= Audio Available Online
Alston discusses his early life in Norfolk, Virginia and his primary and secondary education there; his college education at the North Carolina College for Negroes; his seminary training at Bishop Payne Divinity School; his ordination in the Episcopal Church; his ministry at Louisville's Church of Our Merciful Saviour, 11th and Walnut Street; work in race relations in Louisville; and general remarks on the role of the church in society.
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.
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.
In this interview, Mrs. Beckett discusses her life as well as her husbandï¿½s experiences as alderman in the city of Louisville in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mrs. Beckett briefly describes her early life and education, including her graduation from Kentucky State College. Mrs. Beckett had a career in education, but also worked with her husband, and for her brother, in the undertaking business in Louisville. She speaks of the Walnut Street area before Urban Renewal. Mrs. Beckettï¿½s husband, William Washington Beckett, was elected alderman in 1951 and served until 1961. In this time, he played a role in the integration of the fire and police departments, the parks, and public accommodations, and in developing a Human Relations Commission. Mrs. Beckett discusses her husbandï¿½s contributions and the civil rights movement in general (both in Louisville and more generally) and gives her opinion on the roles of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the African American church.
Dr. Bell is a black physician and relates the limitations placed upon him because of his race. He was interviewed concerning his opinions and experiences in relation to the history of blacks in Louisville.
Dr. Bell discusses his early life and education, including his training at Alcorn College, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical College. He discusses his involvement with the Red Cross Hospital, a black-run hospital in Louisville that was known as Community Hospital starting in 1972. (The hospital, founded in 1899, closed in 1975.) Dr. Bell became involved with the hospital in the early 1940s, and discusses the developments there, including the institution of a nurses' training program, integration, fundraising, and other issues. He discusses the clientele of the hospital as well as the care they received. He also talks about the loss to the black community at the closing of the hospital, and the apparent lack of loyalty the community had to the institution. He discusses Hattie Bishop Speed, as a person and as a supporter of the hospital.
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.
Main topics: Early life, Nashville, school and marriage. Started in Transportation in 1963 in Louisville at $19.20 per day. Job severed with 282 award and became a switchman. Gained seniority and had more educational background. Influence of wife when racial barriers made position unpleasant. Became brakeman when switchman job was cut. Move to Glasgow where racial situation was bad. Gained experience as locomotive engineer on General Motors, General Electric and Alco locomotives. Around 1968 began to see other opportunities that could be open to him. 1971 became assistant train master, a position that proved to be valuable experience. 1977 became traveling engineer or road foreman. Then made immediate supervisor over locomotive engineers. Presently training of locomotive engineers is part of his responsibility. Utilization of the locomotives, new computerization for centralized train control. F7 Series, EMD, General Electric most sophisticated, centralized traffic control (CTC), service areas, modernization of equipment, unit train, road bed and increase in speed limits. Tracks and roadway the same location as in steam days. Necessary for rebuilding daily and the improvements on the locomotives themselves. Cotton outlines the boundaries of the Louisville Division. Terminals of the Louisville Division including the Monon Facilities. Discussion of the hump yard at Osborn Yard in Louisville. Cotton's responsibilities include thed following: training of personnel (apprentice engineers and supervisors), terminal breakdown and derailment procedure. This section also explains the regionalization of various areas of responsibility. Continuation of derailment sight procedure and notification if hazardous materials is being leaked and other general responsibilities. Strikes and the reason for training supervisors to operate the locomotives. Family Lines team approach, coming of women to the locomotive positions; some policy approach of the Family Lines that are important: Incentive program, scholarship awards for supervisors' children, scholarship opportunities for employees, higher level of education of training for new employees. Unionization and its effect on the company and present employee problems.