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Anne Braden

Anne Braden

A lifelong activist, Braden became embroiled in one of Louisville's most notorious incidents of race-based violence when she and her husband, both white, were asked to buy a house in an all-white neighborhood in order to resell it to a black family. The house was bombed, and the Bradens were branded Communist conspirators and tried for sedition in 1954.
S1 E13 Length 58:24 Rating: TV-PG

Anne Braden

Note: This original one-on-one interview, part of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project, was produced by the Kentucky Oral History Commission and Historical Society.

Anne McCarty Braden was born in 1924 in Louisville but grew up in Alabama. After college, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Birmingham, covering the courthouse. The incongruity between what she read in the Bible and the racist practices of her community troubled Braden, and her beliefs eventually compelled her to leave the Deep South.

In 1947, she moved back to Kentucky to work for The Louisville Times. Although African-Americans in Louisville could vote and sit where they wished on buses, Braden found local race relations were otherwise very similar to what she had experienced farther south. But she also discovered people working through organizations to bring about desegregation and she joined efforts to open up hospitals and schools, leading her to a life of work against racism.

Braden is best known for a 1954 incident meant to protest segregated housing. She and her husband, Carl, purchased a house in an all-white neighborhood of southwestern Louisville and, in a prearranged transaction, resold it to a black man named Andrew Wade. White neighbors threatened Wade and his family by burning a cross on their front yard, shooting out their windows, and ultimately bombing the house.

Some individuals claimed the Bradens had the house bombed to stir up racial tensions in the community. Attempting to link integration with Communism, prosecutors arrested Carl and Anne Braden and them charged with sedition. Carl Braden served eight months in prison, but all charges were later dropped. The Wades were unable to return to their home, and no one was ever charged with the bombing.

In the decades that followed, Braden continued to be an activist, founding Progress in Education and the Kentucky branch of the Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression to ease the stress of school desegregation in the 1970s.

The University of Tennessee Press published her memoir, “The Wall Between,” in 1999. Anne Braden died in 2006.

Program Details

Living the Story: The Rest of the Story

About Living the Story: The Rest of the Story

These 10 one-hour programs contain extended interviews with Kentuckians featured in the documentary Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. In unedited one-on-one conversations taped for a Kentucky Oral History Commission project, these eyewitnesses to history tell their own moving stories of life under segregation and of the struggle for racial equality in Kentucky and in America.

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Season 1

Grace Lewis

S1 E14 Length 28:16

Anne Braden

S1 E13 Length 58:24

Audrey Grevious

S1 E12 Length 57:31

Raoul Cunningham

S1 E11 Length 57:49

Jennie and Alice Wilson

S1 E10 Length 56:42

James Howard

S1 E9 Length 34:37

J. Blaine Hudson

S1 E8 Length 56:56

Abby Marlatt

S1 E7 Length 57:49

P.G. Peeples

S1 E6 Length 57:16

Mervin Aubespin

S1 E5 Length 57:41

John Jay Johnson

S1 E4 Length 57:01

Sen. Georgia Davis Powers

S1 E3 Length 57:38

Gov. Edward Breathitt

S1 E2 Length 58:43

Julian Bond

S1 E1 Length 56:26

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