Ron Billings, Louisville, Ky., (1945-2004):
Mr. Billings was a civil engineer
and artist who redesigned his home to accommodate access for his wheelchair. He
was a Disability rights advocate and former member of the Louisville and
Jefferson County Human Relations Commission. He fought for equal access for
disabled people to take Metro buses and advised the Louisville Zoo and the
Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center on accessibility issues for the handicapped.
Dr. Gertrude W. Coleman, Louisville, Ky., (1934-2007):
Dr. Coleman insisted
that black students be treated fairly during school integration and
argued against plans to bus African American students farther from their homes
than other students. She was the president of the Black Women for Political
Action during the 1970s and 1980s and served on the board of the Park
Duvall Health Center, where she fought for funding to help low-income people
obtain medical care.
Harry Eugene Fields, Owensboro, Ky., (1916-2000):
Mr. Fields was a chairman of
the Owensboro Human Relations Commission, a lifelong principal and educator,
member of the local NAACP and Habitat for Humanity who fought for understanding
and equality for all. He went to city hall with others in 1970 to improve
police/community relations but also spent time restoring the Greenwood Cemetery,
because he believed in treating those who had died with respect.
Gerry Gordon-Brown, Louisville, Ky. , (1940- ):
Ms. Gordon-Brown is an
advocate for Disability and Civil Rights. She participated with Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr. and others in the 1964 March on Frankfort. She also participated
in the 2004 Commemorative March on Frankfort that celebrated the 40th
anniversary of Rev. King's visit to Frankfort. Ms. Gordon-Brown has a hearing
impairment and has Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
Rev. Henry Wise Jones, Louisville, Ky., (1873-1954):
Rev. Henry Wise Jones
was the pastor of two historic churches in Kentucky: the Green Street Baptist
Church in Louisville and the Pleasant Green Baptist Church in Lexington. During
his 38-year tenure at the Green Street Baptist Church, the membership grew from
300 members to 1,200 members. Rev. Jones was chairman of the board of Simmons
University in Louisville.
President Abraham Lincoln, Hodgenville, Ky., (1809-1865):
guided the United States through the Civil War which was the bloodiest conflict
on American soil. Through all of the devastation, the president, who was born
poor in Kentucky, insisted that the country remain united. The president, after
meeting with such great leaders as Frederick Douglass, also insisted that
slavery be ended in the United States. His vision urged Congress to pass the
Tom Moffett, Louisville, Ky., (1924- ):
Mr. Moffett is a longtime member of
the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. He has supported
boycotts by the Justice Resource Center in Louisville and has fought racism,
sexism and police misconduct. He is a writer and historian who has sought to
educate others about oppression and discrimination.
Jack Moreland, Cold Spring, Ky., (1946- ):
Mr. Moreland, the superintendent
of Covington Independent Public Schools for more than seven years, is also a
former interim president of Northern Kentucky University and superintendent of
Dayton, Ky., Public Schools. While leading the Dayton School District, Mr.
Moreland helped usher in the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA), an
unprecedented law that changed the way public schools in the Bluegrass State are
funded, conducted and led.
Pamela Mullins, Covington, Ky., (1953- ):
Ms. Mullins began her career in the early 1980s, when she, among others, demanded that the Covington Board of Education adopt Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a holiday. Served for seven years on the Covington Board of Education. In 1997, she became the first black woman elected to the Covington City Commission. She introduced the ordinance that created the Covington Human Rights Commission.
Rosella French Porterfield, Elsmere, Ky., (1918-2004):
Mrs. Porterfield, the granddaughter of a slave, graduated with honors from Kentucky State College in Frankfort and joined the Erlanger-Elsmere School District in 1940, where she became the head teacher at Wilkins Heights, a school for African American children. In 1955, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were illegal, Mrs. Porterfield worked with district officials to integrate schools in Elsmere and Erlanger.
