0:00

FOSL: --June 24, 1991. Suzy, will you just start by telling me, um-- just tell me a little bit about yourself, first of all.

POST: Well, um, I'm a pretty, um, traditional Louisville Jewish girl product. I was born in Louisville, and my father was born in Louisville. Uh, I was born of, uh, German Jews on both sides. That's- -I've been here all my life with the exception of four years away in Berkeley, um, from '52 to '57. Um, I came back. I loved California. I came back to Cal-, from California, consciously, to, uh--to this community because I had this ridiculously fanciful notion at that time in my life--I was in my twenties--I was very young--that I wanted my life to have an impact on my world. Don't ask me where I got that one. And that--

1:00

FOSL: Because that was before, when that thinking was very popular.

POST: I, I guess it was pop-, I don't know. I don't remember that. I remember that I felt that I wanted my life--my--I wanted to spend my time and energy having an impact on my world. And I felt that I could do that easier in Kentucky than in California where everyone was a newcomer, and there was a lot of--there was just a lot of people. Uh, I also felt that I wanted to come back to Kentucky because I wanted a large family and I had an extended family network here. So I've been here ever since. I think it was probably the right move for me. I certainly got an awful lot out of the extended family. I've, I've had a lot of really remarkably positive experiences on the edge of or in the mainstream of different social movements in Kentucky. And it certainly is true that if you're of a mind, if you had any kind of progressive point of view at all in this state, you were rare, 2:00and, therefore, extremely valuable. I mean, there weren't that many of us. So here I am at the ripe old age of fifty-eight. You know, back in the town in which I was born, um, it's been kind of--it's been interesting. Um, it's not all been wonderful or great, but it's certainly--it's been interesting. And, uh, uh, now, all five of my kids are gone, and I live alone. And I'm presently working for my, my, my employment experiences have all been as advocates.

FOSL: Um-hm. With?

POST: With a civil rights enforcement agency, first. With the American Civil Liberties Union, secondly--second. And now--

FOSL: Do you know the years?

POST: Well, the first, the first full-time job I had outside the home was in '70--was in 1975. And that was--I had really planned on teaching English literature at the university. I was enrolled in 3:00a doctoral program at the university in the--in the fifties through sixties, while I was having babies, because I knew that I, I knew I wasn't going to be able to live my life vicariously through children, for God's sake--boring. Um, and so I really thought I would get a, a, you know, advanced degree and teach English literature, which I loved. And I did some newspaper work at the time--at that time too on a--on a sort of ad hoc basis, freelance basis, with weeklies and things. And so I did a lot of out-of-home stuff, but it was piecemeal because my primary function at that time was keeping this family together. In 19--I had made up my mind that by the time my f-, youngest child had started in, you know, nursery school or whatever, I was gonna get the heck out of the house and work full time. And at that point in my life, I was real caught up in the anti-war movement, just real caught up, and, and really felt that my commitment to that effort was such that I couldn't do anything else. I mean, I just--

4:00

FOSL: Now, about what years are we talking about now?

POST: We're talking about the late sixties to the--you know, 'til about '72 or '73. In 19--so I was real in-, invested in the anti-war movement at that point and, and that kept me from really looking for any kind of full-time, outside work. And then in '70--in 1969, I bec-, became president of the American Civil Liberties Union Affiliate in Kentucky. And that took more time and energy. And I used that organization primarily as a vehicle for trying to promote and push the First Amendment issues that we were having trouble with in the anti-war movement. We were also having a lot of First Amendment problems through the civil rights movement. There was a lot of bad stuff going on in regards to black leadership, you know, in this state too. So that, that organization's the one through which I worked my s-, spent most of my time and energy. But it didn't pay. And I was looking 5:00for something that would, you know, that would pay me. So I screwed around and screwed around. In '72, we filed the school desegregation suit, and that took enormous amount of focus and stuff. And so all, all this is by way of saying that I didn't really get myself a real, paying job--full-time job--until '75. And I went to work for a civil rights enforcement agency here in Louisville, Jefferson County Human Relations Commission--and then proceeded to use that organization to do stuff that I had no business doing, frankly. I mean, they had no jurisdiction whatsoever in the schools. And it--I started that job the day we desegregated the public schools. And the organi-, the agency was located directly across the street from the City of Louisville Police Department. And I mean, I gotta tell you, it was chilling walking into that office the first day and seeing all these cops, hundreds and hundreds of them, lined up in riot gear, black riot gear, 6:00you know, row after row after row in the parking lot--in the parking lot across the street from this office. So I, um--

FOSL: That was in the fall of seventy--

POST: That was--

FOSL: --five?

