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When asked to describe domestic protest in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, people often invoke images of men and women carrying placards or burning draft cards. These well-known pictures create a story of social change that moves along a continuum from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955–1956 to the Kent State protests in 1970. However, participants know that history is far more complicated. As an educator and an activist, Cleveland Sellers walked the front lines of the civil rights movement, but he rightly believes studies of the past have ignored the complexities of the history he lived. “By flattening timelines, intricacies, and details, the traditional narrative [1954–1968] distorts and oversimplifies the freedom struggle,” he argues. “There is no community-based view of how individual localities produced indigenous, homegrown action—with as much local flair as rice dishes or barbecue—that was able to merge with the larger movement taking shape across the South.”1 Some American [End Page 575] citizens challenged authorities to be more democratic and accepting, and believed that citizen-led protests were a necessary and important way to push their agendas forward. The struggles of these grassroots activists to seize an equal place in American life have too often been ignored in favor of more sweeping accounts that focus on leaders rather than those on the front lines of these momentous events. Although Kentuckians were not as active in direct-action protests as their more-celebrated (and studied) brothers and sisters, they participated in a variety of movements to change local, state, and national policies and practices. Kentuckians organized for civil rights, Black Power, against and for the Vietnam War, for women’s rights, for gay and lesbian rights, and for expanded economic justice.

Investigations of the intersections of movements will provide fruitful results and help us to understand how individuals and groups worked together (or against one another) for social change around Kentucky, the nation, and the world. Because no individual or organization is truly single-issue motivated (even when they say they are) exploring how civil rights groups interacted with feminist organizations, for example, in the Bluegrass State, or the South more generally, will highlight movement cultures, shared identities, and the struggles of individuals to find places for activism. Moreover, it will shed light on the discursive and dialectic nature of activism in the twentieth century and place Kentuckians and their activism within historiographical narratives.

The civil rights struggle in Kentucky has been explored by scholars. Yet, most studies of the civil rights movement in Kentucky have fallen into the familiar and unsatisfying pattern of hagiography of specific leaders. Although biographies of Whitney Young Jr., Georgia Powers, and Anne Braden, for example, highlight the contributions of individual citizens, they also leave local, grassroots activism in Kentucky understudied, oversimplified, and largely undiscovered.2 [End Page 576]

Unlike the Deep South, Kentucky did not experience mass protest or overwhelming violence toward civil rights activists. Nonetheless, the civil rights movement existed in Kentucky and deserves to be explored. Much of the historiography on the civil rights movement in Kentucky centers on the African American experience in Louisville or on the interactions between whites and blacks around direct-action events, such as sit-ins and marches. Tracy K’Meyer’s Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South offers important insights into the organizing tradition in Louisville and could be a model for research into other communities around the state. In particular, K’Meyer’s excellent oral histories highlight the unique position of Louisville during the civil rights movement.3

The integration of schools in Kentucky provides another avenue for distinguishing the state from the Deep South, as Governor Albert B. “Happy” Chandler used the Kentucky National Guard to ensure order in Sturgis, one of the few towns where white protest erupted. In that small town in the western part of the state, an integration battle in 1956 demonstrated the somewhat accomodationist principles on the part of the white political leadership in the commonwealth. The events in Sturgis and school integration outside of Louisville remain largely unexplored.

Local branches of national civil rights organizations in Kentucky have received some attention. Gerald Smith’s work on the Congress of Racial Equality around the state is fascinating and provides a window into movement culture in a state that is often ignored in the larger [End Page 577] historiography of southern civil rights. Moreover, a monograph or long article on the 1964 march on Frankfort (organized locally, but featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson as speakers), in support of a Kentucky Civil Rights Act (not signed until 1966) would be a welcome addition to Kentucky historiography. The Kentucky Oral History Commission’s Civil Rights Oral History online database and media bank are excellent starting points for a larger project.4

Although some study of traditional civil rights activism has been undertaken, Black Power in Kentucky has been grossly understudied. Black Power rhetoric and organizing developed over the course of the twentieth century and found its voice in the mid-to-late 1960s. Rooted in the separatism of Marcus Garvey and the direct action of A. Philip Randolph, Black Power was the perception among young African American students that the mainstream civil rights movement was moving too slowly in terms of improvement in the lived experiences of lower- and middle-class African Americans throughout the country.5

