a nucleus of people who began to come and decided to form the West End Community Council. Whether we did that at the first meeting, I don't know. And met there at the Y for the purpose of basically trying to keep the West End integrated. Our position was that we wanted to welcome blacks into these new neighborhoods and stay and build them together. That's what we did. Actually the West End Community sparked the open housing movement basically, but that came later, which would have been in what, '67 or 59:00began I guess in . . . TK: '66. AB: Began in '66, so along in there it shifted to doing that and then by that time we had lost the battle really in the West End. The West End Community Council became more of an action organization trying to help solve problems in the West End, I'll come back to that later. But for those years that's what we were doing and especially until maybe '65. We would go out door to door talking to people. We had a bunch of people. Dr. Kimbrough was active in it. I'm trying to think who else that might still be around. I can't think of some people. We had maybe ten, twenty, sometimes twenty-five people at a meeting. We put out literature, which I may still have, I know its in Wisconsin, but I may still have it with me. Somebody drew us a piece of artwork. It was a little boy sitting down looking stubborn and saying, "Well, 60:00I'm not moving!" I wrote it. It's a little four-page folder about what we wanted to do in the West End. Maybe I can find that somewhere. It's probably in stuff, I'll tell you where it is, it's probably, a lot of those early West End Community Council were given to U of L archives. I didn't send them to Wisconsin. TK: Really! AB: Yeah at some point, and I think Father Charles Tachau who became director of it and we got to the stage of having staff at one point, I think we sent stuff out there. I think I just decided not to send all that stuff to Wisconsin because it was a lot of local stuff. So it may be there or I may still even have one of those somewhere, I don't know. If I come across it, I'll give it to you. TK: Fred Hicks gave me a box of West End Community Council stuff, I just haven't opened it yet. AB: Well, his wife Judy, got very active in it. But they didn't come until '66. She was active more in the later stages of it. So I don't know whether he'd have that early stuff or not. I think we had a little brochure telling what the community council was, but we had that little "I'm not moving" that said why we were staying and all that. We would take that and we'd go out and we wanted to get people to put up signs, that had been done a lot of places, "This House is Not for Sale!" We did on some blocks over north 61:00of Broadway and some south of Broadway! We had a good bit of support over in that little enclave between Western Parkway and the river. It's still a really nice area over there, Riverview and Forty-seventh Street. TK: Yeah. AB: You about to run out of tape? TK: I just put a new one in. AB: Oh, I thought you were about to run out in general. TK: No. AB: Yeah, Norma Shobe was chair at one point, but that was a little later, and she lived down there. There was a bunch of white people lived in there then. Harvey Webster, he was very active. He died after he moved to Texas, but he was a professor at U of L. He lived on 62:00Forty-seventh Street, him and his wife. They were real nice and they were active in the community council when they lived down there. And the Furlongs! Well, no, not so much, but they still live there. Tom Furlong, I think, has died, but Mrs. Furlong is still alive. And Laura Furlong was in high school then and she got active in some of the cultural stuff that we were doing that I'll tell you about in a minute. She's still living down there and she's married to this Mexican, they've got this really good . . . TK: I eat there all the time, Mayan Gypsy. AB: Yeah, that's her restaurant, yeah. I think she and her husband still live there in an apartment in her mother's house or something. I was never an officer. See, I was still staying in the background, but I did a lot of the paperwork. It was a woman, I believe was the first co-chair. We always had co-chairs, black and white. There was a white minister, but I don't remember his 63:00name who had the Lutheran, I think it's a Lutheran Church over here on River Park. He was a minister. We had several ministers actually. Tom Moffett when he came here, but that wasn't until '66 when he got into it. We always had some ministers, white as well as black. There was this white minister who was the first co-chair. There was a guy named Ken Phillips for awhile. He moved away but he was chair for a while. Then Norma Shobe at one point was chair, or co-chair, and she got real active, gave a lot of time to it. [short pause] Oh, and Sam Robinson was chair for a while. He joined at one point. He told me when I ran into him at this One Louisville thing up at Spalding [University]. We were talking afterwards, some way we got to talking about the West End Community Council and he was saying that a lot of people asked him, "Why are you 64:00associating with people like the Bradens" when he first came here. He lived down here on Forty-fourth Street and he got very active in it and then he went on to other things. Anyway, that's the main thing we were doing in the beginning. I think we certainly didn't stop the white flight north of Broadway. I think we slowed it in some places, but we got a lot of that propaganda out and got a lot of people involved. Then the Catholic sisters got involved in it and they had that convent at Forty-fifth and Broadway. You've probably ridden by that big mansion, it's now a gospel church or something where they just had a big meeting on the faith-based ministries thing. I'll never forget the first night they walked into the Y and just sat down at the meeting and they were still wearing their habits! I had never known any Catholic nuns in my life because there weren't many in Alabama where I grew up, weren't many Catholics and there weren't any nuns in my town. We had a little Catholic church, one of my friends was Catholic but I had never known any Catholic nuns. They were wonderful. They 65:00got so active. They would go out with us door to door. They were all white. I got to be real good friends with several of them. While all this was going on, they came out of their habits, you see, and had this great revolution, changed their name some of them and everything, which I regretted in some ways. We were going to City Hall about different things, I'll come to in a minute, and I said, "You know you all look like everybody else. It was impressive when we could take you down there looking like nuns!" [Laughter] But there was this, now she's still here. I've had some disagreements with her lately, Rose Colley (?), who runs Just Solutions. TK: I interviewed her. AB: Did you? TK: Yeah. AB: Did she tell you anything about the West End Community Council? TK: She remembered a little bit, not very much. AB: Really? Well, she's done so many things since. But did she tell you about her . . .? TK: Standing up for you at a meeting? AB: 66:00Yeah, did she tell you about that? TK: Yeah. AB: She may remember that because I told the story in recent years. She may not have remembered that. That was after, her name was Sister John Martin when she was in her habit and then she changed to Rose Colley. I think this all happened maybe while she was still Sister John Martin. You see, that was after we began to get poverty money. We were probably the first group in Louisville that got some poverty money. Because when the poverty program was passed in Congress, which would have been what, about '65, I guess, I think. Or it could have been '64. The Civil Rights Act was '64. The Voting Rights Act was '65. I think poverty, maybe '64. TK: I think it actually passed in '64, but kind of got up and running in '65. AB: There was a guy, I can't remember his name, that was trying to get it started here. He had some connection with the university and he would come to see us. We were about the only organized thing in the West End really, so we were natural to get some of it. We applied for it and we actually got it and had enough money to hire a few people to do some things. I'll tell you who else was active some was Ruth 67:00Bryant, who was later one of the Black Six and all that. She had been active in a lot of things, civil rights stuff. All through that period that's also when that whole Allied Organization for Civil Rights was going on. They were organizing the big march in Frankfort, which we weren't involved in at all. Frank Stanley, Jr., was in it. He was scared to death of us. They didn't know what to do about us. We were busy with other things anyhow. But Ruth was active in that, but she was in the West End Community