POST: --of 1975. Well, we desegregated in September--

FOSL: Of '75?

POST: --of 1975. Um, I sort of was hired to do one thing, and I just proceeded to ignore it, really. I mean, and I, I had--I'm a great believer in--nobody's gonna stop you if you behave as if you know what you're doing and that you've got a right to do it and that's exactly what I did in terms of school desegregation stuff, and then later, women's equity stuff. Nobody was doing any Title IX monitoring in the whole state and I just proceeded to make myself the--the, um, Title IX expert. I mean, I didn't know anything about Title IX when I started, but I learned. And I really raised all kinds of wonderful hell. I, I love to do that. I really like to make people squirm when they're not behaving. So, so that was my first job and that lasted until 1982. 7:00And I took it about as far as I could take it, I think. It was a-- this particular agency is basically an impotent agency unless you get people in there who are just gonna run li-, you know, raise hell and, and do it. And I think I, I either--I'm--I don't wanna say I outgrew it, but I was--I got very stale after--in the last year or so, I was involved in a lot of--lot of heavy-duty work avoidance. And I thought, I gotta get out of here. I gotta do something else. I got--you know, I don't know what. And at that time, I had been on the national board of the ACLU in New York for years, and had gone up there to New York in 1970 as a national board member expressly to try and make the national organization responsive to the aspirations of women and minorities. Because it was a--I mean, it's got problems now, but I can promise you, boy, when I went up there, it was foul. I mean it was an organization 8:00that was controlled by an old group of white men with too many, um, law degrees and, you know, all that stuff out of the Eastern seaboard. And I had, with a--with a U. of K. law professor here in Kentucky--

FOSL: And who was that?

POST: Bob Sedler--

FOSL: Um-hm.

POST: --who was a SCEF lawyer--

FOSL: Right.

POST: --and he worked for Anne--worked with Anne. He and I captured this affiliate in 1969. I mean, we were both fed up with these old farts who were, you know, these respectable white "liberal"--I mean, I don't like to use that word in a pejorative way, but I mean it in this instance. I mean, they didn't do anything. They talked, and they don't do nothing. So we took that--we captured the organization, and we invested a lot of new energy and stuff in trying to make it res-, activist and really have a program. And from there, after about a year or two, I got myself elected. We--we captured the national board seat because the National ACLU board rep in, uh, Kentucky, was a Yale law-, 9:00lawyer in a big firm who--I mean, he was just, like, ugh--real status quo--just real status quo. So I went to New York expressly with a, with a, with an agenda. I mean, I really thought--don't--I don't know where we get our inspiration sometimes. I mean, I don't--I didn't know anything. And I went up there and thought I was gonna whip them into shape. And I just proceeded to organize like crazy and, and within one year, we had gotten the national organization. And I say "we," it was a friend of mine from Syracuse, New York. There were f-, I was the fifth woman on the board out of eighty people. The others were, like, super, super credentialed. I was a little house wife, you know. I mean, I was a little organizer. She and I, uh, got the National ACLU to make women's rights its number one program activity, uh, for 1970 or '71. I'm not sure which. And then I just started organizing. 10:00We formed a women's caucus, and we did all this stuff. And, and from there, we began to make connections in terms of, uh, you know, women and min-, other minority groups. And, and I stayed up there for thirteen years. And it was really fun. So what I has--was sort of ODing on this human relations commission job after, say, six years, and didn't really know what else I was gonna do. It happened that the ACLU here had not had an executive director for a couple years. And it happened that the national organization decided that it was going to subsidize affiliates like Kentucky and give--infuse them with some money so that they could really get staff. So I sort of offered myself up. And I sort of did in that job the same thing I'd done in the other job. I just proceeded to act as if--

FOSL: Right.

