National Issues, Local Struggles: The Civil Rights Movement in the Ohio Valley and Beyond

Although national in scope, the twentieth century struggle for black equality depended on the efforts of local women and men committed to securing basic human rights for all Americans within their own neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states. This was a struggle that began long before the sit-ins and protest marches of the 1960s and it continues into the present day. The Filson’s spring 2012 public conference, “National Issues, Local Struggles: The Civil Rights Movement in the Ohio Valley and Beyond,” explores various strands of the struggle for black civil and political equality, moving beyond a top-down focus on the national movement. The conference brings together leading civil rights scholars and Louisville activists to explore how local people—black and white, women and men—fought for racial justice over many years and together helped transform the United States.
When May 17, 2012 05:30 PM to
May 19, 2012 03:30 PM
Contact Phone (502) 635-5083
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Thursday, May 17

5:30 p.m.

Reception and Viewing of “20th Century African American Collections at The Filson” Exhibit


Keynote Lecture ($5 for nonmembers)

The Civil Rights Movement and the Possibilities of Democracy John Dittmer, Professor Emeritus, DePauw University

Friday, May 18

Day of Lectures ($5 for nonmembers)

9:30 a.m.

St. Louis, the Border South, and the Place of the Border in Black Freedom Studies

Clarence Lang, Associate Professor, Department of African and African-American Studies, The University of Kansas

10:45 a.m.

Women’s Important Roles in the Civil Rights Movement

Rhonda Y. Williams, Associate Professor and Director of CWRU Social Justice Institute/Alliance, Case Western Reserve University

12:00 p.m.


1:00 p.m.

Upon This Rock: African American Migration, Urban Renewal and the Struggle for Open Housing in Louisville, Kentucky

Luther J. Adams, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Ethnic, Gender and Labor Studies, University of Washington, Tacoma

2:15 p.m.

Civil Rights Panel Discussion with J. Blaine Hudson, Mervin Aubespin, Raul Cunningham

Moderated by Tracy K’Meyer, Chairperson and Professor of A&S History, University of Louisville

Saturday, May 19

9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Field Trip ($45 for members, $55 for nonmembers)

National Issues, Local Struggles: A Civil Rights Bus Tour of Louisville, Kentucky

Designed by Catherine Fosl, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies/History and Director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, University of Louisville
Led by Catherine Fosl, Bob Cunningham, and Mervin Aubespin

Experience the Civil Rights Movement and history through the eyes of activists
and authors, hearing the significant stories of this era from those who lived through it.
Whether you are from Louisville or visiting for the first time, we invite you to learn how
the 20th-century Civil Rights Movement changed lives here at the South’s northern
border–for African Americans, but also for whites & now for the new immigrants who
are bringing greater cultural diversity in the 21st century. Some of the sites you will see


  • Pendennis Club, 218 West Muhammad Ali Blvd.
    In 1991, the Rev. Louis Coleman and Jan Phillips, Civil Rights activists, set up a table on the sidewalk outside the private club and had lunch as a protest against the club’s policy of excluding African Americans from membership.
  • Fifth Street Baptist Church, 1901 West Jefferson Street
    Founded in 1829, Fifth Street Baptist Church was the first black church in Louisville. For many years, the Rev. W. J. Hodge, and extremely active Civil Rights leader, was pastor of the historic church.
  • Visit the Villages of Park DuValle, which is located in the former Cotter and Lang Homes in western Louisville. This area, once considered one of the most depressed in the city with some of the highest crime stats, is now a showpiece with the new housing developments.
  • Louisville Defender Newspaper Offices, 1720 Dixie Highway Founded in 1933, Frank L. Stanley Sr. Served as publisher until his death in 1974. The paper was significant as a source of information for African American people, especially about Civil Rights issues.

Lunch at Expressions of You, 1800A. West Muhammad Ali Blvd., is included in the
price of this tour. The Civil Rights Bus Tour will begin and end at The Filson Historical
Society, 1310 S. Third Street, Louisville.

Register online at or by phone at (502) 635-5083

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