Civil Rights Trail marks history in downtown Louisville

Civil Rights markers unveiled in Louisville
The markers were unveiled Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The markers were unveiled Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Charleen Holloway (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Charleen Holloway (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Metro Council President David Tandy (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Metro Council President David Tandy (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A trail of 11 markers representing civil rights demonstration spots in downtown Louisville were unveiled Monday night.

"You can't chart your future unless you know where you've been," NAACP Louisville chapter President Raoul Cunningham said.

The markers seen around downtown will serve as that history lesson for Louisville. But some people in attendance don't need a marker to tell them about the Civil Rights movement, because they we're in Louisville fighting for equal rights in 1959.

"We didn't know we would be marching into history. We just wanted the stores to be open to people of color to try on clothes and to go to the movie theater," Charleen Holloway said.

At just 13 years old, Holloway was put in jail for demonstrating for equal rights for African Americans. At that time, she remembers some stores not allowing black residents to try on or return clothes.

"I couldn't try on my Girl Scout uniform, but my dad bought it for me anyway," Holloway said. 

Holloway's actions brought change, made history and now 50 years later were marked with a monument right before her eyes.

"It's hard for me not to cry because to have you all here just means so much," Holloway said. 

All 26 Louisville Metro Council members pooled money from their neighborhood funds - about $18,000 - to help pay for the markers. They are hoping the markers will serve as a reminder for those who see them downtown.

"We have made progress we're continuing to make progress, but we still have a long way to go for equality and justice for all people," Metro Council President David Tandy said. 

The markers are the joint effort of the University of Louisville's College of Arts and Sciences, Louisville Metro Council, Louisville Downtown Partnership and Office of Mayor Greg Fischer. Locations of the Civil Rights Trail are available on a pamphlet at the Louisville Visitor's Center.

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