Suzy Post, Louisville, Ky. (1933- ):
Ms. Post has been a longtime advocate for civil and human rights in Louisville. She has served as president of the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, chair of the Kentucky Pro-Era Alliance and been a member of the NAACP Education Committee. Ms. Post has a degree in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Ms. Post has served as the program director of the Louisville-Jefferson County Human Relations Commission.
Dr. Donald E. Sands, Lexington, Ky., (1929- ):
Dr. Sands is a retired administrator, chemist and professor from the University of Kentucky. Besides his long career as an educator, Dr. Sands has served as a board member and president of the Central Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, where he helped establish a student chapter at the University of Kentucky in 2000. He has seen the Central Kentucky Civil Liberties Union triple its membership from 450 in 1999 to 1,290 in 2007.
Rev. William H. Sheppard, Louisville, Ky., (1865-1926):
Rev. Sheppard was pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Louisville from 1912 until his death in 1926. A son of former slaves, Rev. Sheppard was an early advocate of civil rights before the 20th Century. He fought for education, housing and freedom, both in America and abroad, including the Congo, where he served as a missionary and human rights advocate who fought colonial oppression.
Alice T. Shimfessel, Covington, Ky., (1901-1983):
Mrs. Shimfessel was a leader of the civil rights movement in Covington and Northern Kentucky during the 1950s and 1960s. She was the longtime president of the Covington chapter of the NAACP, the L.B. Fouse Civic League and was an official of the Congress of Racial Equality. Mrs. Shimfessel fought to integrate public schools and access to public accommodations, such as movie theaters, restaurants and department stores.
Isiah Smith, Covington, Ky., (1933-1998):
Mr. Smith was a community activist who fought for better education, health, housing, employment and recreation for blacks in Northern Kentucky. He was a longtime member and official of the local NAACP who organized programs to remember Martin Luther King Jr. He organized voters for Rev. Jesse Jackson's run for the presidency in the 1980s. He served on the boards of the Family Health Center and the Kenton County Library.
Elizabeth “Bettye” Thurmond, Hopkinsville, Ky. (1921-1989):
Bettye Thurmond became the second executive director of the Hopkinsville Human Relations Commission in 1974, a position she held for 10 years. Mrs. Thurmond and her husband, Hal Thurmond, are known for helping to integrate housing, lunch counters and public schools in Christian County. The Thurmonds endured cross burnings on their lawn, bomb threats and loss of business because of their support for civil rights.
Hal Thrumond, Hopkinsville, Ky. (1918-1971):
Hal Thurmond, a business leader in Hopkinsville, in 1964 was a founder and chair of the Hopkinsville Human Relations Commission. Mr. Thurmond was chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s Advisory Committee during the Eisenhower administration. Mr. Thurmond served as Gov. Happy Chandler’s representative on the Governor’s Conference on Civil Rights in 1959 and was a board member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Dr. William H. “Bill’’ Turner, Lexington, Ky., (1946- ):
Dr. Turner, a lifelong educator, former interim president of Kentucky State University and administrator at the University of Kentucky, helped found the Black Students Union at the University of Kentucky in 1968 and spent that year working with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. He attended a segregated school in the Eastern Kentucky coal town of Lynch but later earned his doctorate.
Carla Wallace, Prospect, Ky., (1957- ):
Ms. Wallace led a successful effort in 1999 as part of the Fairness Campaign to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under Louisville's Human Rights Ordinance. In 2002 she was arrested for protesting the fatal police shooting in Louisville of a handcuffed man. The Late activist Anne Braden has called Ms. Wallace one of the best civil rights organizers Louisville produced during the 20th century.
William English Walling, Louisville, Ky., (1877-1936):
A Louisville native, Mr. Walling spent his life fighting for civil rights and was a co-founder and first board chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Mr. Walling was the son of a Louisville doctor and attended schools in Louisville and Edindburgh, Scotland, where his father was an American consul. Mr. Walling received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1897.