LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 10, 2013) — UofL officials and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on May 14 will unveil the first of 12 markers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of passage of the public accommodations law.
The public ceremony will start at 3:30 p.m. at Fourth and Guthrie streets — site of the marker that provides an overview of the early-1960s demonstrations and other actions taken to end segregation of downtown businesses. It also will refer to 11 markers that will be placed mostly along South Fourth Street and West Broadway throughout the rest of this year and 2014.
With the law’s passage in 1963, “access to public accommodations finally opened to everyone after years of pressure by the black community and other concerned citizens,” said John Ferré, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UofL. “The Public Accommodations Ordinance was a first for a southern city, and Louisville received national recognition for peaceful desegregation at a time when violence had erupted throughout the south.”
The marker project began two years ago when then-dean Blaine Hudson convened a meeting of university and community leaders to consider ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ordinance’s passage; Hudson, also a historian and civil rights activist, died earlier this year.
An advisory committee of scholars, historians and sit-in participants suggested the marker sites. Louisville artist Ed Hamilton designed the marker’s artwork.