POST: And it was really fun. And I was a good organizer--I mean, am a good organizer. And I did that until 1990. And I just couldn't do it 11:00anymore. It's just very hard, draining, impossible work. There aren't the resources in this state to--with which to do it. (sighs) I mean, it's probably the most important work I'll ever have done because I really believe in a com-, in a, in a state like this, you have got to keep the lines open. You have to keep this, you know, society open. You have keep--you have to just raise all kinds of hell, and you have to, you know, fight them every inch of the way. And, and I, I don't think I will ever do--I know I will never do work as important as that. I just couldn't afford it anymore--I mean, emotionally. Um, so I quit. And then in August of 1990, I got to the job--started a job with a-- something called the Metropolitan Housing Coalition which is, (laughs) um, h-, had never had staff, is, uh, only three years old now, uh, an advocacy organization for affordable housing of --an issue about which 12:00I knew absolutely nothing. I mean, absolutely nothing. I mean, I knew what--this is a house. People live in houses. That when you buy a house, a lot of times you have to, you know, you have to borrow money. You have a mortgage. I mean that's about what I knew about housing. Uh, but I love advocacy. I love organizing. Um, I really believe in, uh, people and in the possibilities of people. So that's what I've been doing. So here I am. I'm living here. Um, that's my history.

FOSL: Okay. You said you were away from Louisville from '52 to '57.

POST: Fifty-three to fifty-seven.

FOSL: Fifty-three to -sev-, fifty-seven. So you were away when the Braden case--

POST: I was, indeed. And my father, who was a local business man and very progressive, sent me the clippings from the Courier Journal about Anne and Carl's case. Um, the ACLU was founded in Kentucky around that 13:00case. I was, at that time, not even a member. Um, and he--it kind of piqued my interest. I wasn't all that fascinated with it. I mean, I was, I was certainly cognizant of all the McCarthy, you know, stuff to the degree that when I did come back to Kentucky, the first thing I did was join the ACLU because it seemed to me that that was the only organization through which I might work to resist that. I mean, there just aren't that many organizations in the state of Kentucky that are willing to play a dissident role. So--and I began to hear about Anne and Carl almost immediately because--let's see, if I came back in '57, I probably joined in late '57. I probably started going to meetings around '58 and more meetings around '59 and '60. My uncle, who was a ver-, was one of the founders the or-, ACLU here, and in business with my father--um, had a--was a very--was a socialist and ran for mayor 14:00once on the socialist ticket. And, well, I thought he was a really open, you know. And I heard him say one time that Anne and--that, of Carl--when we were trying to get ACLU members to do membership--a membership drive, somebody suggested that we use Carl Braden. I mean, you must understand, I was in my twenties, and I was totally innocent in terms of--pretty innocent. And he--somebody said, well, Carl Braden's always dropping a note and saying, "Why don't you use me? Here's my-- here's my membership. Here are my dues. But why don't you ever ask me to do anything?" And my uncle Arthur, who I thought--this was kind of interesting, but--who I thought--I mean, I, being innocent--I thought these people were really good, solid people--said, in my hearing, "Well, you can't do that. See, he, he's well-intentioned, but it's the--he's the kiss of death." I never heard of that expression about a human being being a kiss of death. It's total bullshit. So I was kind of piqued about that. I mean, I just thought that was really crappy.

15:00

FOSL: And this was your uncle who had run for mayor?

POST: Yeah, it was a--

FOSL: He was not the mayor?

POST: No, he was v-, very close of Norman Thomas'. He was very progressive.

FOSL: What's his name?

POST: His name was Arthur Kling, and he was a founder of--

FOSL: Oh, yeah.

POST: --the Urban League. I mean, he was a--he was an ADA founder. He, he was a--he had a--he had vision. He was--but he was terrible on that one subject.

FOSL: Well, the ADA is not known for its ----------(??)

POST: I kn-, I understand that.

FOSL: (laughs)

POST: But I'm say--I'm say--I'm only speaking about my perception.

FOSL: Right.

POST: I mean, my notion was--I guess I'm a little bit of a purist. I mean, if you're--if you believe in progressive causes, and you believe in change, and you believe in this, you don't feed this crap about--

FOSL: Right.

POST: --you know. So to make a long story short, you know, I kept hearing about him and hearing about him and never met him until an open housing meeting in a church one night that my husband and I went to. And, uh--and they were at this open housing thing in the church in my neighborhood, and I still didn't have much intercourse with them, if 16:00at--any.

FOSL: Now, when would this have been, maybe?

POST: Middle sixties.

FOSL: When did this happen with Arthur Kling?

POST: That had to be maybe 1960, '61. And that was the thing that got repeated, you know, in the--in the "liberal" community of--white, liberal community of Louisville.

