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Historical Marker Commemorating Fight Against Racial Segregation Dedicated

The two-year effort to end racial segregation in Louisville businesses has been commemorated with a historical plaque downtown.

The marker stands at 4th and Chestnut streets. The thoroughfare was a crowded business district in 1961, when local students began nonviolent protests against Jim Crow laws. The NAACP and the Congress of Racial Equality joined the efforts.

A campaign of boycotts, demonstrations, arrests and voter-registration drives led to the passage of an ordinance in 1963 banning discrimination based on race, color, religion and nationality in public places.

The historical marker outlines the struggle. It was sponsored by the local chapter of the NAACP and dedicated this weekend.

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Local News

U.S. Justice Department Visits Fort Knox Supporting Military Rights

The top U.S. civil rights attorney is requesting amendments to legislation protecting military service members’ rights.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez spoke to soldiers at Fort Knox on Wednesday. Perez reviewed what legal rights soldiers have while on active duty and introduced new amendments being considered.

The amendments protect military personnel from various predatory practices. Changes include suspending foreclosure and credit card loan litigation against active soldiers.

Another amendment protects the working rights of soldiers returning to civilian life. The Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice has increased enforcement on employment rights issues. It’s filed 33 cases protecting military discrimination in the workplace in the past few years.

The U.S. Justice Department says Congress passed the initial laws with bi-partisan support. Letters were sent to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner for support.

Click here to see the legislative proposals and the letters that were sent.

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Local News

Mississippi’s Tortured Civil Rights History

Mississippi occupies a distinct and dramatic place in the history of America’s civil rights movement. No state in the South was more resistant to the struggle for black equality. No place was more violent.

While the history of civil rights activists has been well documented in radio and television, the stories and strategies of their white opponents are more hidden. Drawing on newly discovered archival audio and groundbreaking research on the civil rights era, a new documentary from American RadioWorks explores the extraordinary tactics white Mississippians used to Block integration with blacks.

WFPL will air “State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement” tonight at 8pm. You can listen to the documentary now.

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Local News News About WFPL

Getting Equal Access to Transportation

Many African American communities were weakened or nearly destroyed by highways built in the 1960s. Today, bus service to poor neighborhoods is often cut in favor of more expensive rail.

Tonight at 8pm on WFPL, American RadioWorks presents “Back of the Bus: Race, Mass Transit and Inequality,” a new documentary about the fight for equal rights on America’s roads and transit lines.

This program visits communities across America to find out why people of color still struggle for equal treatment in public transportation.

We highly recommend this doc – and you can listen to it right now, on-demand.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Civil Rights Leader Dr. Otis Moss To Speak In Louisville

Numerous events and ceremonies marking the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth are being held across Louisville this weekend.

Longtime civil rights leader Dr. Otis Moss, Junior will deliver a public speech Sunday evening at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on North Hubbards Lane.

Dr. Moss was a co-pastor with Dr. Martin Luther King, Senior, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and was a church pastor in Cleveland for 33 years before his retirement in 2008.

He currently serves on President Obama’s White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Advisory Council.

Sunday’s address begins at 7:00 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. It’s free and open to the public.

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Arts and Humanities Local News

New Documentary Details Griffin's Experiment

It was 1959 when John Howard Griffin stunned the nation by disguising himself as a black man, spending six weeks living in the segregated South. Morgan Atkinson’s new film, Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin, which details Griffin’s life and experiences, will be a part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.

Atkinson says that the Griffin’s experience, later told through his book “Black Like Me,” had an effect on more than just the civil rights movement, “This unrelenting search for truth, for human dignity. His book had so much to do with civil rights, but his life’s work was as much about human rights in general.”

Uncommon Vision will be shown during the film festival of the Civil & Human Rights Conference at the Kentucky International Convention Center in October.

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Local News

Shawnee Expressway Renamed For Senator Powers

by Gabe Bullard

The Shawnee Expressway in West Louisville has officially been renamed the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway.

Powers was the first woman and the first African American to serve in the Kentucky state Senate. During her more than two decades in office, Powers championed civil rights causes. She says she hopes the renaming will inspire people to learn more about civil rights pioneers.

“When I settled down and realized it was true, I had in irresistible sense of reflection and awe well up in me,” she says. “I thought of the pioneers, some of whom sacrificed their lives for equality and justice.”

The General Assembly passed a resolution on the renaming earlier this year The Georgia Davis Powers Expressway is I-264 between the Sherman Minton Bridge and Dixie Highway.

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Shuffle

Thurgood Marshall: Before the Court

Saturday, April 17, 2010 9pm

Producer: American RadioWorks
Listen Again

Thurgood Marshall is best known as the first African American appointed to United States Supreme Court and as the lead attorney in the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education. Just as remarkable, Marshall was an instrumental figure in striking down the legal framework of segregation and establishing the foundation for modern civil rights law. In the 1940s and ’50s, Marshall was one of the most recognized black leaders in the country. He was often called “Mr. Civil Rights.” This comprehensive documentary project highlights contributions made by Marshall and key legal partners, and by the courageous African Americans across the South who risked their jobs and safety to press their grievances in local courts

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An Imperfect Revolution: Voices from the Desegregation Era

Saturday, March 6, 2010 8pm

Producer: American RadioWorks
Listen Again

In the 1970s and ’80s, a generation of Americans took part in a vast social experiment. They got on buses, and rode across racial lines. Nearly everyone who experienced school desegregation has a story to tell about crossing racial lines. Together they reflect an era marked by struggle and hope, anger and idealism.

American RadioWorks travels to Charlotte, NC to talk with people about their memories of integration. Also featured in the documentary is Deborah Stallworth, who – along with other African American parents – sued the Jefferson County Public Schools when their kids couldn’t get into Central in Louisville. In 2000, they won. Now, the school is mostly black.

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Race and the Space Race

Saturday, February 13, 2010 9pm

Producer: Richard Paul and Soundprint
Listen Again

The Space Age began when America was going through a wrenching battle over Civil Rights. And because the heart of the old Confederacy was chosen as its base, NASA played an unintended role in Civil Rights history. In this program, we hear how this happened and we hear the stories of the people who broke the color line at NASA. Their stories of frustration and their stories of perseverance. Produced by Richard Paul with Soundprint and narrated by Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in Space, “Race and the Space Race” tells the unlikely story of Civil Rights and the Space Program.