Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Two Horses, Two Races: The Civil Rights Movement Goes To The Kentucky Derby

Every year for the past 55 years during the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Louisville has hosted one of the nation’s largest parades, the Pegasus Parade. Every year but one. In 1967, the parade and all the other traditional “Derby Week” events were cancelled. That year, instead of the usual festival and fanfare, tension was in the air. Civil rights protests and counter-protests had brought the city to the brink of full unrest. As race day approached, Louisville's mayor asked the governor to call in the National Guard to help police Churchill Downs. The Ku Klux Klan had announced they would also be in attendance at the [...]