Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23rd 1918: As for Victory Parades, 3rd time's a charm (Vol.1 Issue 6)

On  November 23rd, 1918, the Saturday before Thanksgiving,  a Parade was held in downtown Louisville to commemorate the end of the first World War.

10,000 troops from Camp Zachary Taylor, as well as marching bands and civic groups made their way from Clay and Broadway past the courthouse and ending at Central Park amidst tens of thousands of cheering Louisvillians, according to the Courier-Journal.

This was the first official parade commemorating the victory of the Allied Powers in World War I, but two previous unofficial parades were also held in Louisville. The first, on November 7th, was described as a "riot of joy" by the C-J, after a fire station bell was rung and mistakingly taken as notice for the end of the war, creating an impromptu parade down 4th street.

The second parade occurred on November 11th, Armistice Day, the actual day the war ended, and began at the Courier-Journal offices by publisher Judge Robert Bingham and spilled into the street. Thousands joined the parade that stretched for half a mile and included fireworks and a lynched effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm II with a sign that read "Damn His Damn Hide" hanging from the C-J office windows.

'Armistice Parade, Louisville, Kentucky, 1918'
(Courtesy of University of Louisville Archives & Special Collections)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18th 1926: First Royalty to visit Louisville to much delight, and a few children's sadness (Vol.1 Issue 5)

On Thursday November 18th, 1926, Louisville was visited by Marie of Romania, the first Queen to visit our city.
Beginning in October of 1926 Queen Marie took a well publicized diplomatic tour of the United States and Canada and was greeted by fanfare at all stops on her trip.

according to 'On Tour With Queen Marie' by Constance Lily Morris, who traveled with the Queen and chronicled her trip,  The Queen entered the U.S. on October 18th. After visiting New York and Washington D.C. the Queen toured Canada before returning to the U.S. via North Dakota and heading to Chicago.

Reaching Chicago of November 16th, she got word that the King of Romania had fallen sick and it was decided to cut her tour short and return home.
On November 17th it was announced that she would return home and scheduled stops in Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh were all canceled. At the last minute the Queen decided to keep the Louisville engagement and at 11am (an hour later than planed) her entourage arrived at the Louisville train station.

Queen Marie was greeted by Mayor Will at City Hall, before a tour of Cherokee Park. The tour then headed down Bardstown road for a visit of The Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown.
Governor Fields presided as host in a reception at the home. For dinner fried chicken was served and and an all black vocal quintet sang spirituals.  Marie was presented with an original copy of the poem "The Old Kentucky Home Good Night."

She next traveled to Hodgenville to visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace before returning to Louisville that evening for a ball in her honor.

By all accounts the Louisville trip was a success, save for one. The Courier-Journal reported that several hundred students at the William R. Belknap School in the Highlands waited in the wintery weather for a glimpse of the Royal motorcade, but due to the late arrival and last minute changes to the Queen's itenerary the children had missed their chance.

Queen Marie and her children, Prince Nicholas and Princess Ileana,
on tour of the U.S. and Canada

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 10th 1976: 40th Anniversary of the Manual High School Race Riots (Vol.1 Issue 4)

On November 10th, 1976, a violent incident at duPont Manual High School resulted in over 30 students suspended, 16 students injured, and 8 arrested by the Louisville Police department.

According to duPont Manual historian Mike McDaniel in his 2005 book on the history of the school, November 11, 1976 was "quite probably the worst day in the history of Manual."

The incident, referred to as a 'race riot' by the Board of Education and faculty at the school,  was extensively covered by reporter Wanda Nichols, in several articles in the Courier Journal.

According to Nichols investigation, tensions had been rising between white and black students for awhile at the school, but unrelated to the 'busing for desegregation' disturbances happening around the same time, such as at Durrett and Fairdale high schools, as Manual was exempt from court-ordered busing because its racial makeup already met federal guidelines; At the time duPont Manual had about 1,600 white students and 800 black students.

Students reported to Nichols that for some time white students complained that they were punished more harshly than black students for infractions. Manual Principal George Sauer addressed parents at a meeting that night reassuring parents that 'We don't care what color they are. The same offense gets the same punishment regardless of race.'