Council, too, somewhat. Bob Douglas was one of the first people that the community council hired! He was supposed to be an organizer. I don't think Bob ever did much though. I don't think Bob was really an organizer. He was really an artist and scholar, you know how he is. I'm trying to think who else at that point. But anyway we had this money. We hadn't had any money, we were just a volunteer organization. We didn't 68:00need any except we'd collect enough money to put out a little newsletter, which I did on a mimeograph machine, you know, on a typewriter and a mimeograph machine, that's how you did them in those days. I put that together and we got it out, I expect every month, I don't know. We met pretty regularly. I guess it was after we got involved in the poverty program and we didn't really have many contacts out in the housing projects and things they've just now torn down at Park DuValle. But one night, well, I've never told you that story about when they met till midnight trying to decide whether I should resign from the community council? TK: She did. AB: Took up a lot of time. It was really literally midnight. See, these were all my friends, too. Well, they couldn't actually say that I infiltrated the Community Council since I organized it! 69:00Everybody knew that and knew that I did a lot of the work. Not most, we had people who really worked hard. But I did the paperwork, which, as you know, does help hold the organization together. I was doing all the door to door stuff, too! But they were all my good friends, so it was should they do that to keep the poverty money? Whoever was in Congress then, it was probably Gene Snyder, was raising hell, you know, about this poverty money because of me. I can't remember in what form, but it was going on that he was raising hell. Anyway she just sat there quiet all night. Then she finally said that she had just sat and listened and she thought there were other things we ought to be talking about. That if you put Anne Braden out for being a Communist, you can put me out for being a Catholic, so if she leaves, I'm leaving, too. That's what she said and everybody just shut up and it never came up again, never came up again in the West End Community Council! And we kept the poverty money. I mean they just thought about it and we kept it. So it shows you didn't have to give in to that 70:00sort of thing. I think she probably would have forgotten that, but when Loretto sisters gave me their award one year --they give an award, their Mary Rhodes Award or something. It's the first award I ever got. It was before other people began giving me awards. It was back in the eighties and they had the ceremony down at Loretto and I went down. Delores Delahanty was getting one at the same time. I remember we rode down together and I told that about her there and I think I told it other places. She remembers it now, but it was important in my life. It was really pretty courageous of her. I like her a lot and I've run into her through the years. She's a great person. But anyway, there were others and they were all very active. Then after we got the poverty money, I guess we began trying to make some contacts in the project areas or something. I'll never forget the night that some of these people from the projects, one of them was named Rose Calvin, I think she's died, I'm not sure. There were some others. TK: 71:00I've heard that she'd died, yeah. AB: Has she died? TK: Yeah. AB: There was another woman who became quite a leader here later, she was just a woman living in the projects then and I keep forgetting her name, but it will come to me. Anyway, there was a bunch of women who came wanting our help because they had so many problems in the Cotter homes and Lang homes, which was right across the street, across Thirty-fourth Street. Nobody would pay them any attention. The people, if you went down to City Hall or you'd call or anything, they treated you like dirt because you lived in a project. I remember Rose Calvin, because she became quite a leader. I remember she was really crying that night when she was talking about it. So we got very involved. This was a departure from what we were doing, you know, in supporting them. They organized some sort of a neighborhood association, I forget what it was called, and became very vocal. They were at City Hall half the time and we would support them, you see. By then the sisters were out of their habits. They really began to get attention and I think really ultimately got that health clinic among other things! Some of them 72:00got jobs with the poverty program. I think the poverty program has been much maligned, too maligned by the right wingers because it did give some people a start from our point of view then. We were also, SCEF was dealing with it in Appalachia, too. It was also a system of controlling people, and in a lot of places the money went to what Al McSurely used to call the courthouse gangs and it really didn't help the people much, which was true, it became a racket in some ways. But I think about that neighborhood. It really did give some people a chance to develop some organizing skills, and give them some confidence, give them a framework to work in and gave a few people jobs to do it and they had an effect in a place like Park DuValle, there's no doubt about it. That's when that neighborhood began to organize. So the West End Community Council played a supporting role. Gradually we had lost the battle, really. We never sat down and 73:00had a postmortem and say "Well, we're really not going to keep the West End integrated.' We never said that, it just become pretty evident and we had been advocating for an open housing ordinance from the very beginning, maybe in that first brochure, probably was. But by that time we had gotten also in addition to the poverty money, we got a fairly substantial grant, maybe like ten thousand dollars, which doesn't sound like a lot, but it was a lot to us then, from the Episcopal Church. See, the churches nationally, this was national Episcopal Church, were giving money to community things. In the ferment of the sixties, developed a conscience or something. Anyway, it became more accentuated later after the urban, we call them uprisings, they call them riots. Later in the sixties, they began pouring all kinds of money in, but even then they were beginning to do that. Jim Foreman, you probably know about that, had that whole challenge. TK: Yeah. AB: What'd they call it? The Black Manifesto. TK: Black 74:00Manifesto, right. AB: To the churches, which really shook a lot of money loose. He never got any of it, other people got it. It was really ironic! I went to his seventieth birthday party they had Washington last year. And this woman who is now with, well, in the Commission for Racial Justice that Ben Chavis used to do at the United Church, was talking about how she remembers Jim then, that's the way she likes to remember him. He's gotten very mild and sort of mellowed with age now and he was very fiery then. But how he never got any of that money, but other people got it! [Laughter] The churches were already doing some of that. So we got a grant from the Episcopal Church and we had enough to hire somebody. Oh, I remember the woman who was chair then and I've often wondered what happened to her, she was a wonderful woman. She was a white woman, she was Catholic. We had a lot of Catholics because there was so much Catholic strength down here. She had ten children, I remember she always told me she had ten children. She would come around. Some way she found time to do all this work as a volunteer. I remember when we got that first grant she was so pleased. She said to me she was trying to keep this thing going and now we were going to have a little money to hire somebody. So we hired Hulbert [James] who had come here from New York and 75:00had a wonderful wife. She never was that active. She was a very talented actress and she did some things at Actors Theatre, which was in its earlier years then. She played the lead role in White America, you know that play? TK: I've heard of it actually, yeah. AB: She played a major role in it. She was a very talented actress. I don't even know where we met him, but he was around. I'm not sure how he got to Louisville, but he was from New York, I'm pretty sure. So he became the director when we had a little money. I think Hulbert talked to these other groups. By that time A.D. King was here, you see, at Zion, and the NAACP, I 76:00forget who was head of then. TK: Hodge. AB: Hodge. So Hulbert was really the spark plug on getting them together to work on the open housing issue, which led to the open housing movement. There was a steering committee. I never went to any of those things either. TK: Oh, you didn't? AB: I didn't go to the meetings. I went to the demonstrations. Carl