Black Power gained mainstream attention in June 1966, when Stokely Carmichael gave an impassioned speech in Greenwood, Mississippi, only hours after being released from jail. Carmichael exclaimed, “I ain’t going to jail no more,” and asked the crowd of six hundred: “what do we want?” The crowd chanted back, “Black Power.” Black Power, according to Carmichael and those who associated themselves with the movement, was the democratic notion of [End Page 578] full “political, economic, and cultural self-determination” for African Americans.6 Although often viewed as the antithesis of the Dr. King–led, traditional civil rights movement, Black Power was a continuation of King’s principles, though focused on more direct, local, and political goals. In popular culture, Black Power quickly became associated with political separatism and violence, as black and white media outlets seized on Carmichael and other Black Power advocates’ lack of clear messaging. Black Power was purposefully constructed as vague, so local organizers could adapt the term to their unique situations. This vagueness also allowed for the erasure of nuance and the focus on violence to dominate historical and popular notions of Black Power.7

Whether viewed as a corruption, continuation, or disruptive element of the black freedom struggle, the Black Power movement in Kentucky deserves attention. Historian Peniel Joseph argues that Black Power must be examined at the local level, because “local conditions and the extent to which militant activists politically adapted to these circumstances indelibly shaped” the movement.8 An exploration of the Louisville Black Workers Coalition, which was offered membership in the Oakland Black Panther Party in 1972, an examination of student activism around black studies programs on college campuses in the state, and the role of black soldiers on Kentucky’s military bases all remain to be undertaken.9 Often characterized as a northern [End Page 579] and western movement, Black Power activism existed alongside and among the traditional civil rights localities of the South. Historians should investigate how Black Power affected and influenced activism in Kentucky, where middle-class, conservative leaders dominate the historiography. Questions about backlash, cross-racial dialogue, local and national conversations, and geography can shed new light on Kentucky’s past, as shown in Tracy K’Meyer’s article on Black Power in Neighborhood Rebels. Recent monograph-length scholarship by Donna Murch (on Oakland, California), Matthew Countryman (Philadelphia), and Hasan Jeffries (Lowndes County, Alabama) are excellent models for local historiographic interventions into Black Power scholarship and build on the groundbreaking works of William Chafe, John Dittmer, and Charles Payne.10 Murch, Countryman, and Jeffries use specific locations to explore the ways grassroots movements provided new and creative avenues for organizing. Moreover, by focusing on the local context and important actors who have largely been ignored, these historians help to emphasize local activists in the historiography. Further, by focusing on Black Power at the local level, variations in rhetoric and principles can be fully fleshed out. Murch and Jeffries are especially good at highlighting the competing notions of Black Power in Oakland and Lowndes County and the national coverage of the movement.

Beyond localities, specific actions also deserve attention. Heavyweight [End Page 580] champion Muhammad Ali is an especially interesting place to start. Ali, born Cassius Clay in Louisville’s West End, won the 1960 Olympic medal for boxing. Ali was brash, outspoken, and braggadocious regarding his accomplishments. Yet, his talent was undeniable and he garnered a large fan base throughout the country. In 1965, with the help of his friend and mentor Malcolm X, Ali converted to Islam, first as a follower of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam and eventually as a Sunni Muslim.11 Ali’s decision to refuse his draft notice and not to step forward in May 1967 inspired many black antiwar organizers and helped bridge the gap between antiwar groups and civil rights groups that opposed the draft. Civil rights groups argued that movement work counted as service to the nation and should result in draft deferments.