FOSL: You'd just heard about them, these pariahs--

POST: I'd heard about them. That's exactly what they were. And, uh--and some people would go so far as that they were well-intentioned, but. So I kept hearing about them, and, uh, in 1969, as I said, on the back of my involvement, which was pretty--my involvement in the civil rights movement was pretty, uh, minimal, really, because I was having babies every other year. And, and it was just hard to juggle all that. I just, I just had too much. I mean, you know, I'd give money, and 17:00I'd show up at a rally. But I was a pretty--my involvement was very, very minor. I mean, my passion wasn't, but my involvement, in terms of that, was, was pretty minor. And it wasn't, I guess, until the marriage of them--the merger of the civil rights movement and the war--anti-war movement, that I really just came alive. I thought that, goddamn, you know, I can't just sit. Forget this. I mean, I don't know what it was. I just decided. Plus, I must tell you, I was also married to a man who was very resistant to my being, um--acting out that way. So that probably was an--I know that an impediment. I don't know how much of an impediment. I'm not making excuses because it didn't have a--

FOSL: Right.

POST: You know, could have made it not an impediment. But it--but there's just no question that until sometime in the--around '62, '63, '64--I just said, you know--I just said, "Fuck that," you know. I 18:00have, I have this theory that women really get em-, empower themselves somewhere in their early thirties. And that once you do that, you just ain't gonna let anybody mess around with you. And so I think that happened at the time that the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement were sort of converging. And that's when I got real, real involved. And that's when I started getting more active in the ACLU, primarily because I saw it as a vehicle through which I could work this kind of stuff. And then this guy, Bob Sedler, and I, you know, got--we got much more involved. And we decided in 1968 that we were gonna take over. And--

FOSL: So had you heard about the Pike County sedition ----------(??)

POST: Oh, yeah. Well, he was the lawyer for that.

FOSL: Right.

POST: Oh, yeah, sure.

FOSL: But you still had never met the Bradens?

POST: Oh, yeah, I'd met them. I'd met them.

FOSL: Oh, oh--

POST: No, I'd met them

FOSL: Well, let's back up. What--tell me where--

POST: I have no--I can't tell you--I mean, I'm--I met them first time in this Methodist church in Louisville's Highlands during an open housing planning. You know, at the time we were having forums to discuss 19:00whether or not this was--I, I don't think the discussions were, was it a good idea. The discussions were, really, we need to do this. How are we gonna do it? And that's the first time I met them. And I'm not exactly sure what the year was. And then I'd see them around at other meetings, and, um--but I wasn't really close to them. Um, I know that- -nor do I even remember what Ed's, uh, position was with them. Ed was a- -uh, this guy I was married to was a terrible anti-communist. Although I married him--when I married him, it was because he was gonna be a labor lawyer. I can't believe it. And he knew all the great songs. (laughs) He taught me all the great songs. And I thought I'd married a comrade, and it turned out that, you know, he kind of--I don't know. Something went wrong there. And so that was pretty hard. Um, I'm 20:00not sure he gave--he articulated it, but he was very cautionary--very, very, very cautionary--very, very, very nervous. At one point in my life, when I was--I mean, I had just sort of--I hadn't cut my ties with my old community. I had just sort of turned my back on them and had created this other community of, of kindred spirits who were much more in tune with my notion of what needed to be done. And that was the radical/progr-, you know, pro-, act-, activists, was the progressive community in Louisville. Some of those people were communists. Some were not. Some were--you know, there was a lot of new left.

FOSL: Now, and that w-, would include SCEF, right?

POST: Oh, yeah. In fact, the new left people, kids, drove me really ba-, bananas. But, but Ed was real resistant to that--real resistant. I'm not sure what that was all about because I--

FOSL: So you didn't, like, fill up your house with kids coming in from out of town and stuff like that? I mean, like Anne and Carl really, I think--