never did. Hulbert talked about that. I was seen as a little bit less dangerous than Carl, which was probably a sexist thing. By that time the SCEF office had opened and had moved here next door. So our house was becoming a center of a lot of activity. One reason we got this building was to catch the overflow. I remember at the memorial service they had in New York for Carl, Hulbert was one of the people who spoke. Somebody had talked from the South, Modjeska Simpson I guess, talked about how Carl and Anne Braden had been sort of inseparable, you always thought of them together. And then Hulbert said, "In Louisville, they weren't inseparable." He remembered how I'd be out marching with them, but Carl would be there running the leaflets up until seven o'clock so we'd have them to take with us or run them on the printing press. He didn't go because it would cause too much trouble in the movement and stuff like that. So I never went to any of the meetings I don't 77:00think, of the steering committee or whatever it was of the open housing movement. SCEF supported it. We were just a little bit on the fringes like we were on everything, but doing a lot of the work! The West End Community Council was their office. By that time the West End Community Council had a little office down in the building, I guess because Vernon Robertson had appeared on the scene, you know who he was. Did you ever interview him before he died? TK: No, no, he died before I started working on this. AB: Oh, really. He was an interesting guy. He was a Catholic priest, but he had been in the Episcopal Church before. In fact he had a part in reviving St. George's that I go to after they decided to stay in the West End. But he became a Catholic priest and he was a wonderful guy. I liked him. I lost touch with him in those last years and I 78:00should have kept in touch. He was very conservative theologically, but he was pretty radical in his politics and everything. He wasn't scared to associate with us, which determined what we could do in those days. To me, looking back on it, it's kind of a litmus test now. [Laughter] I can tell you whether people had any courage or not, you know. He bought this house down at Forty-fourth and Broadway. It's not on the corner, it's next to the corner there, and moved there. He supported the West End Community Council. I can't remember whether he really came to the meetings but he was very supportive. He had money for one thing. But he wasn't just giving us money, he was supportive in a lot of ways. He wanted to get more white people into the West End, so he bought this house. He would have gatherings there. He tried to get sort of discussion groups going every Sunday night. I went some, but you know people didn't keep coming. He had good food. He finally sold the house just not too many years before he died. He died just a few years ago. I guess maybe it's been more years than I think, but it hadn't been many years, Tracy. I'm surprised it was before you started on this. Actually, he didn't live there for some of those years. He let other 79:00people live there. There was a guy named Tony Hasson, who's still around. Tony was one of the people who was very frightened of me and the West End Community Council. He's been so contrite in recent years and I get tired of hearing these people explain about. But he got active in FOR a few years ago and he came around here and in fact I encouraged him to get active in the Alliance. He came to one or two meetings. He lives out somewhere in Shively. I think he's in the phone book; it's either Anthony or Tony Hasson, H-A-S-S-O-N. He was a very 80:00intense guy and he got very interested in the Park DuValle thing, sort of a missionary spirit. He wanted to work there and do things, but he was scared of me. Oh, I'll tell you who was active in the West End Community Council, who was scared to death, although we were always friendly on the surface, was Norbert Logsdon and his wife. TK: I interviewed him. AB: They still live in the West End. I'm surprised how many white people still live in the West End really, sometimes. I ran into him walking around the track where I walk every day when I can, and we talked. She's been doing a lot trying to bring blacks and whites together. She's active in Christ the King Church and it was written up in the paper a lot last year. TK: Yeah, I remember seeing the picture. AB: She got the woman who had left down there, Rochelle Riley and she got to be friends and she wrote up this thing she was doing there. I went down to one of their things, they had several of them. It made quite a story. She tells about how she jumped on little Kevin Cosby. When he was little he pulled up her flowers or something 81:00like that, he lived down there. So they're still there. I don't whether he told me or maybe Tony Hasson told me, that actually somebody in the Catholic Church told them to join the West End Community Council really to keep an eye on me and what I was doing. TK: Really! AB: Because I was an evil influence or something I don't know. But they actually got active and did some work so it didn't matter. So he lived at Fontaine House, Vernon called this house. TK: Is that what Vernon called it? AB: Fontaine House, yeah, Fontaine House and it's the second house from the corner beyond Forty-fourth Street as you go down from here on the right, kind of across the street from the convent right before you get to the convent. Big house, beautiful house and he lived there. He kind of opened it up. We began to meet there some instead of at the Y. We'd still meet at the Y some, but we met there some. He lived there a year and it was kind of an open place 82:00where you could have meetings. Then he left to go live somewhere else and a guy, Joe Wise, who's a folk singer. He and his wife -- I think he studied for the priesthood and she was a nun and they left and got married or something -- moved in there. They were great musicians and did a lot of stuff for us. Every once in a while I read something about him. He still does kind of religious folk music. TK: Yeah, the name sounds familiar, yeah. AB: But it was different then because they had just got married. They didn't want a lot of people around and stuff, so it became less that way. Then finally it was after that Vernon moved back in. Or maybe he hadn't really lived there before. He moved in and really lived there and he would have people over and that kind of thing. He also bought a house, not a house, a building down here at Thirty-fifth, no its further down than Thirty-fifth, Thirty-seventh and Broadway, which is still there, in fact, I think the Nation of Islam using it as an office now, I believe. He bought that building with the idea of developing a coffeehouse. The big thing was coffeehouses then, you know. We had the coffeehouse movement, which, of course, was a big thing here, too, you know, with the Army at Fort Knox. That was 83:00another thing, you know, there was a lot of support here for the . . . TK: Yeah, George and Jean told me about that. AB: Yeah, the anti-war movement and the army and they all hung out over here at, we printed their paper, you know, on our printing press, The FTA, Food, Travel, Adventure. It really meant Fuck the Army and they were around and stuff. They were all leaving and deserting and going to Canada and all that. TK: Who else told me about that? AB: Who? TK: Somebody else told me about that. AB: That was a little later in the sixties. But he wanted to have a coffeehouse, kind of a cultural center, and they did for a while. They would have things on Friday and Saturday nights. I think it never worked out too well. I think the kind of culture that he was thinking about and the folk music wasn't what really appealed to the young blacks in the West End and that kind of thing, so it didn't quite work out. I think he got real disappointed about that, but he still owned the building. For a while the West End Community Council had 84:00an office there. I think Hulbert was working out of there, and then later it became Four Quarters, which was a black cultural thing. Ron Long, who was a really talented reporter -- the Defender had a lot of life when he was writing for it. He's now in Arizona or somewhere -- He ran this thing called Four Quarters. It was kind of a cultural and action thing in the black community. Vernon may have still owned it then. Vernon stayed there a long time at Fontaine House, but he finally left the West End before he died. When he died, he was a good friend of Pat Delahanty's, they had his funeral and everything, not his funeral, I guess that was at a church, but the wake and all that at A.D. Porter Funeral Home. Everybody in the world was there at Thirteenth and Chestnut. Pat said that one of Vernon's great desires was that he wanted to be buried by A.D. Porter because