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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Individual liberal interest groups functioned in Louisville, but there was no liberal community

Though Post found local individuals willing to help her fight injustice, she insists that there was no liberal community in Louisville. Instead, there were separate interest groups who often did not even know about each other.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Suzanne Post, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0178. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SARAH THUESEN:
Aside from the ACLU work you were doing, you also were the founder of Kentucky's pro-ERA—
SUZANNE POST:
Alliance. I have really created here four organizations of which I'm very proud. The ACLU was moribund when I took it over. There hadn't been a director for a long time. It was moribound, didn't exist. So there was that one. There was the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which is still operative. There is the Reproductive Freedom Project and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition. So I'm an entrepreneur. The pro-ERA alliance was really fun. It was an organizing job and that's what all that was. I did it pretty much the same way I did MHC [Metropolitan Housing Coalition]. You go to these organizations and ask them to endorse it and send a representative and you call demonstrations and you try to get them to get their members out. It was not hard.
SARAH THUESEN:
So in general, you felt like the progressive community in Louisville was fairly united behind you in that effort?
SUZANNE POST:
The pro-ERA alliance?
SARAH THUESEN:
Yeah.
SUZANNE POST:
Not at all.
SARAH THUESEN:
Oh, so by saying it wasn't hard—
SUZANNE POST:
It wasn't hard, but it wasn't the progressive community I was trying to organize, because the progressive community really was much more into racial justice than gender justice. Anne, I don't think she really was a feminist. I don't think the Kentucky Alliance, of which I was a charter member, really gave much thought to gender justice. It's all racial. It was all racial. And God knows, there's so much. We've got so many racial justice problems here. I did, while I was with the ACLU, when I was president, convene the first civilian police review board, which was just amazing. We had, as members of that group, the ACLU, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Black Panther Party, and NAACP, the Kentucky Alliance. There were like nine groups, Church Women United. And the white groups were in because back in '69, white kids with long hair in the East End were getting hassled by the cops and their parents didn't like it one bit. So that sort of brought it all together. It was fun.
SARAH THUESEN:
So you created that board in what year?
SUZANNE POST:
'68 or '69.
SARAH THUESEN:
Okay, right on the heels of that.
SUZANNE POST:
Yeah, and then I started organizing in the gay community, because they were having a terrible time. So I don't think there's a community around except the Christian fundamentalists.
SARAH THUESEN:
You mean, you don't really see a coherent progressive community? There are lots of different ones, is that what you mean?
SUZANNE POST:
It's gotten more mutually supportive so that when there's a gay and lesbian problem, you'll get the ACLU out and the Fellowship of Reconciliation out. If NOW exists at this moment, NOW will get out. That's gotten much better. I tried to do what you're suggesting when I was working. I guess I was still at the ACLU. I tried to pull together a coalition of civil rights groups and it was the NAACP, the ACLU, NOW, FOR, three or four other groups. It just never gelled. I really felt that we should have more communication among us on a regular basis, so I did try to do that. It just didn't happen. The time wasn't right. I think it will happen at some point in the future; I don't know when.