Louisville Magazine

MAR 2017

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 3.17 59 Photo by Mickie Winters Remembering Westover (left to right): Carol Ray Bottoms, Michele McCrary, Cheri Bryant Hamilton and Lynn McCrary talk about growing up in west Louisville. an impressive archive of deeds, insurance papers and brochures from Martin Luther King Jr.'s visits to Kentucky. She passes the deed around. "ere's my granddaddy's name!" Carol Ray Bottoms exclaims, gleefully. Her grandfather — Joseph Reynolds Ray Sr. — was a prominent banker and real-es- tate developer who helped black families purchase homes. (President Dwight Eisenhower appointed him assistant to the administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Administration.) Bottoms' grandfather helped McCrary's parents buy a home on Grand Avenue in May 1946. "Get the court case!" Hamilton in- structs. Goodwin makes copies of a Court of Appeals decision from 1943 and hands them to the group. e case stems from a 1939 dispute. Joseph Ray was among a group of developers interested in building homes on land they had purchased near Chickasaw Park. Whites in the neighbor- hood fought to prevent it. Hamilton reads out loud from the deci- sion: "When questioned, Mr. Ray stated for the past 15 years the colored people of Lou- isville have been faced with the problem of new and better homes. Despite the fact that several thousand new FHA homes have been built in and around the city, less than 50 are for colored. e reason being that suitable locations could not be obtained. e acquiring of Westover subdivision . . . seems to be a partial solution to the prob- lem." e ruling goes on to say "no shacks, but only respectable types of homes will be built as a credit to the colored people and to that section of the city." A victory. "Wow," somebody says. e room seems to sigh. e group remembers other business- men who helped black families buy homes and raise kids who went on to become lawyers, judges and councilmembers. "is is like Hidden Figures!" Goodwin exclaims, referring to the recent film about the unrecognized African-American female mathematicians who played a pivotal role during the early years of NASA. But discrimination lived. Bottoms, an elegant woman with a bob hairdo and stylish glasses, recalls helping her grandfa- ther and father in the real-estate business. "I used to fill out the contracts, that was my job, and I remember a family, they both were teachers and only had one child, and I remember doing a letter that said they would not have any more children if they could secure a loan," she says. e room murmurs another "wow." "I typed a letter and I think my daddy scribbled

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