POST: No, but they would come over. It was pretty funny. They would 21:00come over. (laughs) They really wouldn't stay there. But they'd come and do their laundry, and they'd come and eat and stuff. And it was very strange because they were conflicted. These kids were conflicted, too. They liked me a lot, and they really perceived Ed to be a pig. I mean, I mean, you know, that was--that was wonderful language that they used in those days. And, um--and he was. And he just was not--he was very fearful. And he changed. I must tell you that over a per-, many years, he finally did--he changed. People do do that. But at that period in my life, he was not supportive of what I was doing. He was not--you know, he would say the right words about the civil rights stuff and they said, "He just doesn't wanna take any risks." You know, he--it must have an awful position for him to be in. I mean, I'm--because he was an instinctively decent person. I mean, he, you know, and he got himself in this terrible double-bind by wanting to be a successful lawyer. I mean, it must have been awful, now that I 22:00think about it. I--because the conflict must have been just terrible. Because I don't believe that the person that I married when I was, you know, twenty, who wanted to be a labor lawyer, ever totally died. I mean, there--he was still in there. He just got trapped somehow. So that was really awkward and awful, and so I sort of emotionally left him, I guess, at that time. And, uh, I got a lot of, you know, just--I, I mean, just--he was--he sort of became irrelevant. I mean, that sounds awful, but it was true. He'd try to stop me from doing a lot of things. And, and I sort of ignored him 'cause I just don't feel like you can allow anybody to stop you, even if you happen to be living with them. And--but I can't tell you that it wasn't painful and pretty ghastly. Sed-, so I started hanging more and more with Sedler who had--Sedler was an interesting man because he fancied himself something of a radical activist. He really wasn't. He was really a, 23:00you know, New York, um, constitutional lawyer who--it was a game. Good person, good, wonderful resource. And so we sort of--we sort of--the two of us has this sort of great kind of understanding that we were gonna take over this affiliate which was, uh, controlled by a group of old, impotent men. And we did. And when we did that, because all the presidents of the affiliates up until that time had been lawyers, people were shocked that, that I got myself elected to the presidency. I mean, they were just shocked and some said so. And the first thing I did was call up--one of the very first things I did--I, I felt like one of the unhealthiest things that, that was operating in Kentucky at that time was the distance between the liberal's progressive community 24:00and the Bradens. And that that had, uh--was a distance that had been fed and perpetuated on the backs of McCarthyism and stuff. And I just sort of made up my mind that that was really unhealthy, and I was gonna do something about it. And that one of the ways that that ACLU presidency would be useful to me would be if I could use that position to sort of bridge that gap. And so I called her. I think she probably couldn't figure any of it out. She was pretty disgusted with the ACLU at that point.

FOSL: Right. Because they had kind of forced her off the board--

POST: Yeah.

FOSL: --right after it was founded, or shortly after it was.

POST: Yeah. So I called her up, and I said, "Well, I really would like some help." You know, "I need some help." So we started. And, it's interesting because there were people in that organization who had--to this day, have--thinks that that's the most unforgivable sin that I could've ever committed, and, uh, made no bones about letting me know about it. And so we just--

FOSL: Did they leave over it?

POST: Yeah, some did. Some did. And, and some just took their money. 25:00(laughs) Um, and some--one son-of-a-bitch is still giving me a hard time. I just don't deal with him anymore. He's just not worth it. Um--

FOSL: About that ----------(??).

POST: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. That I was, you know, a friend of Anne's, and--

FOSL: So how--I, I mean today, how would he characterize it as being a problem?

POST: They're untrustworthy. They--and it's still "they." You know, Carl's been dead for sixteen years. It's still "they." They're untrustworthy. They can't be trusted. They're dupes. They're pawns. Uh, you know, the whole--all the rhetoric. (clears throat) It's a disease. I mean, it's not any different than homophobia, really.

FOSL: No, it's not.

POST: It's the same disease. I mean, trying to understand it on a rational level is--I mean, they just need a disease. They just need somebody to scapegoat. So they did a pretty--some people did a pretty good job with Anne and Carl. And I just thought it was stupid. I thought it was irrational and stupid and dumb. And--and I just was--I, I don't know why I thought I had--that I was gonna "fix" it. 26:00But I sort of decided that's what I was gonna do. And so in the course of doing that, she and I got to be very good friends. What was interesting was how nervous this made the man I was married to. I mean, God, he really was nervous.

FOSL: Now, this would be--we're up to what year, probably?

POST: Probably, '70, '71. Um, and, uh, I started--wait a minute. I left a Coke around here--

FOSL: Here it is.