Civil rights workers also applied for conscientious objector (CO) status, thus protecting them from draft notices. However, CO applications were often denied or rescinded, as draft boards sought to quiet or punish “dangerous” individuals.12 In Kentucky, Ali’s CO-status petition, based on his ministry in the Nation of Islam, was denied by the Louisville draft board, and the denial was reaffirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In his appeals, Ali and his lawyers argued that the Louisville board had no black members and thus was discriminatory and “illegally constituted.”13 In 1971, Ali’s case was overturned by the Supreme Court in an 8–0 decision, because the [End Page 581] Louisville draft board had failed to provide reasoning for denying Ali’s CO status. Ali’s draft plight mirrored many less-heralded draft resisters throughout the country, but especially in the South, who received their induction notices from draft boards that did not reflect the racial makeup of the county or denied deferments for civil rights advocates.14 The plight of Ali and other high-profile draft resisters has overshadowed the stories of local, individual acts of draft evasion and resistance, including those of Joseph T. Mulloy of the Appalachian Volunteers.15 Using the Louisville draft board records, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals draft cases, and oral histories, a rich narrative of resistance in Kentucky could be created.

Kentucky’s military bases were home to thousands of soldiers and their families during the height of the Vietnam War. Some of those soldiers were active in organizations attempting to end the war. Although an article on antiwar activity in Louisville touches on the coffeehouse movement (particularly Anne Braden’s role), no one has written on the soldiers themselves. Coffeehouses were opened as antiwar recruiting grounds where soldiers could meet antiwar activists who assisted them in getting discharged, sheltered AWOL (absent without leave) military personnel, and provided antiwar literature, fellowship, and an organizing outlet. These coffeehouses were active throughout the country and were often located close to bases and recruiting offices. Local authorities and base personnel worked diligently to shut the coffeehouses down and often arrested “draft dodgers” in these establishments.16 [End Page 582]

At Fort Knox, soldiers produced an underground newspaper, FTA (Fun Travel Adventure in print, but actually Fuck the Army), and a group of soldiers refused to participate in “riot” suppression in Louisville in 1970, while other soldiers fought to ease uniform and hairstyle requirements.17 Soldiers stationed in Kentucky, along with men and women throughout the country (Fort Bragg, Fort Lewis, and Fort Hood to name a few) refused to serve in various ways. Understanding why soldiers refused to serve, the role nonmilitary Kentuckians played in assisting military personnel through extralegal means of subversion, and how men sought to circumvent their orders would allow historians to place Kentucky GI’s in conversation with their counterparts across the country. Instead of viewing the state as solely conservative and pro-war, such work would help to illustrate the diversity of opinions and the actions of underappreciated historical actors in Kentucky.

In addition to new works on grassroots activism, historians should reexamine state political leaders as well. Republican senator John Sherman Cooper needs much more attention from historians. No new work on Cooper has appeared in twenty-five years, and what is available pays little attention to Cooper’s anti-Vietnam votes and bills. In terms of social movements and particularly antiwar activism in the United States, Cooper and colleague Frank Church (an Idaho Democrat) sponsored antiwar amendments from 1969 to 1972, and Cooper spoke a strong truth to power within the Senate chamber, challenging his own party on the war, funding, the draft, and the use of incendiary weapons. Investigations of Cooper’s motivations for that activism, especially work utilizing the John Sherman Cooper Oral History Project and Cooper’s papers stored at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and in Special Collections at the University of Kentucky (UK) is needed. Moreover, the Cooper files contain thousands of pro- and antiwar letters written to Cooper from all over the commonwealth (and the United States) during his terms as [End Page 583] senator. These letters could serve as the basis for an initial investigation into the sentiments of ordinary Kentuckians regarding the war and its role in their lives. Questions about Cooper’s motivations, his responses to his constituents, and the role of the citizens of Kentucky in antiwar activism all deserve exploration. Moreover, analysis of Kentuckians’ views of the war, its effects on the lived experiences of the commonwealth’s citizens, and reactions to antiwar demonstrations is necessary to understand political dissent.18

Although much of the scholarship on the Vietnam era focuses on antiwar activism, work on pro-war Americans is still in its nascent stage. Sandra Scanlon’s The Pro-War Movement argues that pro-war advocates helped shape the rise of conservative politicians following the Vietnam War. Studies on pro-war Kentuckians’ political alignments and realignments during the Vietnam War and after, their reliance on or proximity to military bases, and their feelings about the war would help set the stage for understanding the rise of modern conservatism in Kentucky.19 Along with other excellent regional work on the rise of conservative politics in the 1970s and 1980s, these avenues of exploration could serve as a basis for understanding Kentucky’s role in the new Republican Party on a national and regional level.

