Downtown Louisville Markers Celebrate Louisville Civil Rights Events

Louisville will install the first of a dozen markers this week to note significant civil rights events and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the city’s Public Accommodations Ordinance. 

The idea was started by the late University of Louisville professor Blaine Hudson in 2011. The inaugural sign installed on Tuesday at 3:30 on Fourth and Guthrie streets will note local demonstrations and acts that led to the ordinance, which outlawed discriminatory practices in the city.

U of L’s Clest Lanier helped Hudson with the project. She says other markers will be placed throughout the next year-and-a-half, mostly along south Fourth Street and West Broadway. She says the markers will be located at places where significant events happened, like the former Walgreens where one of the earliest demonstrations took place.

“There was a demonstration in front of the Walgreens Drugstore in 1956,” she says. “It was at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut.”

Lanier says strong opposition to the discriminatory practices came from Louisville’s African-American youth.

“In the other cities in the South where demonstrations were taking place they had black colleges. But in Louisville, absent a black college, it was high school students that led the charge.”

A 12-member advisory committee of scholars, historians and sit-in participants suggested the sites worthy of historic markers.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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