he said if he couldn't get white people to come to the West End 85:00while he was alive, he'd get them after he was dead. They'd come to his wake. And they did! But that was one of his passions. Hulbert, going back to him and the West End Community Council, I think was working out at that building at Thirty-seventh Street for a while. He really changed the West End Community Councils, I think imperceptibly. As I say, nobody sat down and said okay, we failed to integrate, let's do something else. It just happened. He worked with these other people to spark the open housing movement, because obviously it was a built-in contradiction as long as the only place blacks could go. That was the answer. Hulbert also turned it into an action organization to try to deal with the many problems in the West End, which were being terribly neglected. One thing that was happening is there were fewer whites in the West End. It was getting much less attention from City Hall really! You know, neighborhoods and 86:00streets weren't being cleaned properly. I mean that was one of the main issues out in Park DuValle was they didn't even pick up the trash! We took pictures. I was sort of a photographer then, I didn't keep it up, but I went and took a lot of pictures down there. There was trash just sitting there for weeks! I know Ruth Bryant took them and showed them to some public meeting, public hearing she was going to. It was just things like that. They weren't getting city services. So Hulbert was a real organizer and he really worked with the people there and helped them organize. He also organized the Welfare Rights Organization here and a Tenants' Association, the only time we've had an independent Tenants' Association here. We've got the Tenants' Association, or Tenant's Union and they were organizing in Cotter homes and Lang homes and branching out to some other places, too. Now we have the Tenant Association and I've had good friends work there, but it's a service organization. These were tenant organizations. The welfare rights people here like everywhere were very militant. Some of them are still around. They've, you know, faded into the scenery, too. But they went and occupied the welfare offices and all kinds of stuff here. I don't remember everything, but they, you know, demanded their rights. It's interesting as you 87:00look back on it. When this whole transition welfare to work and the welfare reform and people were objecting to that, which I think was a bad thing. I think some things have come out of it, but some people have really been hurt. I think Kentucky's done better than some places really. I know some things have happened in Mississippi. It was just, the whole things was so phony anyway. [President Bill] Clinton really took up the [President Ronald] Reagan cry to end welfare, which was what, one percent of our budget! You know the whole mythology that built up about the welfare mothers, which I think Clinton bought into as a political expediency. But people wondered, or felt like the welfare mothers themselves ought to be rising up and protesting this. There wasn't much of that 88:00here and I don't think in many places. There were few places where there are welfare rights organization. It's really kind of sad when I look back at the Welfare Rights Organization that was here. It wasn't near as big and powerful here as in some places. There was a spirit there that I think has gradually been destroyed by people that bought into blaming themselves for their problems. Because those women didn't have any doubt that they had rights to live and that they were within their rights when they went and demanded that they get the proper benefits, you know, to raise their children. They just believed that and I think that a lot of people who had to struggle now have bought the myth that it's their fault, and that's really sad. Now maybe those people will get out of it, once somebody gives them a different idea and shows how the system really works. Anyway Hulbert started that, and the West End Community Council. By that 89:00time I was traveling a lot more for SCEF and I was not really active in it in those last years. Judy Hicks began to do the newsletter and did a good job on it, too. She'd put it together. We had a typesetter and stuff, or eventually we had a typesetter at SCEF. She would do it there and she put that out. It continued for several years, I guess, until after, well, Hulbert was basically run out of town. TK: I've read articles about that. AB: Where? I didn't even know it was in print anywhere. TK: In the Courier-Journal, there was an article about him being accused of what, contributing to the delinquency of a minor or something like that? AB: Yeah. It was an article in the Courier-Journal, was it? TK: Yeah, because I haven't read in the Defender up that far, so it must have been the Courier. One of my students interviewed him, but I haven't heard the interview yet. AB: Well, I don't know what he says now, but there's no doubt 90:00that he was. He and his wife finally separated because he was having sort of an affair with this Randi Bledsoe. She's a beautiful young woman. Tom Bledsoe had come here, he's died. I knew him in another connection before that, but they were very active in that student sort of thing. I don't know that the '61 sit-ins, it may have been after that, maybe in open housing possibly. There were a lot of young people in that, white and black, so that's probably where they were active. The picture that I have of them in a demonstration somewhere, I think it was maybe during some demonstrations around the Black Six. Anyway, she was only about fifteen, but she seemed older. He was having some kind of an affair with her or something and her mother got hysterical and so did other people! It was people who should have known better. They pretty much, I can't remember exactly that they just kind of dropped the charges if he'd leave town. 91:00Well, basically they wanted to get rid of him. You know, Louisville's good at running people out! They'd run us out except we had some way to pay the grocery bill from SCEF. I mean, I wished I'd kept records down through the years of people who had been run out of town. 'Course, I guess every town does that, but it seems to be Louisville's been pretty skillful at it. But he was run out of town and eventually, well, I think Charles Tachau, I guess he actually worked as. . . . Did you ever interview him? TK: Oh yeah. AB: Well he, I may not be right on it, but I think he actually worked on the staff of the West End Community Council, too. He became director after Hulbert, I guess was what happened, and he helped get . . . END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B AB: He helped BULK, Black Unity League of Kentucky, get going. Some of the key people in that were people who had come here for SCLC [Southern Christian 92:00Leadership Conference], who sent a bunch of young staff people in around the open housing, and some of them stayed. One of them was Bob Kuyo by then, but his name originally was Bob something else. TK: Sims. AB: Sims, yeah. Well, that's the way he came and he got in and he was one of the founders of BULK. There was a group of them and that was the group that called the demonstration out at Twenty-eighth and Greenwood where there was the explosion over Manfred Reid's arrest. Charles was involved in all that and he was pastor then at St. George's. I never will forget the speech he made when we, now, see, we jumped around so, we're way into the late sixties now, but you. . . . There were a lot of white people trying to be active by then and when the Black Six happened we put together some kind of an ad hoc committee that involved a lot of white people meeting out in white churches in the East End. I remember Charles made this speech about the Black Six issue. They were charged with trying to, or conspiring to, blow up the oil refineries, which was crazy! They wouldn't have 93:00done that because it would have destroyed the West End basically. I remember he got up and talked about [unintelligible] and he said it didn't matter whether these people were guilty or not, that's what he said, which I've got to remind him of that someday! 