= Audio Available Online
Wes Cunningham interviews Louisville native Elmer Lucille Allen at the University of Louisville. She discusses growing up attending African American schools and later working in mostly white environments. She worked at Brown Forman for 31 years. She didn’t begin working as an artist until she attended art classes at U of L in 1981. Allen also mentions her connections to the Louisville Art Workshop and years spent travelling with sculptor Ed Hamilton along with her photographer husband.
Bill Allison, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, acted as an appeals attorney for one of the Black Six defendants, Ruth Bryant. The Black Six were a group of five men and one woman who were prosecuted for inciting rebellion during the Parkland Uprising of 1968. Allison also represented the Black Panthers in Louisville and in Memphis, Tennessee. In this interview, Allison speaks about cases he was involved in involving government repression and retaliation against Civil Rights activists and how he became involved in that work through the Southern Conference Educational Fund, serving as SCEF's lawyer from 1969 to 1974.
Wes Cunningham interviews Louisville journalist and civil rights activist Mervin Aubespin. The interview covers Merv’s days as a student at Iowa, his brief stint as a middle school shop teacher, and his time as an active member in civil rights protests including those outside department stores which did not allow Black people to try on clothes. He then earned a position at the Courier-Journal, first on the art team and then as associate journalist and chief recruiter. This work allowed him to travel to many places. Merv also discusses his involvement with the Louisville Art Workshop. He identifies as an artist who incorporated painting into a life full of other responsibilities including work and family.
Delores White Baker (1929-2012) speaks about her childhood in the West End in Louisville and her experiences living in New York and other southern states where she became increasingly aware of the prejudice around her. The focus of the interview is on Baker's experience of the intersection of the arts--particularly dance and theater--and race in the Louisville community. Baker was active with the West End Community Council, which focused on open housing, school integration, health and welfare, and the arts and helped shape the West End after a certain amount of white flight from that area. Baker's focus was on the arts. She started ballet and dance classes for children and organized drama and theater productions. She was director of the city-wide Arts and Talent Festival that took place annually in Chickasaw Park and highlighted local talents in the visual arts, music, dance, theater, etc. She was also involved with the Genesis Arts organization that provided classes for disadvantaged children in the community and the Pigeon Roost Theater players, a black West End based theater group focusing on poetry, music, and drama. Baker emphasizes the importance of exposing children to culture, her thoughts on the state of the Black community in Louisville, the anti-racism movement, and her relationships with local churches.
Berg was reared in Brooklyn, New York, where he attended elementary and secondary school. His parents had come to the US from Russia. Berg's father attended trade school and worked as a plumber in New York. Harold came to Louisville to attend the University of Louisville for his pre-medical and medical education. Berg recieved his MD and completed his internship before being drafted in the US Army during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater as a surgeon and after the war retuened to the US to complete his residency in surgery. Since 1951 he has practiced in Louisville. Berg is also known for his work in mosaics, examples of which were on display at the Jewish Community Center and the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville at the time of the interview.
Interview with Ray H. Bixler, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of Louisville, concerning the university as he saw it in 1948, the Department of Psychology and its changes during his tenure, and desegregation of Louisville's public accommodations and housing, as well as student unrest on campus during the 1960s and 1970s.
Civil Rights activist and journalist Anne Braden talks about her early years as an activist in Louisville from 1947 through the early 1950s. The focus is on the intersection of the labor movement and the Civil Rights movement, including integration within labor union. Topics include Braden's career as a reporter, the Farm Equipment Workers Union, the Progressive Party, and the beginnings of the movement for integrated hospitals in Louisville.
Dr. Alicia Brazeau discusses her work in the University Writing Center.
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.
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.