As for college protesters, a scholarly investigation of the burning of the University of Kentucky Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) building in the wake of President Nixon’s expansion of the war into Cambodia (May 1970), which may or may not have been an act of arson, would tie in to excellent histories that explore campus activism, especially the deaths of four students at Kent State University, the Orangeburg Massacre at South Carolina State College, the Jackson State University shootings, and the student occupations at Columbia University in 1968.20 The Nunn Center at UK has an [End Page 584] extensive collection of interviews, photographs, and transcripts from the subsequent investigation into the fire. Scholars should consider the spontaneity of the event, the reactions of the student body at large, and changes in administration policy toward student activism.

Beyond the Vietnam War, few scholars have examined student activism in Kentucky, even as college students continue to be agents of change in local, county, and state organizations throughout the commonwealth. Investigating student groups and their roles in campus and community events could expose new junctures of activism and help to add stories from Kentucky colleges to the narrative of institutional changes occurring throughout the 1960s and 1970s around the country, as the university itself became a more democratic place. Interdisciplinary work that brings together archival material, witness accounts, and higher-education-policy scholarship would make a compelling story of campus change over time. Moreover, a comparative study of activism at the state’s major colleges and universities may provide especially important context and variations of change across the region.21

The push for civil rights, Black Power, and to end the Vietnam War were also present in activism directed at economic security. Lyndon Johnson’s landmark War on Poverty initiative brought about a plethora of new social programs to address poverty at the local level. Johnson envisioned a series of programs through which individuals, with the assistance of federal money, would help better their communities. These community-action agencies deserve more attention because they can help us understand poverty eradication, personal politics, and movement culture. Thomas Kiffmeyer’s Reformers to [End Page 585] Radicals is an excellent model for such research on eastern Kentucky and for how to use specific organizations to understand local issues. Kiffmeyer’s focus on the Appalachian Volunteers and their radicalization in the local environment is a key way to understand the changes the War on Poverty brought to Kentucky. Individual War on Poverty programs, including Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Head Start, Community Action Council, Job Corps, and others in the state, all need attention from scholars. A comparison of a program such as Head Start in multiple locations in the state would highlight the localized issues of poverty and power. Moreover, by comparing programs across the state, the War on Poverty model itself would become clearer. Questions about community effectiveness, government support, and grassroots efforts could be explored.22

War on Poverty workers often worked in conjunction with other movements, which further demonstrates the intersectional nature of American activism. As the Vietnam War drew funds away from antipoverty programs, War on Poverty volunteers demanded President Johnson keep his “guns and butter” promise. In Mayflower, Mississippi, parents and Head Start volunteers begged the president and Sargent Shriver (head of several War on Poverty initiatives) to maintain funding for their Head Start Program, instead of bombing Vietnam.23 Mayflower, Mississippi, was not the only place that civil rights, antiwar, and War on Poverty activists overlapped. Using Susan Youngblood Ashmore’s Carry it On (Selma, Alabama), Wesley G. Phelps’s A People’s War on Poverty (Houston, Texas), and Annelise Orleck’s Storming Caesar’s Palace (Las Vegas, Nevada) as models, Kentucky historians should explore the connections between various movements and the War on Poverty. Historians should look beyond Louisville and eastern Kentucky to towns in western and northern Kentucky in order to enrich both our geographical and cultural [End Page 586] understanding of the time. Records at the local, state, and federal level will all be necessary, and a focus on oral histories and grassroots narratives will help highlight the tension present in many War on Poverty organizations.24

The War on Poverty is often seen as a failure because it did not live up to its stated goals of ending poverty in our time. Now fifty years removed from its introduction, it is imperative that historians begin to chronicle change over time in the programs. Historians should look at the way local leaders massaged government regulations to suit the needs of their communities. Other avenues of possible exploration include local corruption of organizations, positive outcomes, community empowerment over time, and the long-term influence these organizations had on communities. Because there is still immense pressure on the state and federal governments to reform the economy and culture of eastern Kentucky, understanding where and how the War on Poverty worked and did not work is vital.25

