Civil Rights Movement in Louisville

= Audio Available Online
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Eleanor Foreman, born in Louisville in 1926, was raised in the Fort Hill neighborhood and was an only child. In this interview, she talks about her life growing up, her first job, and her career life. She went to Municipal College in 1946, then later went to Bellarmine, during this time as well, she got her real estate license. Foreman then went on to work at the Louisville Medical Depot for 7 years and the Army Corps of Engineers, where she worked with computers. She worked for the government as well where she worked on negotiating with people and moving them from their houses. Her work had her travelling in places such as Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Eastern Kentucky, where she discusses her experiences as a black woman. While working in these jobs, Foreman worked as a real estate broker in Louisville too. She and her partner, Alice Mobley, worked together for years and were focused on selling houses in the West End. Eleanor Foreman discusses the place of Black individuals in the real estate business, the obstacles she faced as a black woman, and how she attempted to integrate neighborhoods through house buying in order for Black families to receive the same benefits as white families. Foreman continued her work as a real estate broker after Alice Mobley passed away and continued to work with the community in various ways up until her interview.
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David Gettleman was born in Louisville in 1927. His father was a Rabbi who instilled the desire for racial equality among all of his children. Growing up in the Jewish minority in the city, David states that he did face prejudice of his own, which only strengthened his resolve to fight for others. David started college at the University of Louisville at only 16 years old, before leaving for a year and a half to serve in the Navy during World War II. Upon returning to Louisville, David went on to attend law school and he immediately began practicing in the city upon graduation. He mentions being an “Outspoken Liberal” while he was a student, as well as the chairman of the student body. He worked as a lawyer in Louisville for over 50 years. In the interview, David recounts stories of his time as an advocate for social justice causes. One such story highlights the racial prejudice of the Louisville Country Club, as they would not allow visitor Arthur Ashe, one of the best tennis players of all time, to use the country club pool during his visit. The majority of the interview is dedicated to David’s time spent with the American Friends Service Committee; a Quaker founded organization. He worked very close with African American activist, Betty Taylor. The organization founded the Park DuValle Neighborhood Health Center. He recounts working with other Louisville activists such as Dora Rice and Mansir Tydings. He specifically recounts being on many interracial committees with Tydings, as both men were staunch advocates for racial equality and desegregation. David helped draft local legislation for social justice issues and worked on the Open Accommodations and Open Housing movements.
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Ira Grupper was born in New York City in 1944. Before moving to Louisville in 1969, Ira was involved in rent strikes in New York and he took part in the Civil Rights movement all over the South with the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). In this interview, Ira talks about his personal friendship with Carl and Anne Braden, whom he worked alongside as part of the SCEF (Southern Conference Education Fund). Other topics include Ira’s work as a commissioner and eventual Vice-Chairman of the Louisville and Jefferson County Human Relations Commission. He talks about being a staunch advocate for workers rights and an improvement in labor conditions. He also discusses his involvement with the busing situation during the 1970s and his role as an outreach spokesman who went to white communities to attempt to persuade them to support desegregation in the local schools.