Anne Braden

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Anne McCarty Braden
Born(1924-07-28)July 28, 1924
DiedMarch 6, 2006(2006-03-06) (aged 81)
MovementAfrican-American Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement
Spouse(s)Carl Braden
AwardsAmerican Civil Liberties Unions Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty

Anne Braden (July 28, 1924 – March 6, 2006) was an American civil rights activist and newspaper journalist.[1] She worked for newspapers in Louisville, Kentucky, Anniston, Alabama and Birmingham, Alabama. She also worked for the African American civil rights movement.

Early activism[change | change source]

In 1948, she married Carl Braden. He was a journalist too. They were interested in Henry Wallace's campaign to be President of the United States. Not long after Wallace lost, they left mainstream journalism. After World War II, the labor movement grew less aggressive. It began to break apart into smaller groups. At the same time, civil rights causes heated up.

In the 1940s, some hospitals were racially segregated. Black people were not treated in the same area as white people. In 1950, Anne Braden led a hospital racial integration drive in Kentucky. She wanted to show that such racial segregation was a bad idea. In 1951 she led a group of southern white women organized by the Civil Rights Congress to Mississippi.[2] During that march, she was arrested. They were protesting against the execution of Willie McGee, an African American. He had been convicted of the rape of a white woman, Willette Hawkins.

The Wade case[change | change source]

Anne Braden is probably best known for something that happened in 1954.[3] The Wade family asked the Bradens for help. Andrew Wade was an African American who wanted to buy a house in white suburban Louisville, Kentucky.[3] Because of Jim Crow housing practices, the Wades had been unsuccessful for months to buy a home on their own. The Bradens agreed to buy the house and resell it to the Wades.[4] On May 15, 1954, Andrew Wade and his wife Charlotte spent their first night in their new home.[5] When white neighbors discovered that black people had moved in, they burned a cross in front of the house.[6] They shot out windows. A few days later, a stone was thrown through a window. The milkman would not deliver milk.[3] Someone cancelled their newspaper subscription. White friends began staying in the house to guard against further violence. After a few weeks, the incidents quieted down. However, just after midnight on June 27, 1954 a bomb went off in the house.[6] It was under the room the Wade's two-year-old daughter slept in.[3] Nobody was home at the time.

The Bradens and five other whites were charged with sedition.[7] They were accused of trying to start a race war. They were also accused of blowing up the house themselves to try to overthrow the government of Kentucky. This happened during the time of McCarthyism. Anyone could be accused of being a communist and many were. Carl Braden was said to be a communist troublemaker. He spent eight months in prison.[7] The Supreme Court ruled a year later in a Pennsylvania case. It said sedition was a federal crime, not a state crime. Carl Braden's state conviction was cancelled. The charges were dropped against the other defendants.[7] The Wades moved back to Louisville.

Life[change | change source]

Anne Braden was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She died there at age 81.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Anne Braden". The Veterans of Hope. Retrieved Apr 1, 2015.
  2. "Anne Braden". Americans Who Tell the Truth. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Rick Howlett (1 December 2014). "Louisville Remembers A Tumultuous Time 60 Years Ago". Here and Now. Trustees of Boston University. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  4. Margalit Fox (17 March 2006). "Anne Braden, 81, Activist in Civil Rights and Other Causes, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  5. Rick Howlett (1 December 2014). "Remembering the Wades, the Bradens and the Struggle for Racial Integration in Louisville". WFPL News. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tim Talbott. "Civil Rights Struggle, 1954/Wades: Open Housing Pioneers". Kentucky Historical Society. Retrieved Jun 8, 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Anne Braden". Kentucky Educational Television. Retrieved Jun 8 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)