African American Community Interviews
= Audio Available Online
Reverend Tachau discusses his work in race relations as a Juvenile Court judge during the 1950s in Louisville. During the 1960s, as an Episcopal priest, he took and active role in the open housing demonstrations.
Eric Tachau discusses his almost twenty years of service on the board of directors of Red Cross (Community) Hospital. He describes the work of the various administrators, the problems confronting the board members, and the reasons for the hospital's failure.
Mrs. Tolbert discusses her personal history, focuses on her school days as well as race relations and church experiences.
The former executive director of the Presbyterian Community Center discusses his relationship with the institution, first as a seminary student in 1949; working under the direction of Charles Allen who he followed as executive director of the center; chan
Mr. Valdez is the director of political education for the local chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute in Louisville. He discusses his life, education, and career in this interview as well as his views on black history in Louisville.
Henry Wallace was born to Augusta Graham French Wallace and Tom Wallace, a former editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, in 1915. He attended the University of Louisville, but was graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1938 with an A.B. in history and political science. After college Wallace worked for the Lexington (Kentucky) Leader. He later worked for papers in Ohio and Puerto Rico. Wallace served in military intelligence early in World War II, but in 1943 he began a hitch in the merchant marine which lasted until the end of the war. In 1948 Wallace went to Cuba, where he worked for the Havana Daily Post and the Havana Herald, English language newspapers. While in Cuba Wallace also did freelance photographic work for Life magazine. He later worked for Time as a full-time reporter, covering Paris, Tangiers, and the Middle East. Wallace returned to Louisville in 1956 to manage his family's farm near Prospect. After the death of his parents, Wallace became active in civil rights, working for passage of public accommodations and open housing ordinances in Louisville.
Dr. Walls discusses practicing medicine in the black community in Louisville from 1918 until his retirement. He recounts his work with the Falls City Medical Society, Red Cross Hospital, and the integration of the Jefferson County Medical Society in 1953. (Note: Red Cross Hospital changed its name to "Community Hospital" in 1972.)
Most of the interview focuses on Murray Atkins Walls, although her husband, John Walls, is also an active participant. They were both involved in civil rights activities in Louisville and so share many experiences. Mrs. Walls discusses her childhood and youth in Indiana and compares her experiences in Louisville and Indianapolis. She describes her work in Kaufman's Department store's personnel department during World War II, and particularly focuses on Mr. Harry Schacter, the head of Kaufman-Strauss department store. She also gives an account of the integration of Girl Scouting in Louisville, which began in approximately 1957, following the Brown decision. The Walls discuss their efforts to integrate the Louisville Free Public Library, which had maintained separate branches for whites and African Americans. They discuss meeting with the library board of trustees and their interactions with the head of the library, Mr. Brigham, as well as the attitudes of Mayor Wilson Wyatt, who appointed the first African American to the library board. They also discuss the attitudes expressed in the Courier-Journal. They discuss black-owned newspapers and the barriers that African Americans faced in education and in housing. The Walls discuss the integration of dining areas and department stores, as well as residential areas. They discuss differences in attitudes between their generation, which they saw as working patiently toward improving their situation, and the generation of youth working for civil rights in the 1960s and 1970s. They discuss the dangers faced by African Americans in Mississippi in the 1930s and 1940s. The Walls discuss Dr. Walls' involvement in picketing with the NAACP, and the impact that she and Dr. Walls had on the lives of young people.
Mr. Walters was an executive director of the Urban League of Louisville. He discusses his early life and education; his twenty-year career in the Army; his experiences and views on integration; and his work with the Urban League.
Mrs. Watkins is a longtime resident of the Parkland area. Her life, family, education and remembrances of the Parkland area are discussed.