Civil rights markers project progresses downtown
Markers noting Louisville civil rights demonstration spots 50 years ago will be sprouting downtown in February during Black History Month, organizers said during a Jan. 29 unveiling and reception to recognize community and university partners in the project.
The first of the total 12 – the Civil Rights Overview -- was unveiled last May, and the next six will go up next month along South Fourth Street; funding has been secured for the final five. Louisville artist Ed Hamilton designed the markers’ artwork.
The markers describe locations where black students and adults marched and participated in sit-ins at downtown businesses that refused to serve African Americans. Activists organized a voter registration campaign that led to election of people responsive to their cause and, after more demonstrations, passage of the 1963 public accommodations ordinance to end that practice.
UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences, Louisville Metro Council, Downtown Development Corp. and the Office of Mayor Greg Fischer were the initial project partners. An advisory committee of scholars, historians and sit-in participants suggested the marker sites. The project was begun about three years ago by then-dean Blaine Hudson, who convened a meeting of leaders to consider ways to mark the anniversary; Hudson died last January.
Arts and Sciences Interim Dean John Ferre noted during the reception at the Cressman Center for Visual Arts that the markers would be “preserving in steel and language” the importance of the struggles.