We have excellent scholarship on the contributions of individual women to the commonwealth in the early twentieth century.26 However, Kentucky women’s social-justice activism and informed, radical dissent throughout the latter half of the twentieth century remains largely unexplored. In Lexington, a rich community of feminists, anti-violence workers, and lesbian activists believed they were infiltrated [End Page 587] by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while women throughout the state organized in support of and against the federal Equal Rights Amendment.27 Carol Jordan’s Violence Against Women in Kentucky is an important contribution to the literature on domestic abuse in Kentucky and nationally. Maybe more importantly, Jordan highlights the people behind antiviolence legislation in Kentucky. Jordan’s work provides only vignettes of women’s activism but is a necessary starting point to understanding women’s antiviolence activism in Kentucky.28 More work on women’s community involvement, political activism, and support networks would add voices to a growing literature on gender and class activism in the South and throughout the United States. Moreover, studies of women’s participation in politics and the social and economic issues that motivated women’s political action would help illuminate the intersectional nature of activism in Kentucky.29

Movements for social, political, and economic rights also intersected with the gay and lesbian rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. Much like the women’s movement, the gay and lesbian rights movement was influenced by civil rights and Black Power organizing. Gays and lesbians sought political and social freedoms in a society that was highly oppressive and often violent toward “sexual deviants.” Catherine Fosl’s article in Ohio Valley History explores the nation’s first lesbian marriage case, which took place in Louisville in 1970. Kate Black and Marc A. Rhorer’s contribution to the anthology Out in the South also highlights gay Appalachian youth who moved to [End Page 588] Lexington in the late twentieth century. These two essays could provide the basis for monograph-length explorations of gay identity and politics in Kentucky throughout the twentieth century. In light of the ban on gay marriage in Kentucky (and the 2014 court decision to overturn the ban), more work on citizenship, marriage, and property rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities is needed.30 At the local level, an investigation into the ways gays and lesbians circumvented laws, worked to get fairness legislation passed, and chose to migrate or stay in the state would all be fruitful.31

Kentuckians’ grassroots activism changed the political, social, and economic landscape of the state and helped shape the region and nation. The efforts of activists need to be explored alongside and among the better-known movements throughout the country, so that we have a more nuanced view of the pivotal, citizen-led shifts in the middle decades of the twentieth century. With many of the movements discussed in this piece still relevant today, it is imperative that historians begin to mine and uncover the social movements of the past, so that contemporary activists and students can build on, and not repeat, the efforts of their forefathers and foremothers. [End Page 589]

Amanda L. Higgins

AMANDA L. HIGGINS earned her PhD from the University of Kentucky in 2013. Her dissertation, “Instruments of Righteousness: The Intersection of Black Power and Anti–Vietnam War Activism in the United States, 1964–1972,” argues that Black Power must be understood in the context of the Vietnam War and the Black Power activists shaped their domestic and international agendas around antiwar rhetoric. Dr. Higgins lives and teaches in central Kentucky.


1. Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., “Black Power and the Freedom Movement in Retrospect,” in Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s, ed. Robert Cohen and David J. Snyder (Baltimore, Md., 2013), 280–305 (quotations are from 283).

2. Catherine Fosl, Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South (Lexington, Ky., 2006); Dennis Dickerson, Militant Mediator: Whitney M. Young, Jr. (Lexington, Ky., 1998); Anne B. Onyekwuluje, Historical Influence: Reading Georgia Powers as a Grassroots Civil Rights Leader in the Rough Business of Kentucky Politics (Lanham, Md., 2011); John Ernst and Yvonne Baldwin, “The Not So Silent Minority: Louisville’s Antiwar Movement, 1966–1975,” Journal of Southern History 73 (Feb. 2007): 105–42; Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past,” Journal of American History 91(March 2005): 1233–63.

3. Tracy E. K’Meyer, Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky, 1945–1980 (Lexington, Ky., 2009). Other examples of civil rights historiography on Louisville include: Luther Adams, Way Up North in Louisville: African American Migration in the Urban South, 1930–1970 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2010); Tracy E. K’Meyer, From Brown to Meredith: The Long Struggle for School Desegregation in Louisville, Kentucky, 1954–2007 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2013); Catherine Fosl and Tracy E. K’Meyer, Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky (Lexington, Ky., 2009).

