Mae Street Kidd (1904-99)

Historical Marker #2147 in Millersburg (Bourbon County) notes the legislative service of Mae Street Kidd.

Kidd was born during what many historians refer to as the "nadir of race relations" in the United States. She was born in Millersburg the same year (1904) that the Day Law passed, which legally segregated Kentucky's educational facilities, whether public or private. Her father was white and her mother was of mixed race.

Kidd was educated at Lincoln Institute in Shelby County before moving to Louisville to work for the African American-owned Mammoth Life Insurance Company. She married in 1930, but her first husband died twelve years later. During World War II, Street served the army with the American Red Cross, where she met her second husband, James Meredith Kidd.

In 1968, Kidd reluctantly ran for the General Assembly from Louisvilleā€™s 41st District. She won by a landslide. She continued to serve her community in this capacity until 1985. Kidd's tenure produced many firsts. She was the first woman elected secretary of the Democratic caucus, the first woman to serve on the rules committee, and the first woman elected as the chair of the Enrollment Committee. She became known as the "Lady of the House." During her tenure, Kidd sponsored a number of civil rights related bills, including an open-housing bill. One of her most proud accomplishments, though, was in 1976, when Kidd pushed for Kentucky's ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The laws had passed the required number of states to be enacted upon their initial proposal in the nineteenth century, but Kentucky had refused ratify them at that point.

Kidd lost her seat in the 1984 election, but she continued to serve her community with different initiatives, especially for women and girls. She died in 1999, and was buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville.