African American businesspeople
In this interview, Mrs. Beckett discusses her life as well as her husband’s 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. Beckett’s 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 husband’s 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.
Breckenridge is a black businessman from Louisville who founded his own construction-contracting company in 1971. In this interview he discusses his life, family history, education, career and views of black history in Louisville. Redevelopment of Louisville and early black contractors are also discussed.
Mr. Bright is a third generation black Louisville businessman. He discusses his family's history in the drug store and beauty aid businesses, his education and personal history.
The narrative traces Mr. Edward's moves from Moorhead, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, and later to Louisville, Kentucky. During these years Mr. Edwards attended innovative programs in Chicago and graduated from Shawnee High School. After attending Western Kentucky University and Bowling Green Business College, Mr. Edwards was successful in obtaining an Office of Minority Business Enterprise (O.M.B.E.) loan for the Pressley and Edwards Machine and Welding Company. A large portion of the interviewer traces the persistent efforts of Edwards and others to make the company a success. Mr. Edwards is a member of a large extended family presently living in Louisville.
Mr. Goodwin, a nursery owner and local historian from Louisville, Kentucky, discusses his ancestors and other African Americans who lived in the Petersburg / Newburg area. He describes the relationships of various African Americans with white slaveowners, and the efforts blacks made to build their community following slavery. He describes his own efforts to develop his community through the location of library in Newburg and the Petersburg Historical Society's programs, as well as his fight against urban renewal. He also talks about his own career in the nursery business.
King is President of Mr. Klean's Janitorial and Maintenance Company. King discusses his family history and the founding of Mr. Klean's, a black-owned company which employs the largest percentage of black workers in the state of Kentucky. He was also acquainted with Muhammad Ali during his youth.
Maxwell, the manager of the Top Hat Tavern for nearly 30 years, discusses her personal history as well as her experiences as a manager of a nightclub on Broadway in Louisville.
Born to Tal and Laura Moorman in Daviess County, Kentucky, Frank Moorman, Sr., came to Louisville in 1926 to rejoin his former employer, Dr. White, at his new drugstore in the Mammoth Building. Moorman later opened a drugstore with Dr. J.C. McDonald on the corner of Sixth and Walnut. He later opened a service station at Eighth and Walnut; this station became Frank's Super Service. Moorman discusses his grandparents and parents in the Buckhorn community in Daviess County, the evolution of his business, his feelings on the civil rights movement and race relations.
Mr. Porter is the chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Louisville. He discusses his family's business, A.D. Porter Funeral Home, his father's involvement in politics and his years on the Louisville Board of Education. His life and family history are also included in this interview.
Louise Reynolds was the first African American woman elected alderman in the city of Louisville. Ms. Reynolds discusses her work with the Republican Party, including her work as a precinct committeewoman, in the party's headquarters, and for Representative John Robsion. She worked for Robsion in the 1950s, and was elected to Louisville's Board of Alderman in 1961. Ms. Reynolds discusses the legislation passed during her time on the board, including the Public Accommodations Ordinance, the establishment of the Human Relations Commission, and an Equal Opportunity ordinance, and her involvement in trying to pass an open housing ordinance. She discusses the administrations of mayors William Cowger, and to a lesser extent, Kenneth Schmied. She also describes a visit to the White House at the invitation of President Lyndon Johnson. She also worked for the Small Business Administration, and she talks about the advice she gives small businesspeople who approach the SBA for loans, and notes several successful African American businesspeople in Louisville.