'Course, that was at the time of the Kerner Report and people were focusing a lot more than they do today, to tell you the truth, on that fact that whatever's wrong is racism, that that's what's causing these things. That was in the air and people were picking it up. I really don't know exactly when the demise of the West End Community Council came, whether it just sort of faded away or whether they ever met and said well, this, you know, has served its purpose and we'll just disband, I don't know. TK: Were you not as 94:00active after a while, because you said you were doing a lot of SCEF stuff? AB: Yeah. I'd see Hulbert a lot and we'd do, but I was away a lot. I was in and out of town and there were a lot of other people active and I just wasn't that needed. You know, I had done a lot of the paperwork and the newsletter. Judy started doing the newsletter and leaflets. I was good at that kind of thing, but we had other people to do it. So I just, I can't even remember going to the meetings a lot in those last years of the later sixties, after, say about '67, after the open housing movement. TK: After open housing. AB: Yeah, although it was quite active for two or three years after that, I'd say. TK: There was a big article in the Courier-Journal even, like half-page, covering this meeting they had in like September '67. AB: What was it about, do you remember? TK: Oh, about whether or not WECC was a Black Power organization. AB: I wasn't there when all that debate was going on, which I think was kind of unnecessary in that 95:00organization really. I don't know how it got started, but it was maybe an important question. I don't quite know how it fit in there; it may have. That's interesting. I'd like to see that article because the West End Community Council never had a lot of publicity in the paper, to tell you the truth. I think it was a lot more important than just looking at the paper would reflect. One thing I meant to tell you we did at least two summers, maybe three, we had a festival in Shawnee Park. TK: There is some articles about the festival. AB: Are there articles about that? TK: There's a couple of pictures from one year. AB: We worked real hard on that, and I did the booklet. We did nice little booklets. I think I still have those booklets. Have you seen the little booklets we did? We'd put out booklets and we trying to build a community spirit and that was when the West End was still pretty mixed. We would have art displays. People would come and show their art. We had crafts and all that kind of stuff, and things for the kids. We had -- Shakespeare in the Park would come down, Doug 96:00Ramey, who was director of Shakespeare in the Park at Central Park. I think two years, maybe more than two. I don't know whether we did it two years or three years. I think about three. He came and put on a play, a Shakespeare play for us. That's where I met Laura Furlong, because she was a dance, had a dance show or something and she was dancing. She was a student at Loretto High School, which was still going. So they were big events, a lot of people came. TK: I want to ask a couple of follow-up questions about things that came up. Were there, I read about some VISTAs that worked for the West End Community Council? AB: That's right. Yeah, we got VISTAs for a while and some of those people stayed and became a part of Louisville. One guy started the, what was his name? He's still around, I think. He started some sort of a West End theater group. TK: Carol Schempp? AB: Yeah, Carol Schempp. Is he still around? TK: Yeah, he's a real estate agent now. AB: Is he? He was doing that theater for a while. Oh, 97:00then Dolores White started this thing. Now she worked with the Council. She started the Pigeon Roost Theater down at the Y up in the Pigeon Roost, up in the top floor of the Y, and put on plays, really good plays. She's very talented. She's still around. She actually directed the St. George Community Center for a while. Had a lot of tragedy in her life. She lost two sons, one of them was killed in an industrial accident and another one in some drug shooting or something. She has a daughter who's named Portia, she named her Portia because of her love for the theater or something, who's been in the theater some, worked in Actors Theatre. There was a guy named, and he came by here recently. I hadn't seen him in years -- Redding. What was his first name? He was a good actor, but he's gone into something else. She kind of developed him. He was sort of a genius. I knew his mother. He went to Virginia Avenue. She was in the PTA and 98:00she was a very poor woman and she had several children who were really geniuses. He went on to some kind of career now. He lives out in the East End. I think I took his address. It's interesting how you keep remembering things, because there was so much ferment in the sixties really and it produced all these other things as spin-offs in a way. One woman who came here as a VISTA later, I think she came as a VISTA. She went to work for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and really did the basic work on that first history book they put out. TK: Really! AB: I worked with her on it and helped her and influenced some of 99:00the things they said in it, I think. [Laughter] I also loaned them some pictures. TK: You mean the paperback book? AB: Yeah but it's a book this size, like notebook. TK: Yeah, I've seen it. AB: It's for use in high schools. TK: Right, it's aimed at a younger audience. AB: Yeah, it's the history of blacks in Kentucky or something like that. I think she did a lot of the work on that. I can't think of her name, but she came here as a VISTA. So people branched out into other things. TK: The other group of people that I wanted to ask about were people who came here to work for SCEF. I know that SCEF was involved with the much earlier stuff, but did SCEF play much role in Louisville itself? AB: Well, it began to. It moved here. The office was in New Orleans when we went to work 100:00on the staff of SCEF, which was '57. It moved here in '66, in January of '66. I remember it very well. The reason being that Jim Dombrowski, who had been director, retired, and the board decided they wanted us to be directors. We didn't want to leave Louisville because there were too many people trying to run us out! I mean, that was just overtly what it was about. So they said it didn't matter where the office was, we could move it here because it was regional anyway. So we did. Somebody gave us enough money to buy that house next door, because we figured we be evicted anyplace we rented. I don't know really how we found that. Maybe Dorcas Ruthenberg. Have you run into her? TK: She passed away, I heard. AB: Oh, I know, but have you run into her name? TK: Yeah, the name comes up all the time. AB: Well, she worked for WHAS. She did the Moral Side of the News and was kind of prominent in town. Some way we got to be friends. Actually, we got to be friends early. She and another woman I've lost touch 101:00with, who may have died, too, we used to have lunch together a lot at the airport because it was the only place we could all eat. The other woman was black. She was active in Coke Methodist Church. Anyway we would go out there and meet for lunch. So I'd known Dorcas back in the fifties. I can't remember how we got to be friends, but we got to be real good friends and we would have lunch out there once a month or something. We got her involved in SCEF partly because we needed some respectability. She became treasurer of SCEF here because we were such pariahs. Then SCEF was not very respectable itself, if anybody knew anything about it. [Laughter] She got us a real good, and he became a good friend of ours, Earl Fowler, an accountant that she knew at the Unitarian Church to take care of our books and that kind of thing. Later George Edwards became treasurer. I used to have arguments with him about Black Power. He never could see Black Power. She was very interested in housing. Open housing was her big 102:00thing. I don't think she was active in the demonstrations, but she went to whatever kind of training you go to to become a real estate agent basically to find housing for blacks in white neighborhoods, to integrate housing. So she knew real estate. I know she did the deal on this house for us. She found that house, was how it happened to be that we just got it. It just seemed like a good buy and we got it. At the time we bought it next door, people were living in it and had apartments upstairs and stayed for a few months. Finally we expanded to the whole building. It was an office. Some of the young staff people of SCEF--because SCEF staff was sort of expanding with people working for 103:00subsistence, you know, and living there--lived upstairs. But we finally needed the whole building for offices. By that time it was becoming a center for local movement activity for young people, because you see you had a whole generation that wasn't scared of us! In fact, you know, they figured if we were under attack, we must have done something good, so they really were attracted. So it became a real kind of center. As the sixties went on, there were . . . I don't know it was just different. There was just another generation here and they were frequenting that house all the time. One reason we got this house because this house sat empty. The woman who lived here died and it sat empty for a year. Carl was watching the house all