African Americans--Segregation

= Audio Available Online
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.
Overview: 1926 L&N track man until 1928. Rejoined the L&N in 1948; reflections on President Harry Truman, Thomas Dewey and events of that campaign. Talked with President Truman about problems of segregation. Experiences of pre-integration. Events on day Martin Luther King was assassinated. Turning in purse lost on Derby Day led Owen White being moved into Mr. Kendall's private offices. Attached to boat Cloe Bee for seven years. Had opportunity to make many contacts. Later worked at Guest House at 4201 Tournament Lane. Examples of interesting opportunities, taking players to Master's Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Description of being track man in 1920 and type of lodging that was standard. Feelings about Roosevelt, Thompson Restaurant, Henry Bickel's, Watterson Hotel, and sharing among people in the 1930s. In the 1940s, L&N needed workers and rejoined. Talks about segregation on L&N RR. Reflections on segregation procedures. Other transportation experiences north and south. Comparison of wartime Macon, Georgia and the present date, 1980. Reasons for remaining in Louisville, different pressures in railroad position and regular day-to-day life. Explanation of railroad passes. 1950: Changes to keep passenger services going. Scheduling problems with being on the president's staff. Greater Salem Baptist Church. Supplemental check and explanation of straight salary. Union benefits and experiences, strike of 1956. Integration experiences for son at Male High School. Money raising experiences at Male in 1960 as they relate to racial relations. Attachment to Mr. Kendall's office, difference in attitude towards Mr. Jones, people served. Lost financial security with last position, relationship with other blacks, other individual, Southern politics, possibilities of black power in relations with whites.