Historical Marker #2254 in Louisville notes the location of the home of Anne and Carl Braden, who were active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Anne and Carl Braden are probably best known for their efforts to bring fair housing to Louisville in the 1950s, with their purchase of a home in an all white neighborhood with the intent to transfer the title to Andrew Wade, an African American Korean War veteran. But the Bradens' commitment to racial, social, political, and economic equality went far beyond equal housing.
Anne McCarty was a native Southerner. Born in Louisville in 1924, and raised in Alabama, she graduated from Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia and embarked on a journalism career. She met Carl Braden in Louisville while she worked for the "Louisville Times" and they married in 1948. The couple was of like mind when it came to politics, especially with issues related to race. The Bradens campaigned for the Progressive Party in 1948, and worked with a number of organizations for social and economic equality during the 1950s. The Bradens edited the newsletter for the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) titled the "Southern Patriot." The SCEF was committed to racial desegregation through direct action.
Anne Braden was friends with many of the Civil Rights Movement’s primary figures. She was named in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Dr. King wrote, "I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some–such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle–have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South."
The Bradens' home in Louisville was visited by many Civil Rights activists, including Rosa Parks, Dr. King, and Angela Davis. It also served as a place of welcome to members of civil rights groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
After Carl died in 1975, Anne continued to be active in civil rights efforts. She taught civil rights history at the University of Louisville and Northern Kentucky University, and, in 1990, received the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty, awarded by the American Civil Liberties Union for lifetime achievements. Anne Braden died in 2006, but her achievements and legacy as an active advocate for racial equality live on.
The marker reads:
HOME OF ANNE & CARL BRADEN
4403 Virginia was longtime home of Anne and Carl Braden, early white allies of the southern civil rights movement. Segregationists marched here in 1954 after the couple helped an African American family desegregate a local suburb. Though they became controversial figures, the Bradens then fought to keep this area multiracial.
CIVIL RIGHTS LANDMARK
In the 1960s this home became a waystation for national reformers such as Rosa Parks, Angela Davis & Rev. M. L. King Jr. It was also a meeting place for young activists who led sit-ins. After Carl’s death in 1975, Anne continued organizing for racial justice, peace & workers’ rights until her death in 2006.
This marker was dedicated on April 11, 2008.