year and said, "I bet we'll get that house real cheap sometime." Sure enough, we did for about seven thousand dollars that this couple 104:00gave us. They were kind of old and cranky and wanted to give it to Carl and me, so the house was bought in our name and we leased it to SCEF a dollar a year. So when SCEF broke up and this crowd took over SCEF, they couldn't take this building, is why we have it today. So there were a lot of people coming in there including all these people in the GI movement. Of course, they had the coffeehouse in Muldraugh, which was a big battle down there. By that time the anti-war movement had gotten so big here. You know George and Jean were a big part, not Jean so much. Jean became more active later as their children were grown, but it was George, I think, starting about '65 or '66 maybe. Every Wednesday some of us would go down to Guthrie Green and have a vigil, and then 105:00it grew. The next few years then we had three thousand people out marching--which is big for Louisville--against the war by '71. It grew everywhere, and a lot of that was happening there. A lot of these kids who were deserting the army would come through there and I remember one day this guy was sitting there and he knew they were going to be looking for him. So some cars pulled out front or something. Steve Gilbert, he went to prison later, too. TK: Oh, I've heard that name, too. AB: I don't know what's become of Steve, but he was so calm. I said, "I think that's somebody looking for you, Steve." He says, "Oh shit!" He went out the backdoor and just wandered through the backyard so he got away from them. They didn't catch up with him for a long time. He may have surrendered later. I think he went to prison. But some of them were just deserting. Some of them were going to Canada. So they were all around. Plus then a lot of the stuff when after the BULK people came around, and when the Black 106:00Six were indicted, a lot of the center of that activity for defending them was here. We had a huge movement in defense of the Black Six! TK: Yeah, actually that was the last thing I wanted to make sure to cover today. AB: See, we had, that printing press was terrifically valuable because people didn't have copy machines then. We were doing the printing for everybody in town. We always had trouble finding somebody and we had some pretty talented printers off and on who usually had come from some other place because SCEF attracted people from other places too and a lot of people did come. But there were a lot of people here, too. It became a center for that and then the Panthers when they organized. 'Course, by that time we had this building. Then we had a whole clash between us and some of the black organizations because we were white, although there were blacks around. I think the government fomented some of that. So does this guy who's now in Cleveland who was here. He came down for that activism conference. 107:00He's Ben Simmons, he's now Abdul Qahhar. After Carl and I weren't directors of SCEF anymore, there was a whole terrible situation between SCEF and the Panthers. And at one point it was JOMO, the Junta Militant Organization. TK: Yeah, I've heard that name before. AB: Which was more active here long before, well, not long before, but before the Panthers. Claude McCollum, who's still around. TK: Claude McCollum was JOMO? AB: Yeah. They actually took over this building for a while and wouldn't let us in, but they finally did! There was a whole thing, but we sort of cooled that out without any open rift. With the Panthers it didn't work out that way, but I think probably some people in SCEF handled it wrong, too, by that time. So it was a center of activity. TK: You 108:00know I haven't been able to find any of the people from like JOMO or the Panthers or any of the more militant groups. AB: Oh, you haven't? TK: I had one name and he said yes and then we played phone tag for . . . ? AB: Who, what was his name? Do you remember? TK: What was his name? I don't remember. AB: Well, I think you ought to talk to Claude McCollum. He's around and I tried to find him for this panel the other night. I don't know what he's doing. For awhile he was quite a leader in the seventies. After JOMO died, he was in some of the stuff in the aftermath of the school busing. When they were closing black schools, he was out protesting that. Things around Shelby Lanier. He got fired about every year and we'd have a movement to support him, you know. Then he got very into cultural things, African, Pan-African culture kind of things, centered down at this Afro-Centric Lutheran Church on Broadway, which is now closed. I think it's closed. He had a bookstore there. I didn't see him too often. He was so active, but he just, well to me, it looked like kind of retreating into just a cultural thing. But he would remember and he was very important in that JOMO thing and 109:00also in the movement in the seventies. He lived right around the corner from me and I think he still does, because I don't see him now. Every once and a while I see him on the street. He would remember all that. I don't know whether Claude ever joined the Panthers or not. He was in JOMO and it was a little different. Then you had seven Panthers indicted! Have you talked to Bill Allison? Bill Allison was their lawyer. TK: Oh, no, that'd be great. AB: Well, he knows all about that. He's in touch with, they were the Louisville Seven, seven of them were indicted and they won the case! There was one went to prison because his case was a little different, Blakemore. I don't know what's become of Blakemore. TK: I've heard the name, though. AB: I don't remember the other names. One is named Alexander, G.T. Alexander, he's still around. TK: I heard he was in Indiana. AB: He is, but he comes here every once in a while. Bill knows how to get in touch with him. Abdul Qahhar was the head of the Panthers here. [cut search for his address] He would probably love to talk with you. You know, everybody's memory gets a little inaccurate and he might have some inaccuracies, 110:00but so do I, probably. TK: I'm just going to put this on. . . . [Tape stopped] AB: There was a definite change in the movement, you know, that you've got to take notice of. It was less maybe massive in Louisville than some places but it was happening everywhere. I don't know what theories historians are developing about it. I think it was more that that generation, it's not a generation but things move so fast. The people, who were quite young and black and came to maturity after the early sixties, you know in the sit-ins and even the voting rights stuff, who I think were so heroic, those early people, I really do. Have 111:00you seen this video that I've been telling everybody to see? But it's not about Louisville, but if you really want, I tell people if they want to know about the Mississippi movement, they have to see it. It's called "Freedom Song." TK: Oh, it was on TV? AB: It was on TV. TK: Oh, it was great! I saw it. AB: You saw it, yeah. I've got it on video. I didn't see it on TV. And I knew all the people in it, so you know, Chuck McDew. He's teaching civil rights history instead of doing anything right now, but he's made his contribution, I guess. I wasn't sure which one he was and I said, "I think I know which one was you, Chuck." I was right, but I knew them all! The guy who played Bob Moses actually looks like him; it's amazing. But its really, I mean it just shows who changed the country. Really, it was those kids! Even Bob Moses told them not to march to City Hall. TK: I tell my students if you want to watch a sort of a dramatic feature, not a documentary, that that's the one to watch because I think it's a really good 112:00movie. AB: Yeah, it just dramatizes what happened. That's who did it. I tell the young people all the time it was people sixteen and seventeen years old who basically changed the country. They just took their lives in their hands. Chuck tells this story about how he thought they were going to castrate him. It was a gruesome sort of story. That's not in the movie. But anyway, they were so idealistic and they were ready to give their lives and some of them did, obviously, for this vision of a new world, and the beloved community and all that. The voting rights became a--you know, the whole thing had happened in SNCC, that almost broke up over the argument about direct action or voting and how it all merged together in Mississippi and Alabama and places like that. I 113:00think then you had a whole other set of young people coming along after that. TK: A little bit younger, yeah. AB: A little bit younger, and I think they looked around at what had happened and couldn't see that that much had changed. I think that's what happened. They began to form sort of new organizations and were taken with the idea