Civil rights demonstrations
= Audio Available Online
Adlene Howard Abstain (b. 1943 in Montgomery, Alabama, d. 2015, in Louisville, Kentucky) describes her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement through voter registration efforts, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Freedom Rides, fair housing efforts, work as a pastor at The Fountain of Life Word and Worship Center, and community organization in Louisville.
Mervin Aubespin (b. 1937 in Louisiana), a reporter for the Courier-Journal, talks about his path to the Civil Rights movement starting in Alabama and then in Louisville; Louisville during segregation; housing discrimination; and white flight. As an activist, Aubespin participated in marches, sit-ins, voter registration and organization for public accommodation, open housing, and to integrate Fontaine Ferry. Aubespin was originally hired by the Courier-Journal an artist, one of the first Black employees there. He covered the Parkland Uprising but did not get a byline or credit for his work. He then attended an intensive program at Columbia University to produce Black journalists and had a successful career as a reporter for the Courier-Journal, specializing in covering topics of interest to the Black community. Regarded as an expert on racism and the media, Aubespin is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and was given the Ida B. Wells Award for his efforts to bring minorities into the field of journalism. Aubespin was also the founder of the Louisville Association of Black Communicators.
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.
Irvin discusses her childhood in Hopkinsville, Kentucky; her primary and secondary education there; her move to Louisville in 1950, a city she found to be "friendly to blacks, but very segregated"; involvement in open housing demonstrations in Louisville's south end, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and work in Democratic politics as a precinct co -captain, captain, and committee woman.
Ms. Kidd discusses her life, including her childhood growing up in Bourbon County. Kidd attended the Lincoln Institute in Simpsonville, Kentucky, and then began working for Mammoth Life Insurance Company, Louisville-based black-owned life insurance company. She discusses her career with Mammoth Life, which was interupted by service in the Red Cross during World War II. She discusses her experiences with the Red Cross, both during her training and during her service overseas. She discusses differences in white attitudes, in particular. She describes her work in pubilc relations and sales after the war, as well as her political career. She was elected to the Kentucky Assembly in 1967 and began serving in 1968. She discusses her attempts to pass legislation to give tax breaks to companies that would provide training to Kentucky residents, and her successful efforts to pass a low-cost housing bill.
Dr. Love was a U of L professor and administrator, and sister of civil rights leader Whitney Young, Jr. Dr. Love discusses her parents, Laura and Whitney Young, Sr., their lives and involvement with Lincoln Institute in Simpsonville, Kentucky. Dr. Love and her brother were born in Lincoln Ridge, while her father was a teacher at Lincoln Institute, and she discusses the education they received there, and the atmosphere of safety and support that was fostered at Lincoln Institute. She describes her father's tenure as principal. She describes her experiences at Kentucky State, and also discusses her brother's emergence as a leader there. She recounts his subsequent service in the Army during World War II, where he discovered his ability to negotiate; specifically, he realized his ability to negotiate better conditions for his fellow black soldiers. She relates his educational experiences following his return to the States, and his involvement in a Harvard-based think tank. She discusses his involvement with the Urban League, and his relationships with those who chose different approaches to furthering the equal rights of African Americans. She describes the role of the Black Panthers and the riots, particularly in Detroit, in drawing some supporters to the Urban League. She also gives her perspective on the University of Louisville, which she came to in 1966 as a GE scholar. Dr. Love was quickly identified as a skilled negotiator, and she became involved in working with students, including the students who eventually took over the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1969. She offers criticism of the University of Louisville at that time (and in the 1970s) for failing to recruit and support black students and faculty. She does commend President Miller for his support of programs for students needing skill-building work. She gives her assessment of area public schools, and the possible reasons for their shortcomings. Dr. Love also headed the Lincoln Institute at the end of its days, from 1964 to 1966, and she discusses that experience. She recounts its closing, its brief life as a school for gifted and talent students, and its rebirth as the Whitney M. Young Job Corps Center. She discusses briefly the origins and role of the Lincoln Foundation.
Vivian Stanley discusses her career as a social worker and her life with Frank Stanley, Sr., editor, manager, and publisher of the Louisville Defender. She describes events and programs that she and the newspaper were involved in, including Clothe-A-Child and the annual Exposition organized by the Louisville Defender. She also discusses Frank Stanley, Sr.'s personality and civic and political involvement, and the management of the paper after his death. Mr. Stanley had two sons, Frank Jr. and Kenneth, and she also provides some information on their lives.
Reverend Tachau discusses his work in race relations as a Juvenile Court judge during the 1950s in Louisville. During the 1960s, as an Episcopal priest, he took and active role in the open housing demonstrations.
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.