Discrimination in housing
= Audio Available Online
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.
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.
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.
Civil Rights activist and journalist Anne Braden talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Louisville in the 1950s and 1960s. Topics explored include eforts for school integration, the public reaction to it, her family's experiences with school integration, and redistricting of the city; the West End Community Council and its efforts to keep the West End neighborhood integrated, white flight, and the open housing movement; the activities of SCEF (Southern Conference Educational Fund); the emergence of youth movements; the beginnings of groups like CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), the Committee for Democratic Schools, and the Gandhi Corps; Black Power organizations in Louisville like JOMO (Junta of Militant Organizations) and the Black Panthers; the trial of the Black 6 and the protests surrounding it; and many individuals who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
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.
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.
Powers discusses her education at Louisville Central High School and the Louisville Municipal College; early involvement in politics with Wilson Wyatt, Sr.; United States Senate campaign; Edward T. Breathitt's gubernatorial campaign; Norbert Bloom's career in the Kentucky General Assembly; and her own successful race for the state senate in 1966. Powers also discusses her support of a state open housing bill and the Poor People's March on Washington, D.C., in 1968, which she attended as an observer for the Kentucky Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Dr. Rabb discusses his early life and education in Mississippi. He speaks of his experiences as a student at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, comparing race relations in his hometown to those in Nashville. He also discusses student activism at Fisk while he was a student. He describes his medical education at Meharry Medical College, and his internship at Kansas City General Hospital Number 2, the segregated public hospital for blacks in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Rabb practiced in Shelbyville, Kentucky from 1930 to 1946, and he discusses his practice there, including his relationships with the white physicians in town. Rabb left Shelbyville for Louisville, and he discusses the difficulties that led him to make that move. He talks about his move to Louisville and the support (in the form of office space) he received from Dr. C. Milton Young, Jr. He goes on to discuss his work at Red Cross Hospital, and how he came to be the first African American admitted for post-graduate training at Louisville General Hospital. He describes other areas of integration, including the University of Louisville and its athletic programs. He talks about his leadership role in Louisville's Human Relations Commission, particularly in the area of integrating the police force. He describes his own encounters with racism, the changes he's seen over time, and his role in the sit-ins in Louisville in 1960. He also talks about the integration of public housing. He notes that his proudest achievement is his involvement with the NAACP; he was also a founder of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union.