African Americans

= Audio Available Online
Bryant discusses her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, where her father was involved in fair housing work. The interview also includes recollections of her education at a private girls' school in Washington, D.C. and at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she received an AB in history; her move to Louisville with her husband, a physician; her work with the West End Community Council; and involvement with the Black Six conspiracy trial.
Civil Rights Activist Ruth Bryant (1923-2013) speaks about her childhood and family history growing up in Detroit; her move to Louisville and observations about housing available to Black Louisvillians; how she became interested in and active in the open housing movement; her work with Committee on Community Development oversaw all federal funding that came into Louisville and how it was dispersed; and her involvement with other organizations such as the West End Community Council, Head Start, Citizens' Advisory Committee under the Urban Renewal Program, Black Unity League of Kentucky, and Women United for Social Action. She also talks about her arrest at open housing demonstrations and her memories of the 1968 Parkland Uprising. She mentions but does not speak at length about being one of the "Black Six," a group of Black Louisvillians accused of inciting rebellion during the 1968 Parkland Uprising and charged with conspiracy to destroy property and to blow up West End chemical plants.
Mrs. Burks is the founder and president of City Plaza Personnel, a black-owned employment agency in Louisville. She discusses her personal history, her difficulties in founding her own business and her opinions on the economic history of blacks in Louisville.
Veterans History Project
Discusses 1968 Parkland Uprising and neighborhood history (emphasis on Shively race relations during the 1960s and 1970s). Interview index available
Mrs. Butler discusses her recollections of Simmons University beginning around 1909; the General Association of Kentucky Baptists (formerly the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky); and the American Baptist newspaper beginning around the 1930s; I. Willis Cole, editor of the Louisville Leader; and Reverend William H. Ballew of the General Association of Kentucky Baptists.
Mrs. Butler is one of Mammoth Life Insurance Company's vice presidents as well as its secretary. She discusses her career and memories of her father, Henry E. Hall, who was one of the founders of the company. She also discusses the Walnut Street black business district and Mammoth Life's building there before the 1965 Urban Renewal program.
Mrs. Casey is the daughter of William Jones, the first black licensed electrician in Kentucky. She discusses her family history, her father's work and her own life.
Mr. Clay discusses growing up in segregated Louisville and the influence his mother, a teacher, and his father, who held several jobs, had on his life. He discusses the heyday of the black business district on Walnut Street and the activities he would engage in there as a child. Mr. Clay then discusses his education in Ohio and Louisville, where he attended Bellarmine College. He explains his involvement with the Poverty Project and other community based improvement programs in Louisville. Mr. Clay describes the shop he opened in 1967 called The Corner of Jazz which became an important local center for African American gatherings and discussions. He discusses the events leading up to the civil disturbance on May 29th 1968 and his personal experiences during that event. Summary available.
This interview covers Ken Clay's experience growing up in Louisville. He performed in choirs as a high school student at Central High School and studied at Bellarmine, eventually working for the Kentucky Center for the Arts as a producer for many years. He talks about his experience creating programs for African American youth in Louisville and the positive impact these programs had. He founded the Renaissance Development Corporation in the mid-1970s. Clay also discusses the significance of Walnut Street as a cultural hub in the West End of Louisville and the negative impact of urban renewal on black businesses. He talks about the store he ran for several years called the Corner of Jazz which operated not only as a store but as a cultural and intellectual space for conversation related to the national Black movement. Clay witnessed a large riot near his store during which a police car drove into a crowd gathered on Walnut Street.