Saturday May 3, 2003
Mayor Jerry Abramson and First District Councilwoman Denise Bentley today unveiled seven street signs in the Park DuValle neighborhood honoring the lives of seven of the community’s most influential African-Americans.
“Park DuValle is a model neighborhood for our entire community – an example of what we can do when we work together,” Abramson said during the unveiling. “It’s only fitting that we honor people who are models for our children and our community of what civic leaders can accomplish.
” The seven street signs honor prominent African-Americans, who left marks on diverse areas from education to medicine. Park DuValle was picked because the neighborhood has been transformed from a crime-ridden, impoverished area to a national model of mixed-income housing in West Louisville.
In 1994, then-Mayor Abramson, the Housing Authority of Louisville and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development developed a revitalization plan for the neighborhood with area residents. The revitalization effort represents an investment of more than $200 million from public and private sources.
“This neighborhood is known as the Villages of Park DuValle,” said Bentley, who led the street sign effort. “And just as it takes a village to raise a child, it’s important to show children in the West End that there are numerous examples of African-Americans who had a tremendously positive impact on the community as leaders in all walks of life.”
Those honored with street signs today included:
· William Beckett, an city of Louisville Alderman from 1951 to 1961 and owner of the W.W. Beckett Funeral Home. Beckett led efforts to integrate city facilities and organizations. Beckett died in 1963 at the age of 53
· Lyman T. Johnson, a civil rights activist and educator. Johnson was a long-time teacher, administrator and school board member. Johnson became the first black student to attend the University of Kentucky, enrolling in graduate classes in 1949 at the age of 43. He died in 1997 at the age of 91.
· Mae Street Kidd, a state legislator and civil rights leader. Kidd served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1968 to 1984, representing Louisville’s 41st District. Kidd sponsored legislation to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a state holiday and to provide open housing and low-income housing in Kentucky. Kidd died in 1999 at the age of 95.
· Lois Morris, a community activist and founder of the Louisville chapter of the National Council of Negro Women and National Black Women for Political Action. Morris also served three terms as a 12th Ward Alderman from 1969 to 1975 and wrote a column for the Louisville Defender called “Scribbling Socially.” She died in 1989 at the age of 69.
· Frank Stanley, Sr., a distinguished educator and journalist. Stanley was associated with the Louisville Defender for more than 40 years. He was a co-founder of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and a five-time president of the association. He died in 1974 at the age of 69.
· William E. Summers III, a community leader and broadcast owner. Summers became the first African-American to own a radio station in the state of Kentucky when he purchased WLOU in 1971. He was an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was active in a number of civic groups. Summers died in 1996 at the age of 78.
· Dr. William G. Weathers, a pioneering medical doctor. Dr. Weathers was the first African-American Chief of Surgery at Jewish Hospital. He helped open the Park DuValle Health Center to address the need for improved medical treatment to residents in West Louisville. He died in 1986 at the age of 58.