of the Black Power, which was a very positive thing in my opinion. You know SCEF was probably the only interracial group in the country that came out publicly for Black Power. We made statements and everything and lost a lot of financial support, too, from white liberals! [Laughter] But it was a very positive movement that was moving the country forward, really. It was that whole Black Power movement and then its various expressions. One of them here was JOMO, well, BULK first. BULK was probably the first group. Charles Tachau may not even remember how he thought of that himself, but I think he 114:00realized that that was what kids were looking for. The only thing that's often posed. . . .it wasn't so much violence versus non-violence it was more the change. Some of the people who had been active in the early sixties, of course, just faded right into this newer more militant thing. You know, mighty few people in the early sixties who really believed in "non-violence" as a way of life. It was more whether you had any faith in the system or not. I think the turning point for a lot of people was the '64 Democratic convention when they really thought it was going to work and it didn't. That was when the attacks on 115:00SNCC started, too, after that, long before Black Power was shouted. You began reading all these derogative--before in the press they had been these shiny-eyed children walking the dirt roads of Mississippi and all of the sudden they were these evil forces. They were the same people, you know! But President [Lyndon B.] Johnson was livid about them and of course, Kennedy hadn't been too friendly, Bobby Kennedy, but he's seen that way now. They were disillusioned, and that it was more that the whole system has to be changed sort of thing. Actually the early movement had some notion of that, too. It was like "We're going to build a new society," but it was very vague. This was just you had to tear down the whole system. It was sort of a rejection of integration, that 116:00really wasn't anti-white, it was pro-black. It was that we don't want to be integrated into this sinking ship, and that's what this country is. I think they were right! I think it's sinking right now! You know they really were right, and they were crushed! Of course, that's my theory, too, that historians don't deal with that how that movement was repressed in the late sixties. It was just massive, and it was massive here. There was this big change and it was significant here by the time the Panthers were destroyed. I don't know what happened to JOMO. Joe Waller was the sort of leading figure of JOMO in St. Petersburg, Florida, that's where it was based. I'm not sure if Claude could remember how they got in touch with it here because it didn't have branches a lot of places, but it did here. Joe Waller's still in St. Petersburg and somebody told me recently he was running for mayor down there; a very serious race. I guess he didn't get elected, but he had a good chance. So he's gone into 117:00politics and he's still there. People dug in, some of them, and kept organizing in different ways, I guess. But BULK and then JOMO and then the Panthers. Around the Black Six, we had a mass movement to free the Black Six. And we did; we won that! When they were indicted, there was a huge reaction in the black community. I remember the bumper stickers. There was a rally called after they were indicted and a guy named Eugene Robinson, I don't know what's become of him. TK: He left town, too. AB: Oh did he? I remember he got up and he was talking about how they were going to do in these people and he said, "Not this time, baby!" And somebody made a bumper sticker that said "Not this time, baby!" Everybody was driving with it, you know! So it was a big movement. Was Bill Allison on 118:00that case? No, no, Bill hadn't appeared then, I'm sorry it wasn't Bill. Bill didn't appear until about '71 or later. It was Bob Delahanty and Neville Tucker and Dan Taylor defended them. There were pictures of when they were freed and everything. You know that booklet that the Alliance put out when Ben Chavis got out of prison and came here and spoke in the early eighties? We put out a booklet on the decade of the seventies. It had a lot of pictures with it. It had little things about some of the things that were happening. Its got a picture of Ben Simmons, Abdul Qahhar, cooking eggs or something at the breakfast program of the Panthers and all that kind of stuff. But the Black Six case was a huge struggle because there was a big movement to free them. We got a lot of white 119:00people involved and it really had mass support in the black community. They got the case moved to Munfordville because of the pre-trial publicity and then we had people down there organizing and we'd go down. Then Mike Honey and Martha Allen, who had come here with SCEF, were working on that; that was sort of one of things they were doing. They put out this mailing to everybody in the phone book before the trial and then they got indicted for embracery, that they were trying to influence the jury. We had a big fight about that. They were actually in jail for a while, for a little while. We got them out on bond. TK: I'm going to stop you here because it's about to go. AB: Then it was bounced back to Louisville. You know, I can't remember whether the jury acquitted them or whether they dropped it for lack of evidence. There was a huge march! I told you about that march when we took over Fourth Street, haven't I? There are big 120:00pictures of that, and Blaine Hudson right in the front row. Yeah, that picture's in that little booklet, but that was when it was on the first anniversary AB: Suzy Post was very active by then. There's a whole story about her, too. She was getting the ACLU involved in activity, you know, and she was changing the face of the ACLU. She was a volunteer then, but she was directing pretty much, or president of it. She was trying to get the leading [unintelligible]. She organized a lot of, she brought Ben Spock here and a lot of that peace stuff. But anyway they were organizing a march for peace. You see, it was right in the 121:00midst of the Vietnam War. They hadn't been in touch with each other at all and it was just coincidence that here the people came, so it was a lot of us who were white were with the march from the West End, but the white people coming from the East End. It was pure coincidence they met at Fourth and Broadway. Fourth Street was, before the Galleria, was just a street all the way down. They were going to the courthouse. They just came there at the same time and literally took over Fourth Street. It's the only time since I've been in Louisville that we've taken a main drag. Nobody had a permit or anything, hadn't asked for one. But you couldn't do anything about it because it was hundreds and hundreds of people and nobody tried to stop us! First the blacks, it was mostly black from the West End, were shouting freedom, and the people on the white 122:00march were saying peace. By the time we got to about Chestnut Street, the blacks were saying peace and the whites were saying freedom and they were saying peace and freedom and took over Fourth Street. I happened to find myself by George Edwards, who we had had these arguments because he didn't agree with SCEF coming out for Black Power. He was an officer of SCEF then. So I looked at George and I said, "George, what do you think about that Black Power now?" [Laughter] He said, "Maybe you're right." So we went down to the courthouse. It's a wonderful picture that's in that booklet. I've got the original somewhere, I think, or it may have been one of them I gave to the Human Rights Commission. Filled the courthouse square. A bunch of people climbed the Thomas Jefferson statue and raised the black flag, so it was very dramatic. We kept going down to City Hall and meeting with people about the [Black Six] case, and trying to get the charges dropped. It finally worked. Took about three years, but that was a real victory. Now we did not do nearly as well on the Black Panther case. There was seven of them indicted. But they were eventually freed. Bill represented them. Six of them were freed. I've forgotten all the details of that. They were charged with, I think, robbery or something. What they were really doing, 123:00besides their breakfast program, was they were trying to get the drug dealers out of the black community. I am absolutely convinced drugs were deliberately put in the black community to quiet things down, and it did! You know, eventually it destroyed it, but it's destroyed a lot of whites, too. The chickens have come home to roost sort of. But they were just becoming to come in. I mean there have always been some drugs, but it wasn't like now, you know, it just wasn't anything like now! I mean you didn't have the crime and all that. Our kids used to leave their bicycles out all night long and stuff. Nobody worried about things being stolen. You left your door unlocked all night and that's totally changed because of the drugs, basically. But, that was the beginning of the drug trade in the black community and they were trying to stop it. I think that the police were, what all they were doing, I don't know, but he police were tied in with the drug dealers and they framed them on this charge. 