A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

University of Louisville professor, civil rights champion Catherine Fosl wins 2020 Trustees Award

By Janet Cappiello University of Louisville Catherine Fosl, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies and founding director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research (ABI) in the University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences, is the recipient of the 2020 Trustees Award. The award, in its 31st year, is UofL’s most prestigious faculty award, recognizing faculty...

Al Cross: National shift makes Booker the Senate candidate of the moment, at least for now

It is easy for some to say that the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd was an outlier, not representative of his own department, much less police in general. But he was representative enough – of a streak in police, and in society, that still regards people of color as second-class beings, not worthy of full respect. It is a poisonous streak, one that keeps America from overcoming...

Nathaniel Jones, retired federal judge and civil rights icon, died Sunday at his home in Cincinnati

Staff report Nathaniel Jones, a retired federal judge and civil rights icon, died Sunday morning of congestive heart failure at his home in East Walnut Hills. He was 93. Judge Jones lived in Cincinnati and distinguished himself as a lawyer, judge, public servant and community-engaged citizen throughout his stellar career. He was a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1979 until...

Kentucky felons among those gaining a voice as more states move to restore voting rights

Matt Vasilogambros Pew Charitable Trusts A mistake Rynn Young made decades ago, when he was just a teenager, cost him the right to vote. Twenty-one years after his drug possession conviction, he got his ballot back when newly elected Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order last month restoring voting rights to nonviolent felons after release. “It’s been a very long time...

Constance Alexander: Ideas abound for columns, as does thirst for justice, especially for accessibility

Fifty columns, averaging about 700 words each, add up to 35,000 words for “Main Street” 2019. Readers ask if coming up with topics is difficult, and the answer is no. In fact, there is too much to write about; ideas abound. In the past few years, “Main Street” has showcased examples of Accessibility, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA, one of America’s most comprehensive...

Transylvania University to host off-Broadway production of play about graduate, gay-rights pioneer

Transylvania University next month will host an off-Broadway production highlighting the accomplishments of John E. Fryer, a ’57 graduate who helped remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Running May 16-19, “217 Boxes of Dr. Henry Anonymous” is coming to Lexington and the Transy campus through contributions by Transylvania alumni, JustFundKY, Rainmaker...

Commentary: Consensus emerging behind reforming Kentucky’s troubled criminal justice system

By Dave Adkisson and Jason Bailey Special to KyForward Kentucky’s skyrocketing incarceration trendlines are bringing worry lines to legislators’ faces in Frankfort.  There is, however, a growing consensus and hope among various stakeholder groups, including jailers, the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, civil rights advocates, prosecutors, think tanks, the business community and other...

ACLU of Kentucky prepares to fight back as religion becomes more prominent in state’s schools

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service A leading civil rights group says a new effort to have the motto “In God We Trust” displayed in Kentucky’s public schools is just the latest in a string of attempts to bring religion into the classroom. State Rep. Brandon Reed (R) of Hodgenville has pre-filed a bill that would require public schools to display the motto in a location of prominence,...

Hundreds march in Frankfort to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on anniversary of his assassination

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Hundreds of Kentuckians honored the late Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, rallying on the same spot where the civil rights leader led a civil rights march in 1964. “They marched for justice and equality, for equal protection under just laws,” said Crystal DeGregory, a professor at nearby Kentucky State University. “They marched for...

Three historic Kentucky locations included on U.S. Civil Rights Trail launching on Martin Luther King Day

Visitors can literally walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, John Lewis and other African American activists, thanks to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail that launches on King’s birthday. For the first time, Southern tourism departments have worked together to link the country’s most important civil rights sites – more than 130 landmarks, including museums,...

Bevin signs order to reinstate voting, public office rights to 284 prior offenders

Gov. Matt Bevin has signed an order to restore the right to vote and hold public office to 284 more prior offenders who have completed their respective sentences and have applied for restoration of their civil rights. The orders are pending final background reviews by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. They exclude individuals convicted of violent or sex crimes, bribery or treason. They...

Bevin restores right to vote, hold public office to certain groups of convicted felons

Gov. Matt Bevin restored the right to vote and hold public office to certain offenders who have completed their respective sentences and have applied for restoration of their civil rights. The orders exclude individuals convicted of violent or sex crimes, bribery or treason. “We have always been a nation of second chances,” said Bevin. “The criminal justice system should not exist...

More Than a Game: New book explores impact of civil rights movement through lens of forgotten school

Basketball is a crucial aspect of the Kentucky identity, and while those outside the state primarily witness the competition as between opposing college or professional teams, high school basketball has formed a core component of the sport’s presence since the establishment of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Boys Basketball Championship in 1918. In 1960, that championship would...

Billy Reed: King, Ali provided voices of both reason and revolution during turbulent times

From humble beginnings in the segregated South, they grew up to become the disparate voices of Black America in the 1960s, the dark and defining era when the nation was ripped asunder by two wars – one in the steamy jungles of Vietnam, the other in the streets and backroads of the Deep South. When Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville on Jan. 17, 1942, Martin Luther King Jr. was in Atlanta,...

Lexington’s historic Davis Bottom neighborhood now chronicled through new online tool

A new educational resource about Lexington’s historic Davis Bottom neighborhood is now available online to students, parents and teachers at http://arch.as.uky.edu/. The on-line resource of innovative lessons is linked to two murals featured in the award-winning documentary Davis Bottom, Rare History, Valuable Lives. Developed with Kentucky teachers in mind, the 11 stand-alone lesson sets engage...

Possible unintended consequences prompts governor to veto Religious Freedom Act

Gov. Steve Beshear today vetoed House Bill 279 – the Religious Freedom Act – noting its well-placed intentions but possible significant unintended consequences.   “Religious freedom is a cornerstone of this great nation, and a right enshrined in both the United States Constitution and the Kentucky Constitution,” said Beshear. “I value and cherish our rights to religious freedom...

Robert Treadway: As we celebrate MLK, remember also those who marched with him

On March 5, 1964, a cold rainy day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., led a peaceful march on the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort. The Kentucky General Assembly was in session at the time and was considering a civil rights bill that would have effectively ended segregation in private accommodations in Kentucky.   I know the weather that day because my friend Calvert McCann, who marched with Dr. King in...