Kentucky Historical Society

Interview with Joe Graves

Date of Interview: 

Thu, 03/16/2000




Call Number: 


Joe Graves recalls playing with Black children whose parents worked for his family, but not being able to bring his friend to lunch. He tells about his father promoting a Black Graves- Cox employee who was the first Black salesman in a major retail store in the state. Graves recalls his first demonstration at the March on Frankfort in '64, and various protests in Lexington during the 60's. Graves was part of the Lexington Human Rights Committee formed in 1960 which negotiated for desegregation of the movie theaters. He remembers many people and organizations who were involved in the Civil Rights efforts in Lexington. He assesses the changes which made possible the passage of Kentucky's Civil Right Bill in 1966. Graves tells of helping to get Harry Sykes elected; he was the first Black City Commissioner in Lexington. Later Graves and Sykes ran together on a team ticket. He recalls the occasion when they were called, in the middle of the night, to respond to a street crisis following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Transcript available.

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