= 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.
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.
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.
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.