POST: Oh, there it is. I started seeing more and more of them and asking for more and more help and suggestions. And I really enjoyed them. I loved Carl. I was crazy about Carl. Carl was a lot more fun more than Anne. Don't quote me. (laughs) But he was. Carl was really fun. Um, and Ed got--Ed was really uptight about it. I mean, really uptight. And I knew he was. And I just--you know. So I'd do things like we'd have picnics. We'd have ACLU picnics, and they'd come. 27:00And, and I really considered them supporters and good friends at that point. Ed was just--and he and Carl and Anne at that point started this little game of baiting. And they--it was the three of them. They were all caught up in it. They'd tease each other and call each other names. And it was--and it started out kind of serious, like, s-, really intellectual--

FOSL: Um-hm.

POST: And it kept going on and on and on for years until it got to be a game, and they really began to love each other. It was very interesting. And that's why when Eddie and I split up, Anne said, "I think I love him more than you do." And he adored her. I mean, he was imprisoning himself. You know, I mean, that's what he was doing. And he was crazy about Carl, too. He really--after Carl died--he really, you know--he's--he really missed that bantering that they had. So Anne and I, I guess--

FOSL: Now--

POST: --in the seventies, Anne and I--when I became president of the 28:00affiliate, I began to lean on her more and more. And more--her more than Carl. Um, not for a lot of things, but, you know, just to run ideas or check things out or, "This is what I think," or, "What do you think?" Um, our styles were very different. Uh, Anne hasn't got a playful bone in her body. I have a lot of it, you know. I'm not--Anne is very much a puritan. I'm not. I'm, you know, so middle class, it isn't funny. I don't really think it's so much fun to work, you know, sixteen hours a day. I, I don't get off on that at all. I want, I want some time off to play. So our styles are very different. I think, uh, it--I, I think our basic belief system is completely, you know, congru-, con-, congruous, except that I guess you could say that she takes--she treats it with far more conviction than I do because I 29:00won't do it all the time. I mean, that's just not what I wanna do all the time. Uh, in '72, when we filed the school desegregation suit, she was on the LCL at Louisville Civil Liberties Union's board. And she tried to, uh, organize some resistance to that suit because she was concerned, as were a lot of people, about the, um, dilution of the black power base on the City Board of Education. And, in fact, that's exactly what happened. So she and I began to see more and more of each other. And then, of course, when the s-, after the suit was filed, and, and when the thing finally came to fruition in '75, and the whole town was, like, crazy--um, and I had been a plaintiff in this--in this suit. I thought it would be really helpful 'cause I had five children in public schools. I thought, well, that would--they, they were looking for a parent and--a white parent. And so I said, "Take me." I thought that would be really helpful in terms of, "Use me. I've got 30:00five kids in public schools. I can pretty well articulate what school desegregation has to offer white parents," a discussion a lot of black parents aren't too crazy to hear (laughs) and could care less about. But it's a point of view. And so I got sucked into the organizing, um, prior to '75 around the desegregation issue.

FOSL: It was Progress in Education?

POST: And that--and, yeah, we created that. And just a lot of stuff to try to make this community realize that the handwriting was on the wall. You may not like it, but it's gonna happen. And let's make it happen as positively as we can make it happen. And let's consider that this is really a step forward. And so she and I worked real hard in those--those were wonderfully draining, exciting, painful years because I think it's the first time I ever got really scapegoated publically. I mean, I think, you know, she was used to that. I never had that 31:00wonderful experience before, you know. And, uh--

FOSL: Tell me about that.

POST: Well, I, you know--um, it was the same stuff that, that anybody who steps out experiences. You get--you get--you're, you're threatened. Your life is threatened. Your

children's lives are threatened. People you've known forever cut you, and don't--you know, they aren't people you much care about. It's just, you know--it's just you're cognizant of the fact that people are giving you more power than you even have, I mean, because of your particular point of view which you happen to think is perfectly correct. And you feel--it's interesting because I think what I felt more often than not was I felt really bad for them. I thought, God, these people are really assholes. But I didn't say the word asshole. But I thought, God, they're so--poor things.

FOSL: Shut down.

