Civil Rights Movement in Louisville

= Audio Available Online
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Civil Rights movement in Louisville
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Ben Shobe was born in 1920 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He grew up in a rural mountain town called Middlesboro. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1941 from Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University), a historically black school in Frankfort. During his time at K State, he witnessed the Ku Klux Klan marching through downtown Frankfort and then proceed to burn crosses in view of the campus. After graduating, Shobe attended law school at the University of Michigan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with his law degree in 1946 and returned to Louisville, Kentucky to practice as a trial attorney. He initially joined the practice of his friend, Charles W. Anderson, Jr., who was the first ever black legislature voted to serve in the South. He served as a trial lawyer for many years before being elected as the Judge of the Louisville police court in 1973. In the interview, Shobe mentions some of the cases and issues he worked on during his career. Louisville was an incredibly segregated city during the start of his career and he immediately joined the NAACP and went to work helping to desegregate parts of the city. One such case was the desegregation of the Louisville city parks. He took the case to the U.S. Circuit Court in Cincinnati, Ohio and successful argued that the parks were in fact not “separate but equal” due to the disparity in resources available at the white parks, compared to those available at the single black park in the city. He also recounts various interactions with members of the NAACP, such as Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkins, who came to the local Louisville chapter from time to time to go over legal advice and strategy for the segregation cases. Shobe was also involved in various levels on the issues of desegregation at the University of Louisville, the Louisville Bar Association, and the Jefferson County Medical Society.
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Civil Rights Movement in Louisville
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Civil Rights movement in Louisville
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Sandra Wainwright, born in 1937, was born and raised in Louisville and remained here her entire life. She was a student at Central High School before school integration since it was the only school she was allowed to attend as a Black teenager. She went to the University of Louisville and performed in the music school at Central High School, where she met Jackie Robinson and Eleanor Roosevelt. Following schooling she was supposed to become a music teacher, however, no positions were available so she became an elementary school teacher instead. She worked at various schools in the city and retired from teaching in 1996. Topics covered in her interview include: her involvement in the late 1950s with boycotts and protests, the NAACP, her memories of racism within the city at restaurants and stores, her memories of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., her experiences as a teacher at a Black elementary school, her memories of teaching at a white school following busing for teachers, her involvement peripherally when her sister was involved in the movement in the city, her memories of the open housing movement and the impact that open housing had on her and her family.
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Art Walters, born in 1918 in Magnolia, Kentucky, moved to Louisville following his time in the Army. He was drafted into the army while attending Kentucky State College, an all Black school, in his junior year. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers and was first stationed at Fort Bellview, Virginia. He was commissioned to Second Lieutenant and served the rest of his twenty years in the service as a commissioned officer and served in the Second World War and during the Korean War. Following his retirement from the army, he was approached by the Urban League where they hired him as the Industrial Relations Secretary, later changed to the Director of Economic Development and Employment, and Director of Education and Youth Incentive. He worked with the Urban League from 1963 until he retired. Topics covered in the interview include: his time in the army, his hiring with the Urban League, the projects and programs that he worked on in both roles including the On The Job Training Program and the Labor Education Advancement program, the cooperation and work between the Urban League and other groups within Louisville, the role that the Urban League played in busing, the anti-busing demonstrations that took place, the change in the Urban League over the years, the general philosophy and make up of the Urban League, their approach to securing opportunity, strengths and weaknesses, and his involvement outside of the Urban League during his time in Louisville.