African American Community Interviews
= Audio Available Online
Adams recalls the history of the east downtown and Smoketown neighborhoods of Louisville, the predecessor organizations of the Presbyterian Community Center beginning in the 1910s, and the street corner newspaper sales business in Louisville beginning in the 1920s. Both men discuss their efforts to develop a recreation program in basketball, baseball and boxing at the Presbyterian Community Center beginning in the 1930s, the association of Muhammad Ali with the Center, and administrative changes at the Center during the early 1960s.
Alexander is a retired professor from Kentucky State University. He discusses his family history; his career and life in the Parkland area of Louisville; recounts what Parkland was like in 1952; and how he was received as one of the first blacks to move into the 2800 block of Virginia Avenue. He discusses the business, education, and retail landscape of Parkland and the deterioration of the neighborhood. At a time, thriving business and retail establishments along Virginia Avenue and Dumesnil Street. Parkland was a middle-class neighborhood during the 1950s.
Alston discusses his early life in Norfolk, Virginia and his primary and secondary education there; his college education at the North Carolina College for Negroes; his seminary training at Bishop Payne Divinity School; his ordination in the Episcopal Church; his ministry at Louisville's Church of Our Merciful Saviour, 11th and Walnut Street; work in race relations in Louisville; and general remarks on the role of the church in society.
Mr. Axman is a 50-year-old white man who was a long-time resident of the Parkland area (1927-1959). He grew up in the first graduation class of Flaget High School in 1945. He discusses his family history, boyhood years and remembrances of the Parkland area. Note the impact of church membership and social gatherings in the area.
An interview about the Southern Baptist involvement in civil rights, Louisville, Kentucky.
Beard discusses nearly twenty years of service on the board of directors of Red Cross (Community) Hospital. He covers changes in the character of the board, divisive issues, and the importance of the institution to the black community.
In this interview, Mrs. Beckett discusses her life as well as her husbandï¿½s experiences as alderman in the city of Louisville in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mrs. Beckett briefly describes her early life and education, including her graduation from Kentucky State College. Mrs. Beckett had a career in education, but also worked with her husband, and for her brother, in the undertaking business in Louisville. She speaks of the Walnut Street area before Urban Renewal. Mrs. Beckettï¿½s husband, William Washington Beckett, was elected alderman in 1951 and served until 1961. In this time, he played a role in the integration of the fire and police departments, the parks, and public accommodations, and in developing a Human Relations Commission. Mrs. Beckett discusses her husbandï¿½s contributions and the civil rights movement in general (both in Louisville and more generally) and gives her opinion on the roles of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the African American church.
Dr. Bell is a black physician and relates the limitations placed upon him because of his race. He was interviewed concerning his opinions and experiences in relation to the history of blacks in Louisville.
Dr. Bell discusses his early life and education, including his training at Alcorn College, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical College. He discusses his involvement with the Red Cross Hospital, a black-run hospital in Louisville that was known as Community Hospital starting in 1972. (The hospital, founded in 1899, closed in 1975.) Dr. Bell became involved with the hospital in the early 1940s, and discusses the developments there, including the institution of a nurses' training program, integration, fundraising, and other issues. He discusses the clientele of the hospital as well as the care they received. He also talks about the loss to the black community at the closing of the hospital, and the apparent lack of loyalty the community had to the institution. He discusses Hattie Bishop Speed, as a person and as a supporter of the hospital.
Reverend Bottoms recollects his early life; his education at Simmons University; the transition of Simmons University to Simmons Bible College and the relations of this to the origin of the Louisville Municipal College of the University of Louisville; and his work as pastor of Green Street Baptist Church.