J. Blaine Hudson studied Louisville’s African American community and helped shaping it. He was born in Louisville and became involved in activism as a youth after he was denied entry into a movie theater because of his race.
In the years that followed, Hudson would become an authority on the events that shaped Louisville’s African American community. A longtime Louisville educator and civil rights activist, Hudson died on Saturday less than a month after stepping down as dean of the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Hudson, who was 63, led a regular free educational programs on African American history and issues and was chairman of the Kentucky African American Commission. He coordinated an expansive Urban League study of the state of African American youth in Louisville in the early aughts and, more recently, chaired Mayor Greg Fischer’s work group studying violence in western Louisville before stepping down because of an illness.
WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey and Jonathan Bastian discussed Hudson’s legacy on Monday and also played recordings of Hudson from his past radio appearances.
“I think if you go back to 1964, that was still fairly and optimistic time — of course, when King gets the Nobel Prize, you have the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” Hudson said in past interview. “It looked as though the process of eliminating segregation and moving toward racial equality was going to continue in sort of a linear fashion. And then, of course, we hit a wall and quite frankly we’ve been at that wall for the past 40 years or more.”
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