Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
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Mae Street KiddMae Street Kidd
Louisville
1909-1999

Mae Street Kidd served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1968 to 1984. She sponsored legislation to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a state holiday as well as bills to provide open housing and low-income housing in Kentucky. Passage of the “Representative Mae Street Kidd Bill” created the Kentucky Housing Corporation in the early 1970s.

Kidd always told interviewers her proudest accomplishment in the General Assembly was her campaign to pass three long-neglected amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Kentucky had never ratified the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery; the 14th, which extended full citizenship rights to African-Americans; or the 15th, which gave black men the right to vote. In 1976, more than 100 years after they became law, Kentucky’s General Assembly finally corrected the historical oversight and unanimously ratified all three amendments.

Kidd also organized the first Louisville Urban League Guild, in 1948, and served as president of the Lincoln Foundation. The NAACP gave her its Unsung Heroine Award, and she received a Louisville Mayor’s Citation for Outstanding Community Service.

Kidd was born in Millersburg in Bourbon County in 1909. As the daughter of a white father who never acknowledged her, Kidd was more than three-fourths white—but legally black by the standards of the early 20th century. Throughout her life, she struggled for acceptance in both the white and black communities. Her biography, “Passing for Black,” written by Wade Hall from Kidd’s own words, was published by University Press of Kentucky in 1997. She died in 1999.

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