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Civil Rights in the Gateway to the SouthLouisville, Kentucky, 1945-1980$
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Tracy E. K'Meyer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125398

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125398.001.0001

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Open Accommodations in the All American City

Open Accommodations in the All American City

(p.77) 3 Open Accommodations in the All American City
Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South

Tracy E. K’Meyer

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter focuses on an ordinance passed by the Louisville Board of Aldermen making it illegal to discriminate based on race in any place of business open to the general public, the first such law, according to Mayor William O. Cowger, “in any major city in the South.” It notes that passage of the ordinance, like the peaceful school integration of 1956, won Louisville national acclaim as an “All American City” and marked the high point of its reputation as a regional leader in race relations. It provides however, that this historic legislation did not arise in a vacuum; rather, the Louisville open accommodations struggle coincided with a region-wide wave of mass demonstrations for jobs and freedom, as the slogan of the 1963 march on Washington put it.

Keywords:   ordinance, Louisville Board of Aldermen, Louisville, school integration, Mayor William O. Cowger, South, All American City, race relations, mass demonstrations, open accommodations

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