Louisville Magazine

MAR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.19 107 Continued on page 123 e gravesite for Whedbee is also dedicated to her husband, Dr. Ellis Whedbee, who was a founding physician at the Red Cross Hospital, which treated African-American patients when they weren't allowed in whites-only hospitals. Red Cross started downtown and soon moved to Shelby Street, south of Shelby Park. It's where Hamilton's father worked as a doctor and where, in 1950, she was born. Sometimes Hamilton would visit her father at his office. "He'd always have these little Dum Dum lollipops to give kids," she says, "and just watching him interact with the community and with his patients taught me a lot about how you treat people and how you listen to people." Her mother, activist Ruth Bryant, was a college-educated housewife and substitute teacher who spent most of her time involved in social-justice efforts. "She and (activist) Anne Braden, I believe, are the reason (the city has) quarterly junk pickups," Hamilton says. Hamilton's parents were transplants, her father from Oklahoma and her mother from Detroit. As Hamilton puts it, Louisville was a compromise. ey raised her and her three siblings in a home overlooking Chickasaw Park on coveted Southwestern Parkway, a few doors down from where Martin Luther King Jr.'s brother A.D. King lived. During segregation, the family often traveled outside the city to go to movies or to try on clothes. "Just a normal childhood," Hamilton says. Donna Sanders, who worked as a legislative assistant under numerous council members before retiring last year, mentions that Hamilton's childhood home had a swimming pool and a billiards table. "e most beautiful experience was the bathroom," Sanders says. "ere were mirrors and makeup all around." Hamilton's parents constantly entertained. She likens her childhood home to the story behind the recent Oscar-winning Green Book, which gets its name from a directory for blacks looking for places where they could stay or eat during Jim Crow-era segregation. Hamilton's parents would point visitors to nearby gas stations and restaurants. But what stuck with Hamilton most were the open-door meetings that would go on at the Bryant residence, with A.D. King and others in and out, strategizing. Doctors, lawyers, undertakers and others would come by on Sunday afternoons. "I could be sitting on the steps in the hall and listen to the adults talking, and just kind of learning, absorbing what they were talking about," Hamilton says.

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