POST: Just really sort of pathetic. I mean, I felt really--this sounds ridiculous--but I felt sorry for the people who cut me or who thought that I was--I mean, I thought that their vision and, and view of things was so limited and narrow and that they were, you know, really 32:00imprisoned by it. So that's on the one hand. On the other, it, it really hurts to see your children--and who are little vulnerable creatures--you know, being castigated on the playground, or being pushed out of writing groups, or used to have a friend over here who'd come over and spend the night, and she can't come any more. And, and getting called names, and, and--

FOSL: Yeah, but they were pretty big children by this time, so--

POST: Yeah, they were. But it's still--some of them could handle it, and some of them couldn't. In 1972, Rachel was nine years old. And, you know, what do they know at nine? Ben, my middle one, was ten, eleven, twelve--thirteen--and, and he's, he's very--he was a very phobic child. He's a pretty phobic adult. I (laughs) remember one time, at a dinner table, I said--uh, I had written an op-ed piece. And I just simply mentioned that, at dinner--that I had called the 33:00Courier Journal and asked them to hold printing it until we got back from a vacation. Ed and I were going away for a, a week by ourselves and leaving the kids at home. And I didn't want that op-ed piece running while I was out of town because I knew what kinds of calls and reaction there was gonna be. So I simply indicated at the dinner that I called the Courier Journal, and they wouldn't run it 'til we got back. And Ben my middle one said, "Does--is it gonna have your name on it?" I said, "Yeah." I said, "There's not much point in writing a let--an article for newspaper about the value of, you know, school desegregation if it didn't have your name on it." I said, "Does that make you nervous?" And he said, "Yeah, a little bit." I mean, he just didn't wanna be--he didn't wanna stand out. Now, you have to respect that. I mean, it was awful. I mean, I didn't--I didn't change my behavior. I'm just saying that the chil-, you know you're doing-- you're putting your children in ri-, in a risk that a lot of parents, you know, aren't so--you know, maybe it's not so caring. So I mean, 34:00they, they all grew up, and they're fine. And they, they're pretty solid, strong kids. I'm just saying it--

FOSL: And activists themselves, many of them.

POST: Yeah, they are. Every one of them. But who knows? So, I mean, that was--that wasn't too--

FOSL: And how was your husband relating to it at this point? Had he been kind of thrown around? [Phone rings]

POST: Well, interesting.

FOSL: Uh, here, let me get this.

POST: Well, by that time in the seventies, I mean, he was used to me at that time. He, he knew he couldn't stop me. I don't know that I thought he was terribly supportive. He tried to stop me from conduct-, from doing some public things one time because he felt we couldn't protect the children. And, and I could understand that position. Um, but that was usually the way he couched it, that we couldn't protect 35:00the children. I think he admired me. I think that at that point, he'd gotten to the point where he really admired me, and he sort of looked up to me, which isn't so great either. I mean, (laughs) don't, don't do that. Don't look up to me, please. Um, I would've been just, uh, gassy if I hadn't had a support group, you know. It would've--I don't- -I mean, I think it would have been gassy. I don't think you can do it without some, some TLC somewhere. Um, but I don't remember, Cate. I mean, it's like such a--things, things happened in the sixties and the seventies. And they just sort of flowed. You--from the civil rights movement, you went in the anti-war movement, and then the women's movement. You created the women's movement on the back of the civil rights movement. And now the--and, and, and so it was hard to know when one thing--when you gave birth to one thing, and something else started, it was all just sort of inexorable. It sort of--

[Pause in recording]

36:00

FOSL: Yep.

POST: It just all sort of moved on and on and on and on. And you know that you didn't have much time to ask yourself how you felt, or is this what--why are you doing this? You just did it because it was the right thing to do. And, and that's just--you--we were all sort of caught up in, in this--in this movement for, uh, what I thought was a wonderful movement for social change. And I, I probably sound like a lot of people who thought the sixties were just fabulous because we--we, we thought there were a lot of things that needed changing, and it looked like we were changing them. And it was a real positive upper. And then you have this thing called the eighties or the s-, mid-seventies to eighties which was--oh, God, help me. Like, what a struggle. So--

FOSL: And the nineties remains to be seen.

POST: Yeah, well, I think the nineties are gonna be okay. I really do.

FOSL: I hope you're right.

POST: I mean, I think we've, we've reached a crisis again in this 37:00country. And crises are really good for making things sort of crystallize.

FOSL: Well, um, I just--uh, there's somehow or another--and maybe you can't really say why, or maybe it'd just be hard to describe, but it seems to me that you've been a really central person--one of several-- who, um, was really instrumental in bringing Anne from that pariah state to being more reintegrated into the movement in Louisville. And--

POST: I think that's right.

