Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Carla Wallace, October 13, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Being inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This is Betty Baye. And we're interviewing today Carla Wallace. And the date is October 13th, 2014. We're in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History project.

Segment Synopsis: Wallace describes her feelings about being inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. She names others she has nominated to the Hall of Fame. She describes the connectivity of human rights issues. She talks about her grandmother's influence, how helping others is also helping oneself, and how race is used to make people feel that they have no common ground. Wallace talks about how the Civil Rights Movement improved the quality of life for all people.

Keywords: Activism; Anne Braden; Civil Rights Movement; Economic oppression; Equality; Fear; Gay rights; History; Housing; Humanity; Immigrants; Maddie Jones; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Movements; Nazi Germany; Oppression; Persecution; Race; Racial justice; Wages

Subjects: Civil rights--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Human rights workers--Kentucky.

00:14:05 - Family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well that, on that note, I, I would like to just go back. You, you mentioned your grandmother, and I would like to know her name, back in Amsterdam. But you have this interesting family. Let's talk about what shaped Carla Wallace.

Segment Synopsis: Wallace talks about her parents and her grandmother's Nazi resistance. She talks about her father's journalism and his relationship with Anne and Carl Braden. She describes going to a protest at Brown Theatre when she was a toddler and being aware of inequality in America as a child. She talks about her work with the racial justice movement and with the Fairness Campaign in Louisville. She talks about her siblings and their careers and advocacy efforts. She talks about the challenges of her family after her father’s death. She describes how she considers other civil rights advocates as her family.

Keywords: Anne Braden; Brown Theatre; Carl Braden; Civil rights activists; Cuba; Fairness campaign; Families; Fathers; Fidel Castro; Henry Brian Wallace; Henry Wallace; Homophobia; Jesse Jackson campaign; Journalists; Leoni Santander; Louisville, Kentucky; McCarthyism; Mothers; Naomi Wallace; Nazi resistance; Sharon Wallace; Sonia deVries; Sonja deVries

Subjects: Civil rights movements--Kentucky--Louisville.; Civil rights--Kentucky.; Families.; Gay rights movement; Gay rights--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Human rights workers--Kentucky.; Social justice.

GPS: Louisville, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.25, -85.766667
00:27:34 - Family farm / attending college

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now Carla, there are not many people in Kentucky who can say that they lived between Kentucky and Amsterdam. But when you lived in Kentucky, tell me about this, this, this special place in Prospect.

Segment Synopsis: Wallace talks about violence and anger towards her family for her father's civil rights advocacy. She describes her family's farm, her love of nature, and sharing the land with other farmers. She talks about Green Castle Baptist Church being on the edge of the family's farm and her desire to expand it. She talks about being born into the role of a civil rights activist. Wallace talks about attending school at Tufts University.

Keywords: Divestment; Families; Farm; Farmers; Fathers; Grandfathers; Green Castle Baptist Church; Henry Wallace; Homesick; Louisville Times; Louisville, Kentucky; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Open housing movement; Political science; Professors; Prospect, Kentucky; South African divestment; Tom Wallace; Tufts University

Subjects: Civil rights workers--Kentucky--Louisville.; Family farms--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Human rights workers--Kentucky.

GPS: Prospect, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.34, -85.605556
00:36:15 - Coming out / Louisville Fairness Campaign

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, Carla, there is almost no aspect of the movement that you haven't been touched by in some way. And of course a very important part of, had to do with you, not just you fighting for other people's rights.

Segment Synopsis: Wallace talks about her process of coming out. She describes telling her father, and his support of her gay rights advocacy. She talks about her involvement with the Fairness Campaign, the opposition she faced, and attending city hall meetings. She talks about the fairness ordinances in Berea and Vicco.

Keywords: Berea Fairness Ordinance; Berea, Kentucky; Betty Payne; City Hall meeting; Equality; Fairness Campaign; Henry Wallace; Jesse Jackson; Rainbow Coalition; Social justice activist; Sonja deVries; The Louisville Metro Council; Vicco, Kentucky

Subjects: Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay rights movement; Gay rights--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Human rights workers--Kentucky.

GPS: Prospect, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.34, -85.605556
00:50:24 - Continued need for advocacy / University of Louisville Audre Lorde Chair / influences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So for all of the, um, there have been some losses. But this is also a different time for, uh, gay rights, transgender rights, on the national level. Talk a little about--do you feel, um, sort of, um, maybe, euphoric, the way people felt when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

Segment Synopsis: Wallace talks about the connection of gay rights, labor rights, and civil rights. She describes the ongoing need for advocacy of civil rights for all. She talks about the Audre Lorde Chair in Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Louisville. She talks about her activist mentors and influences. She discusses the racist backlash after the election of President Obama, and the need for white people to help fight racism. Wallace talks about workshops helping people write letters to the editor.

Keywords: Activists; Angela Davis; Anne Braden; Audre Lorde Chair; Barack Obama; Civil Rights Movement; Civil rights; Gay marriage; Inspiration; J. Blaine Hudson; Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 1 of 2004; Oppression; Showing Up for Racial Justice; University of Louisville; Voters

Subjects: Civil rights workers--Kentucky; Civil rights--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Racism.; University of Louisville

01:06:17 - Hope for the future

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And as we wrap this up, because you have been so open, as we wrap it up, and you look forward, you look forward, what is your vision for the America, the Kentucky, the Louisville that you would like to see?

Segment Synopsis: Wallace talks about her desire to help establish that everyone matters. She discusses the continued need for activists. She talks more about the use of fear to promote political agendas, and discusses the failures and victories of Kentucky politics in regards to civil rights. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: American dream; Change; Civil rights; Coal; Disfranchisement; Fear; Immigrants; Legislature; Martin Luther King holiday; Open housing; Oppression; Politicians; Politics; War

Subjects: Civil rights--Kentucky.; Human rights advocacy--Kentucky.; Social justice--Kentucky.