Suzy Post

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Suzy (Suzanne) Post, Louisville, Kentucky (1933-2019) is an award-winning civil rights activist in the struggle against discrimination and social injustice in Kentucky. She joined a student branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People while a student at Indiana University. She earned a degree in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley in 1955,[1] and returned to Kentucky in her late 20s to live near her extended family in Louisville.

Civil rights leadership[edit]

Ms. Post has been a social justice advocate since the 1950s when the Civil Rights Movement was first organized in Louisville. Sit-ins at segregated businesses were followed by the open housing movement which challenged the cultural norms in real estate transactions that kept homeowners separated by race and religion.

In 1969 Post became President of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union (later the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky).[2] The KCLU provided legal representation for those arrested at many open housing marches, and Post worked with others to raise bail before an open housing law was finally adopted.

While President of the KCLU, Post organized the first statewide women's conference and served as chair of the Kentucky Pro-Equal Rights Amendment Alliance. Representatives came from a cross section of Louisville's social justice community, and Mayor Harvey I. Sloane afterwards provided the Louisville-Jefferson County Human Relations Commission with funds to hire staff to monitor discrimination against women. Post worked for the local Commission for eight years. By 1972 the KCLU and the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights both filed a school desegregation lawsuit against the Louisville-Jefferson County Board of Education which led finally to the development of a controversial busing plan in 1975. As the mother of five children in public schools at that time, Post was seen by the group advised by Robert Sedler (KCLU's volunteer general counsel and tenured law professor at the University of Kentucky) to be the best candidate to serve as the plaintiff. By 1975 the court-ordered desegregation policy for the Jefferson County Public School system was one of the first in the country.[3] Post also monitored the educational institutions' compliance with Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination in education.[4] When she was elected to the National American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Board of Directors, she organized a women's caucus to improve the status of women on the national board, and directed the strategy planning in 1972 whereby the National ACLU made women's rights its top priority.

As part of the 1960s and 70s anti-war movement in Louisville, made famous by the nation's best-known dissident Muhammad Ali, Suzy Post mentored and sheltered soldiers going AWOL, draft protesters and other youth who opposed the war in Vietnam.[5]

As the chair of the KCLU she worked to protect the rights of the protesters, but also at times, along with other radicals like Anne and Carl Braden, broke the law personally by hiding soldiers fleeing from nearby Fort Knox. Providing space for meetings and access to printing machines, the Bradens and Post served as a sort of Underground Railroad for Kentuckians seeking to avoid military service in Vietnam.[6]

After leaving the Human Relations Commission in 1982, Post became the Director of KCLU. She stayed there until 1990 when she accepted a job as founding Director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (MHC) where she organized a Fair Housing Committee to monitor local compliance with fair housing law.[7] She resigned from MHC in 2006, and remains its Director Emeritus. She has received numerous awards from many state and local organizations, including the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame 2007. She remains a member of the NAACP, the ACLU of Kentucky, and the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.[8]

Currently, Ms. Post is a "connector" in the Leadership Louisville Center's Connector Project, recognizing her success in the past "and has the ability to create and influence change in the Louisville and Southern Indiana region."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Post, Suzy. Interview by Betsy Brinson. January 6, 1999. Catalog no. 20 B 1. "Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project," Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Ky. Accessed 16 September 2010. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  2. ^ Kentucky chapter of the ACLU formed in 1955 (formerly known as the KCLU) to defend the free speech rights of civil rights activists and those protesting the Cold War arms race and war, "Our History" American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. http://aclu-ky.org/content/view/51/108 Archived 2010-12-13 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed September 16, 2010.
  3. ^ Haycraft v. Board of Education of Louisville, No. 7291, Memorandum Opinion and Judgment (W.D. Ky. March 8, 1973), rev'd, 489 F.2d 925 (6th Cir. 1973) & 521 F.2d 578 (6th Cir. 1975). The controversy surrounding race-based decisions in placing students in Louisville's public schools continued in 2000 when the desegregation policy was overturned then challenged by five African-American students, leading to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education which ruled unconstitutional the use of race in determining assignment of students in Louisville's public school system.
  4. ^ Fosl, Catherine, and K'Meyer, Tracy E. Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2009.
  5. ^ Ernst, John, and Baldwin, Yvonne. "The Not So Silent Minority: Louisville's Antiwar Movement, 1966–1975," Journal of Southern History 73 (February 2007): 105-142.
    See also, Post, Suzy. Interview by John Ernst and Yvonne Baldwin. August 20, 1999. Kentuckians and Vietnam Oral History Project, Special Collections Camden Carroll Library, Morehead State University, Morehead, Ky.
  6. ^ Post, Suzy. Interview by Tracy E. K'Meyer. April 3, 2000. Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Ky.
  7. ^ Post, Suzy. "Community Monitoring and Title IX: The Why and How of a Title IX Monitoring Project," Integrated Education 16 (May–June 1978): 40-43.
  8. ^ McCarthy, Timothy Patrick. "Interview with Suzy Post." Journal for the Study of Radicalism 3.1 (2009): 145-173.

External links[edit]