124:00I'm convinced that's what happened. I've never even talked to Abdul about that part of it in recent years and can't even remember the details of the case. But it's a real important piece of the history. I don't remember what happened to JOMO. It finally faded away, although Claude continued active through the seventies in various things. I remember all the battles about Shelby Lanier, for example, so you could surely get him. We turned a lot of those defensive battles into offensives really. That's the way the Black Six became. Then the Narvel Tinsley case. There was a big battle about that. We lost and they went to prison. They finally got out. They got off the death row when everybody did after that '72 decision I guess, or maybe it was a little later. No, that was 125:00right. There was a big battle about that and Bill Kunstler was here. He came here a good bit because he worked with SCEF on a lot of things, so we had him here on various things. He was here on our '68 sedition case, too, '67, in Pikeville and played a part in that. See, that was another whole thing, 'course that was more in Pikeville, that second sedition case. By the way I talked about Vernon Robertson and George Kimbrough, both of them offered to put up their houses as bond for Carl and me to get out of prison. That was something courageous they did, but we didn't want to get out. We said we wanted our bond reduced and we got the law declared unconstitutional. Bill came down and argued it. That was in Lexington. But he was here on the Narvel Tinsley. Then Dan got imprisoned for contempt and sent Bill a telegram because Bill was under 126:00indictment for contempt and got three years and something, out of the Chicago case. Dan got four, he got out, you know, I don't know whatever happened. But he said, "We try harder," or something. [Laughter] TK: Was the Tinsley case that early? For some reason I thought the Tinsley case was later in the seventies. AB: Couldn't have been much later. TK: That's interesting, okay, because I read the stories and thought but oh, that's after my time period. AB: Well, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they got off of death row some other way. They did get off of death row and finally got out, both of them, but there was somebody else I knew that had gotten a death sentence. That was another whole movement in the sixties that I forgot to tell you about, the Gandhi Corps. You see, this was '64. SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] was setting up these projects all around the country supposedly to try to organize the white working class to join forces with the blacks. It never was too successful. They had a big project in Newark 127:00and Cleveland, a few places. They sent some people here, a guy named Bill Dadie, who lived at our house. He got to working with these young kids and formed this thing called the Gandhi Corps. He never did much with the white working class but that was harder. [Laughter] So they all kind of reverted to the black community. He was white, and some of them lived in the projects down there. They got very active. In fact, my son got arrested with them. Jim didn't do this sort of thing much, but he did a few times. He got into the open housing thing finally a little bit. They got arrested sitting in up at the Hasenour's [restaurant] because even though the downtown had integrated these outlying places hadn't. Well, we had a whole battle about Fontaine Ferry Park, too, the same way about the same period. But the Gandhi Corps was a really good thing, and these kids had really gotten involved. They all were juvenile delinquents and had been in trouble and this was the first summer that the only thing they got arrested for was something good. But they got so attacked. All that Allied 128:00Organization for Civil Rights was going on then. They didn't much like these kids and they didn't like their association with us probably, but also they just were not quite respectable. So they got these various charges against them and the thing was really broken up. It was really sad to me. They had one guy, Father John (Loftus?), you might have run into him. TK: I've heard the name, yeah. AB: He was a Catholic. They made him the chaplain, and he defended them and he was more of a respectable voice. This one guy later he got on death row. That's who I was thinking about got off when the general amnesty or general decision from the court. He was a really smart guy and he was really going in the right direction, but after that broke up, he just sort of got in with the wrong crowd and got into different things and shot a policeman or something trying to arrest him somewhere and got on death row. But that was, you know, 129:00just a whole episode. It was just a few months in there, so I had almost forgotten that one. TK: Oh, that's interesting. I've never heard of them before. AB: Yeah, the Gandhi Corps. Then there was the whole student movement at U of L. TK: Right, yeah. Blaine told me a lot of that. AB: That the took over the administration. Gerry Neal was a part of that. Have you talked to Gerry? TK: No, he basically was too busy. But Blaine told me the whole story. AB: Blaine was in that. TK: It's being typed as we speak. AB: SCEF organized support for them. I remember we had a meeting at the Unitarian Church and I remember Gerry Neal spoke. Gerry was in his young and militant days and I thought he made a good speech. I know Sterling, his father, called me up the next day, and he said, "What did Gerry say last night?" And I said, "Well, I thought he made a good speech." "Well, I don't know," he said. People had been calling him objecting to Gerry, I guess he was talking bad about white folks or something because that was sort of fashionable then. But a lot of things that Blaine's doing now in the Pan-African studies is what they were asking for then, so it was really more of 130:00a victorious battle than some of them. TK: It's kind of ironic that Blaine's head of it. AB: I'll finish with this, a lot of people came here to work for SCEF, you see, and some of them were nutty. See SCEF grew so because a lot of people just came and volunteered, because we never had that much money. People were working for subsistence and all that kind of stuff. But people just came and our staff got bigger than the board and that was one of the reasons that I think the government really played on the differences and was able to break it up. I'm convinced of that. But it also became overwhelming [unintelligible], because after told [unintelligible] to organize whites, well, that's what SCEF was trying to do, you see, and people came here. Some of them were real good, some of them were crazy. I remember I called Jim Foreman once and I said, "Quit sending us all these crazy people." But some of them were good. People came here 131:00for different reasons and a lot of them have stayed, you see, not all. Nancy Gall-Clayton, I ran into her, that's how she came here. TK: I interviewed her. I interviewed Ira Grupper, too. AB: And Ira came here that way. There may be some other people still around that came here that way. TK: Nancy gave me two other names, but both men didn't want to be interviewed. I don't remember the one guy's name, the other one was Earl Williams? AB: Earl Wilson? TK: Wilson, yeah. AB: He didn't want to be interviewed? TK: Yeah, I can't remember why. AB: I don't know why either. He's very active though. He's moved over to Indiana. I saw him recently. He came here to work for SCEF, but he got very active. He and Nancy stayed good friends and also Johanna [unintelligible]. TK: Yeah, she mentioned that name, too. AB: They came here for other reasons. She's a teacher and she's a wonderful person; I love her. They've sort of stayed good friends. She didn't come to work with SCEF, but she got involved with us with some things. She and Nancy, we get together at least once a year. They always take me out to dinner for my birthday. It's in July; we sometimes don't do it until November. In fact, we did it just recently for last year over at Earl's. He's 132:00recently been head of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, so he's been active. I don't know why he didn't want to talk. TK: I don't remember now. AB: I don't know what he'd remember about that period. But he stayed and so did some other people.