The University of Kentucky was one of the first southern institutions of higher education to desegregate their graduate school when Lyman Johnson and the NAACP successfully sued the university for denying him an education in 1949 - five years before the U.S. Supreme Court would declare racial segregation in education unconstitutional.
But, although UK was one of the first southern institutions to desegregate their graduate school, the road to full integration and racial equality within the universtiy was a long and painful process that took most of the 20th century.
UK's student population remained over 90% white through to the 1980s and subsequently was forced to devise a desegregation action plan by the federal government for failure to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
When facing these numbers one needs to ask, "What is Real Change?" The following exhibit explores the often-messy path the University of Kentucky took through racial desegregation under federal law and the course to real equality.
The exhibit UK Women: Leaders in Time was created to be displayed at the Sarah Bennett Holmes Award Luncheon in the spring of 2017. The exhibit highlights notable UK alumna, faculty, and employees who displayed remarkable strength and leadership throughout the 20th century. The remarkable women highlighted here represent a snapshot of the strength and veractiy UK women are capable of - particularly during times of tumult and change.
Two questions tie together the central theme of this exhibit. The two questions are "What is Real Change?" And, "When Does Real Change Occur?" This exhibit charts some of the more tumultuous times the university has undergone. This exhibit in particular focuses on the university's journey through racial integration.