Sisters in Struggle: Women in the Louisville Civil Rights Movement 1945 - 1975

Newspaper Photograph of a Woman

A display in the reading room of the Law Library showcases several Louisville women who played a vital role in the local civil rights movement. The display tells a story of courage that begins with the integration of libraries and hospitals in the 1940s and 1950s, moves on through the battles for open accommodations and open housing in the 1960s, and ends in 1975 with the implementation of busing to achieve racial integration in the Jefferson County Public Schools.

“Sisters in Struggle” focuses on a few women who made a real difference in our community, from Ruth Booker Bryant to Thelma Stovall to Mae Street Kidd. Several of the women have spoken at the law school as part of our Diversity Forum Series, including Senator Georgia Davis Powers, activist Mattie Jones, and the late Anne Braden. Documents and memorabilia from the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research are displayed in a glass case adjacent to the display. 

The current “Sisters in Struggle” is an updated version of a display that originated at the Ekstrom Library and hung there in the lobby during February and March of 2005. Many thanks to Jami Allen and Kathie Johnson from the Ekstrom Exhibits Committee for their generosity, to Amy Purcell from Special Collections for her assistance, and to the History Department’s Dr. Tracy K’Meyer for her expertise.
Photo of the Sisters In Struggle Exhibit
Special thanks to Dr. Catherine Fosl, Anne Braden’s biographer and Director of U of L’s Braden Institute, for her guidance and for the loan of items from the Braden Collection.

--Robin R. Harris