But students told Nichols that the riot that occurred in the cafeteria on the morning of November 10 was over an incident with two black students who had previously been suspended returned returned to school that morning and harmed a white girl. Next 150 white students stormed the hallways chanting 'White Power' which resulted in a vicious clash in the cafeteria shortly before 11 am. that ended with 20 police officers rushing into the school to stop the riot. An unnamed security guard told Nichols "those kids were really trying to kill each other."

Wanda Nichols found that two Manual girls were treated at area hospitals for injuries congruent with a physical assault, although one of the girls, Bonnie Boston, reported that she was unable to determine the race of the assailants. For the rest of the week Manual High School was surrounded by police cars and guarded by over a dozen officers. "The worst I've ever been hurt in 18 years I've been in the school system" Principle Sauer told Nichols about the actions of his students; "I was ashamed. I was embarrassed."

The history of duPont Manual High School shows an altogether opposite interpretation of tolerance than of the actions on November 10th 1976. dupont Manual High School is an amalgamation of two High Schools, Female High School (opened in 1856 as the counterpart to Male High School) and duPont Manual Training High School (for boys) opening in 1892. They merged in 1950 becoming the coeduactional duPont Manual High School.
And even though Male and Manual have the oldest football rivalry in the state (dating back to 1893), the two schools (and football teams) successfully merged from 1915 to 1919.

duPont Manual eventually moved past the incident, what Principal Sauer called the "blemish on the school's name," and in 1991 Manual was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School  by the United States Department of Education, the highest honor the department can bestow on a school.

duPont Manual High School (Public Domain Photo)

Source Guide:

 "Stand Up and Cheer : the Official History of du Pont Manual High School, Louisville, Kentucky" by Mike McDaniel (2005). 

"Racial Fight at Manual High School causes several injuries,  two arrests" by Wanda Nichols in the Courier-Journal. Nichols, Wanda (1976-11-11).  

"Calm Restored, Manual Seeks Causes of Unrest" by Wanda Nichols in the  Courier-Journal. (1976-11-12). 

 "Manual teachers want money for more security guards" by Wanda Nichols in the  Courier-Journal. (1976-11-13). 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2nd, 1920: Power of the Vote Gives Black Citizens a Chance for a future (Vol. 1 issue 3)

   On November 2nd, 1920, Louisvillians voted on the University of Louisville's municipal bond issue for using $1 Million of taxpayer money to expand it's Belknap Campus. The bond issue needed a two-thirds 'affirmative' vote for passage, but the bond issue failed by more than four thousand votes.

The University of Louisville's written history by the the University Archives and Records Center states that the university at the time believed that only the passage of this bond issue would insure the University's future but the municipal bond was defeated by a concerted effort by the African American community in Louisville using the power of the vote to voice their needs.

U of L at that time did not accept black students, and yet was looking for taxpayer money to fund the institution.  According to The University of Louisville, a written history of the University by Dwayne D. Cox and William J. Morison, The black community expressed their opposition on the grounds that tax dollars from black Louisvillians would be used to support higher education for white students only, they forced the university and the city to make funds available for African American higher education if they wanted to see the bond issue pass.

The University worked with leaders in the black community who wanted an African American liberal arts university established in Louisville. The University of Louisville Trustees agreed to set aside 10% of the $1 million bond issue ($100,000) for this purpose and in 1925 the bond issue was passed due to the support of the black community.

On February 9, 1931, the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes opened under the administration of the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville, for the purpose of meeting the higher education needs of the black community. With 6 faculty members, under the instruction of Dr. Rufus Clement as Dean, the school offered a four year liberal arts curriculum and had a inaugural class of 83 students.

The Louisville Municipal College was one of only three liberal arts colleges for African Americans established in the United States at that time and operated for 20 years, with Florence Johnson as its first graduate and graduating more than 500 students by the time it closed in 1952.

Louisville Municipal College for Negroes
(Courtesy of University of Louisville 

Archives & Special Collections)

Reference List:
Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (U of K)

University of Louisville Database on Louisville Municipal College

The University of Louisville By Dwayne D. Cox, William J. Morison