Busing for school integration
= Audio Available Online
Robert Benson (b. 1942 in Lousville), Louisville lawyer and former Kentucky legislator, speaks about his experiences with the
Civil Rights Movement and some of its leaders in Louisville. Topics include how he became aware of prejudice in the community and got involved with the Open Housing movement; the demonstrations for Open Housing; his experiences representing the Hikes Point/Highlands district from 1974-1980; his friendship with ACLU lawyer Thomas Hogan, who filed the lawsuit that lead to desegregation efforts in Louisville; the passing of laws merging Jefferson County school districts; the passing of laws to desegregate the resulting combined school district; and the backlash and demonstrations against desegregation and busing.
As publisher of the Courier-Journal in the 1970s, Barry Bingham Jr. recounts the coverage of busing through the news media in Louisville. Discusses the weekly editorial conferences and research involved in taking a position of the paper on busing.
Braden discusses her background and the background of her husband, the late Carl Braden working with the Courier-Journal newspaper during the 1940s; the Wade desegregation case and her husband's trial for sedition in 1954; anti-Vietnam War activities in Louisville; and Ms. Braden's work with Progress in Education (PIE), a pro-busing organization active in Louisville during the 1970s.
Mr. Burch was principal of Southern High School when Jefferson County Public Schools initiated busing for integration in 1975. He was a long-time resident of Okolona, and a graduate of Southern High School. While stating that within the school, he was isolated from the community, he indicates that the pulse of the community had been quickened by media reports. He indicates that they never had any direct problems with protestors prior to the riots of September 6, 1975, and that rioters never tried to inerefere with the running of the school. He characterizes the internal workings of the school as remaining normal during this period, and indicates that the teachers kept their opinions to themselves. Similarly, he describes the students as having coped well under duress, with few discipline problems. He states that though the student body was obviously uncomfortable in the position it was in, the students did not fight amongst themslves. Burch recalls the night of a football game with Moore High School, another south end school which before the segregation order had been primarily black. He describes the issue as slowly dying down over the course of the school year - protestors eventually stopped coming around the schools, attendance gradually improved, and life returned to normal by the end of the school year.
The Louisville Times editor on the process of school desegregation in Louisville.
Eunice Brashear Collins describes her family’s long-standing ownership of land at Scuddy (subsequently a coal mining community), Perry County, Kentucky as well as her childhood and youth there in the 1920s and 1930s. Ms. Collins touches on her high school and early employment at nearby Vicco, as well as an early teaching job at Scuddy. In the later recollection, she briefly discusses race conditions in Perry County, including one particularly violent episode. Collins vividly recalls her two years at Alice Lloyd College at Pippa Passes, Kentucky, and the forces that eventually persuaded her to migrate to Louisville as a single woman, where she sought further education and held a series of World War II jobs. That work included employment at the Jeffersonville, Indiana U. S. Army Quartermaster Depot, the Charlestown, Indiana powder plant where she worked on the bagging production line, and finally as a business teacher at a Bowman Field recuperation facility for wounded soldiers. Collins describes how she met Bill Collins, whom she married just before he was shipped out for three years of military service, and the early difficulty he faced in the immediate postwar period when he settled in Louisville. Finally, Eunice describes her educational preparation and career advancement to principal of Chenoweth Elementary School in the old Jefferson County Public Schools and the special role she played in the mid-1970s in a merged system responding to a court-ordered desegregation plan.
Biographical information of Judge Gordon and an account of the history of preliminary cases of desegregation in Louisville and in Jefferson County.
U.S. Marshall of the Western district of Kentucky describes his responsibilities and the process of carrying out school desegregation order in Louisville.
The former city editor of the Courier-Journal discusses the newspaper's coverage of Louisville's school integration process in the 1970s.
This interview was conducted in 1979 as part of a series on African Americans in Louisville. It is cross-listed here as part of the Joe Hammond Series. Mr. Hammond, a small business owner and real estate agent, discusses his childhood, education and life as a young adult living and working in Louisville. He talks about being a small business owner, the impact of urban renewal on the black business district, Small Business Administration loans, and his belief in the potential of young people in his community. He describes the opportunities of black real estate agents, talks about busing, gives his views on affordable housing for low-income families and concludes the interview with a discussion of his desire for greater participation by African Americans in community development.