The late Dr. J. Blaine Hudson spent his life dedicated to scholarship and community, and in the process became one of Louisville’s most beloved natives.
Whether as a student activist, historian or University of Louisville dean, Hudson left a mark on everyone he encountered. The outpouring of grief and fond memories has been immense since his death last week at age 63.
Over the years Hudson stopped by WFPL on numerous occasions to show how the city’s past informed its present and could potentially solve problems in the future.
He had a wealth of knowledge about theories on race, African-American history and Louisville’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, and we have collected some of the best excerpts for one final class.
But Hudson’s wisdom went beyond the UofL classroom. In 1990, he blended scholarship with activism when he founded the Saturday Academy, which offered free lectures to west Louisville residents on a number of college-level courses.
“Those who do not know themselves cannot value themselves and those who are not known by others cannot be valued by others,” Hudson once said about the academy’s purpose.
Before his death, I had a chance to catch up with Hudson last summer after his appointment as chair of Mayor Greg Fischer’s violence prevention task force.
In what could be his last one-on-one interview about his final attempt to tie scholarship to community problem-solving, Hudson explains the historical context of homicides and how city leaders need to deal with violence in the short and long terms.