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Digital Collections : Home for Us All: Fair Housing in Louisville-Jefferson County Oral History Collection

Home for Us All: Fair Housing in Louisville-Jefferson County Oral History Collection

About the Collection

The Fair Housing Oral History Collection contains interviews conducted in 2012 as research for “Making Louisville a Home for Us All: A 20-Year Action Plan for Fair Housing.” Co-written by the University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, and commissioned by the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, “Making Louisville a Home for Us All” provides a detailed historical account of housing policies and practices in metropolitan Louisville from the Antebellum Era to 2011. It also recommends a series of action steps to reverse the harmful effects of residential segregation that resulted from the institutionalized racism in those policies and practices.

The interviews in this collection document Louisville’s fair housing history from the perspective of present and former land developers, city planners, housing advocates employed by various local agencies, and racial and social justice activists. Additionally, a K-12 education administrator and the director of an immigrant services center speak about how housing policies and practices directly affect the populations they work with. The research team selected the interviewees for their field/industry knowledge and their own experiences. Taken as a group, these interviews provide several unique perspectives on Louisville’s fair housing history.

Most of the interviews last one to two hours. Due to technical difficulties with the recording systems, three interviews end after approximately 15 minutes. A total of 12 interviews were conducted for the research, but due to an unsigned released form, only 11 are included in this collection. In addition to fair housing, the interviewees talk about their educational and professional backgrounds, changes they witnessed in Louisville’s housing practices and policies from the 1960s to 2011, and their personal experiences with housing or housing discrimination.

About the Project

Working in conjunction with University of Louisville Archives and Records Center and the Public History Program at the University of Louisville, Braden Institute staff compiled these interviews into the Fair Housing Oral History Collection, which makes more information related to the Fair Housing Action Plan easily accessible to the general public, students, and housing scholars. A public education campaign about the action steps is among the plan’s recommendations, but the action steps are not complete without knowledge about how the city arrived at its present state of housing segregation. As an institute with a mission to promote local and national civil rights movement history, the Braden Institute seeks to inform the public about fair housing on multiple levels.

Fair housing is a key ingredient in social justice. Philosopher John Rawls wrote that social justice was "the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live."

Fair housing refers to an end to the discriminatory systems that inhibit social justice in a locality and the remediation of those systems' lasting effects. It promotes equity in housing policies and racial and economic diversity in all sections.

Funding for “Making Louisville a Home for Us All” was provided by a 2012-13 partnership grant to the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission (LMHRC) as a Fair Housing Assistance Program agency. These funds are part of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The report was researched and produced for the Commission by the University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research in consultation with the Metropolitan Housing Coalition (MHC), which also coordinated the development of the action steps. Oral histories and other research for the report were conducted in 2012 and 2013. The report was released to the public on February 13, 2014 at the LMHRC’s annual conference. The purpose of the report is to examine how largely race-based institutional discrimination shaped the system of housing policies and practices that continue in Louisville in the 21st century and to recommend changes that go into effect in one generation.

Technical Information

These interviews were originally recorded at 44.1 kHz sample rate, 16 bit depth, using a Marantz PMD660 recorder, and saved as .wav files.  The .wav files were normalized and converted to 256-Kpbs MP3s using Sound Forge 10.0, which  are streamed to the user.

Transcription was made possible by a portion of funds from the HUD grant.

All transcripts were audited and edited for this online collection, and then converted to PDF-A format using Microsoft Word 2010. Metadata was created in accordance with our data dictionary (PDF). All titles were supplied by the catalogers.

Conditions of Use

The University of Louisville welcomes fair use of this website and its contents. If you wish to publish, broadcast, or publicly display these materials, please notify Archives and Special Collections. In addition, it is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions, which may include paying fees for commercial use. For further information about permissions, use, and ordering reproductions, see Order Reproductions, or contact Archives and Special Collections, University of Louisville.

To cite an interview from this collection, please use the format:
Interview with [interviewee name, date of interview], Oral History Center, University of Louisville Archives and Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky.

To cite the digital version, add its Reference URL (found by following the link in the header above the digital file).


In addition to funders and university and community partners, a number of individuals contributed to Home for Us All: Fair Housing in Louisville-Jefferson County Oral History Collection:

Amber Duke, Nicole Cissell, and Marty Lawfer conducted the interviews. Nicole Cissell and Mari Mujica were transcriptionists.

Under the tutelage of Rachel Howard, Matthew Holdzkom created the metadata records and united the streaming audio files with the transcriptions using CONTENTdm digital collection management software version 6.1.3 Terri L. Holtze designed the web pages.

The principal editor and author of “Making Louisville a Home for Us All” is Catherine Fosl, Ph.D. Contributors include Cathy Hinko, Nicole Cissell, Amber Duke, Curtis Stauffer, Joshua Poe, Mariam Williams, and Dana Loustalot Duncan, with special editing assistance from Tracy E. K’Meyer, Ph.D.

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