4. Kentucky’s Black Heritage (Frankfort, Ky., 1971), 109; Gerald L. Smith, “Direct-Action Protests in the Upper South: Kentucky Chapters of the Congress of Racial Equality,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (hereinafter Register) 109 (Summer/Autumn 2011): 351–93; “Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project,” Kentucky Oral History Commission,; Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, DVD, Kentucky Oral History Commission, KET, 2009; Kentucky Media Bank, “1964 Civil Rights March on Frankfort,” Kentucky Oral History Commission, 2014,

5. Amanda L. Higgins, “Instruments of Righteousness: The Intersections of Black Power and Anti–Vietnam War Activism in the United States, 1964–1972” (PhD dissertation, University of Kentucky, 2013), 23–69; Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America (New York, 1967).

6. Peniel Joseph, Stokely: A Life (New York, 2014), 114–15 (quotations); Aram Goudsouzian, Down to the Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Meredith March Against Fear (New York, 2014), 102, 141–43.

7. Carmichael and Hamilton, Black Power, xv–xvii, 34–57.

8. Peniel Joseph, “Introduction,” in Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level, ed. Peniel Joseph (New York, 2009), 5.

9. Louis Jennings to Huey P. Newton, January 9, 1972, and Huey P. Newton to Louis Jennings, January 17, 1972, Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation Files, folder 5, box 53, series 2, Green Library, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; Tracy E. K’Meyer, “Empowerment, Consciousness, Defense: The Diverse Meanings of the Black Power Movement in Louisville, Kentucky,” in Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level, 149–72; Patricia Rowland Bacon’s dissertation, “White Town/Black Gown: The Role of Kentucky State College in the Desegregation of Frankfort, Kentucky, 1945–1962” (University of Kentucky, 2004); and Erica NicCole Johnson’s dissertation “Lifting as We Climb: Experiences of Black Diversity Officers at Three Predominantly White Institutions in Kentucky” (University of Kentucky, 2010) provide foundations for exploring college students, staff, and faculty reactions to integration, black studies, and black student affairs in Kentucky. Gerald L. Smith’s “Direct-Action Protests in the Upper South: Kentucky Chapters of the Congress of Racial Equality” is an excellent model for moving the discussion from a national to a local context in Kentucky and for tracing the rise and fall of a national organization’s local chapters.

10. Joseph, “Introduction,” 1–19; Donna Jean Murch, Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2010); Matthew J. Countryman, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 2005); Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt (New York, 2010); Joseph, ed., Neighborhood Rebels; William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York, 1980); John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana, Ill., 1995); Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (Berkeley, Calif., 1995).

11. Muhammad Ali, with Richard Durham, The Greatest: My Own Story (New York, 1975); David Remnick, King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero (New York, 1999).

12. John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was given a CO classification, but his CO status was reviewed after SNCC issued its January 1966 statement against the Vietnam War. Lewis’s local draft board reclassified him from 1-O (conscientious objector) to 4-F (physically, mentally, or morally unfit to serve). Other SNCC leaders, including Julian Bond and Stokely Carmichael, were also denied CO deferments and were instead labeled 4-F. See Higgins, “Instruments of Righteousness,” 126–41; John Lewis, with Michael D’Orso, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement (Boston, 1999).

13. Higgins, “Instruments of Righteousness,” 130–36, 142 (quotation); Kimberley L. Phillips, War! What is it Good For?: Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2012), 210–12; “Ali (Clay) Renews Action to Halt Army Induction,” Chicago Defender, March 22, 1967; Michael S. Foley, Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2003).

14. Clay aka Ali v. the United States 403 U.S. 968 (1971); Howard L. Bingham, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight: Cassius Clay v. the United States of America (New York, 2000).

15. Joseph T. Mulloy, interview by Thomas Kiffmeyer, November 10, 1990, War on Poverty Oral History Project, App028, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky (hereinafter UK); Anne Braden to A. D. King, February 13, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, (accessed December 4, 2013). Letters and correspondence between Mulloy and Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbey are also held at the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky.

16. Ernst and Baldwin, “The Not So Silent Minority”; David L. Parsons, “Dangerous Grounds: The American GI Coffeehouse Movement, 1967–1972” (PhD dissertation, City University of New York, 2013); David Contright, Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance during the Vietnam War (Chicago, 2005), 53–58.

