Kentucky's Civil Rights History Subject of Tuesday Night Talk
Posted on Monday, February 03, 2014 [9:55 PM]
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive Director John
J.Johnson -- pictured
in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in
Washington, D.C. -- will speak Feb. 4.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Kentucky's chief
civil rights officer will speak Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Lindsey Wilson
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Executive
Director John J. Johnson will speak at 7 p.m. CT on
Tuesday, Feb. 4, in W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall, 155
Blue Raider Drive. His talk is free and open to the
Johnson will speak about the commission, its
founding and its work over the last half-century. This spring marks
a seminal event in the history of the Kentucky civil rights
On March 5, the civil rights community will
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the of the Civil Rights
March on Frankfort.
The march -- which included the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr., former professional baseball player Jackie Robinson, and
the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary -- was credited as helping end
segregation and helped make Kentucky the first state south of the
Mason-Dixon Line to have a state civil rights law.
The march drew 10,000 people who marched to the
Capitol steps to protest discrimination against blacks in
restaurants, hotels and other public accommodations.
The march also helped build support for the U.S.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and helped result in the Kentucky Civil
Rights Act of 1966.
Johnson, 69, has been active in the human rights
movement since he was 18. He was one of the youngest presidents of
a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People when he was tapped for the position at 19 in his
hometown of Franklin, Ky.
Johnson also pushed for integration of city pools,
and he led the fight against an effort to name Lawrence A. Rainey
the head of Franklin's police department. Rainey was the sheriff of
Neshoba County, Miss., where he gained notoriety for his alleged
involvement with the deaths and cover-ups of three civil rights
workers. An alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan, Rainey was depicted
in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.
Johnson has monitored elections in South Africa;
helped oversee funeral arrangements for civil rights pioneer Rosa
Parks; and helped launch a much-praised NAACP voter-registration
Since 2007, Johnson has led the groundbreaking
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, which has its main offices in
Louisville and has the authority to investigate complaints of
discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations,
housing and financial transactions, based on race, color, age,
gender, nationality, disability, and religion, and in the area of
housing, also familial status.