17. Higgins, “Instruments of Righteousness,” 116–18.

18. Richard Clayton Smoot, “John Sherman Cooper: The Paradox of a Liberal Republican in Kentucky Politics” (PhD dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1988); Robert Schulman, John Sherman Cooper: The Global Kentuckian (Lexington, Ky., 1976); Clarice James Mitchiner, Senator John Sherman Cooper: Consummate Statesman (New York, 1976).

19. Sandra Scanlon, The Pro-War Movement: Domestic Support for the Vietnam War and the Making of Modern American Conservatism (Amherst, Mass., 2013).

20. Mitchell K. Hall, “‘A Crack in Time’: The Response of Students at the University of Kentucky to the Tragedy at Kent State, May 1970,” Register 83 (Winter 1985): 50–54; Gregg L. Michel, Struggle for a Better South: The Southern Student Organizing Committee, 1964–1969 (New York, 2004); Gary S. Sprayberry, “Student Radicalism and the Antiwar Movement at the University of Alabama,” in Rebellion in Black and White: Southern Student Activism in the 1960s, 148–70; Ibram H. Rogers, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972 (New York, 2012).

21. “1970 University of Kentucky Student Protest Oral History Project,” Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History, UK, (accessed December 30, 2014).

22. Thomas Kiffmeyer, Reformers to Radicals: The Appalachian Volunteers and the War on Poverty (Lexington, Ky., 2008).

23. White House Social Files 1963–1969, “Project Head Start,” folders 1-3 “M,” box 1707, Papers of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Texas.

24. Susan Youngblood Ashmore, Carry it On: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, 1964–1972 (Athens, Ga., 2008); Wesley G. Phelps, A People’s War on Poverty: Urban Politics and Grassroots Activists in Houston (Athens, Ga., 2014); Annelise Orleck, Storming Caesar’s Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty (New York, 2006).

25. Lyndon Baines Johnson, “Special Message to Congress Proposing a Nationwide War on the Sources of Poverty,” March 16, 1964, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964, Vol. 1 (Washington, D.C., 1965), 375–80; Ronald D Eller, Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 (Lexington, Ky., 2008); Bill Estep, “Impoverished Portion of Southeast Kentucky to get priority for federal money,” Lexington Herald-Leader, January 8, 2014; Rural Policy Research Institute, “Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Final Report to the Region,” Jan. 13, 2014,

26. For more on the historiography regarding women in early-twentieth-century Kentucky, see the article in this issue by Dana Caldemeyer.

27. The information on the FBI is based on conversations the author has been a part of with former and current women’s rights activists in Lexington, Kentucky, including faculty members at the University of Kentucky. See also Pam E. Goldman, “‘I am Kathy Power’: Expression of Radicalism in a Counterculture Community,” in No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest, ed. Kathleen M. Blee (New York, 1998), 19–37. Also see Nancy Baker’s article in this issue of the Register.

28. Carol E. Jordan, Violence Against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform (Lexington, Ky., 2014).

29. Bettye Collier-Thompson, Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Era (New York, 2001); Orleck, Storming Caesar’s Palace; Annelise Orleck and Lisa Gayle Hazirjian, eds., The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964–1980 (Athens, Ga., 2012).

30. On February 12, 2014, Judge John G. Heyburn II overturned the gay marriage ban in the state, arguing that the animus briefs failed to “withstand traditional rational basis review.” The state appealed Heyburn’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the bans on same-sex marriage in four states, including Kentucky. The 2–1 decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court, where it awaits review from the federal justices. Bourke v. Beshear 996 F. Supp. 2d 542 (2014); Lyle Denniston, “Sixth Circuit: Now, a split on same-sex marriage,” SCOTUSblog (Nov. 6, 2014, 4:50 PM), (accessed December 30, 2014).

31. Catherine Fosl, “It Could be Dangerous!: Gay Liberation and Gay Marriage in Louisville, Kentucky, 1970,” Ohio Valley History 12 (Spring 2012): 45–64; Kate Black and Marc A. Rhorer, “Out in the Mountains: Exploring Lesbian and Gay Lives,” in Out in the South, ed. C. L. Barney Dews and Carolyn Leste Law (Philadelphia, 2001), 16–25.

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