FOSL: --and you had a conviction about this anti-communism being wrong. And I'm just wondering, you know, why was that? How did that get to be an important thing for you? You said it was, but you said you didn't know why. But I'm just ----------(??)

POST: The anti-communism? I think it's, it's stupid. It's irrational. It's dumb. I mean--

FOSL: I bet there were a lot of people who thought that, but not a lot of 38:00people decided to put their energy into--you know what I mean? Bringing these people who symbolized that struggle for the ----------(??)

POST: Well, I'm not--I haven't the slightest idea why I decided to do that. I know that in much of what I've done in my life, my position as a Jewish woman has been compelling. That--not--when I say my position, my perspective as a Jewish woman and, and what I mean by that is both sets are aliens. I mean, women are outside. Jews have been--for God's sake. I can't think of a group that's been better scape-goated historically. So it just pisses me off when I see it--that being done to folks. It's stupid. I mean, it was--it's been done to me enough. I don't think it's much fun. I mean, (laughs) I think it's really- -it's dehumanizing. So I mean, I don't know. It's just sort of like- -it's, it's just not anything I even have to think very much about. I feel the same way about any, any disenfranchised, you know, marginal 39:00group, I mean, that we have, societally, cast out. And I mean, I just think that the health of the society depends upon being open and, and inclusive and nurturing of differences. I think we're richer for it. I think we learn from each other. I think that--I don't have a--you know, I don't have--I don't have the slightest idea what the best thing to do is all time. And I don't know why I would think that anybody else would. But I think I believe in the collective intelligence. So- -and I think that I probably did play a significant role in bringing her back in. And I probably was able to play that role because, quite interestingly, of the perception that I belong to the great, you know, upper middle class. It would have been a lot harder if I hadn't had the trappings. I mean, I lived in a really nice house over in the Highlands, you know. I mean, I was down home folks with the people-- 40:00many of the people who had ----------(??)

FOSL: I see what you're saying.

POST: So I mean, I was one of them. So it was really--it almost had to be somebody like me who could say, hey, you know--so, you know. If--well, if Suzy's saying that, I mean, she's just one of us. Right? I mean, there's some disarming stuff that goes on in that. So I--for that reason, I probably was really useful in that particular struggle in a way that I wouldn't have been if I had been, you know, living at s-, working at subsistence somewhere and hadn't been perceived to be privileged or hadn't been pri-, hadn't been privileged. So--and, you know, I believe you work with what you got. So that's one of the things that made me kind of valuable in a lot of--in not just with--in regards to Anne, but in terms of the women's movement and the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. I mean, you would expect 41:00people who are marginal and who've been left--who have been denied economically to be up there fighting, raising holy hell. I don't think we expected a people who look as if they haven't. And I think it's just more effective that way, that's all. It's just a political strategy. It's just--I mean, I think we need them all. I mean, if you're gonna change anything, you need them all. So I think that was what that was all about. And I just thought it was really stupid and wrong and dumb, and I didn't wanna--I didn't wanna be a party to that. And I knew that Anne was smart and had a lot to give and a lot to offer. And she sure taught me a lot. She, um--I told somebody today, I said, "You know, she's still--Anne Braden is one of the few people I know who can make me feel inadequate," because--oh, I wouldn't change. No, I'm not gonna be her. (laughs) Couldn't pull it off if my life depended on it. But she's--she will talk to anybody. I won't. I mean, she's so patient. 42:00And she really believes--I mean, she's got that zeal. Now, I sort of do, up to a point, and then I get tired. I don't have the discipline that she has. I don't have the patience that she has. I don't wanna do it all day long. But, boy, you sure have to have some folks who do. And she's just so patient. I mean, I've seen her take time with the October League. Do you remember the October League at--they were total idiots as far as I was concerned. She'd take as much time with them as she would take with the Ku Klux Klan, that she would take with the Young Socialist Alliance, that she would take with--they were people. And if they--and if they would listen, you never knew where--that she might not change someone. I admire that. That's a wonderful--I don't see how--I guess that's a quality of a revolutionary, and I don't have that. I mean, that's just what I think makes her so marvelous.

FOSL: Um-hm. And how did she strike you--um, I mean, you must have 43:00had some perceptions of her before you got to know her. I, I'm just thinking of kind of personal and political--just impressions that you could maybe recall.

POST: Oh, I thought she was totally humorless. I still do most of the time. I mean, (laughs) I wanna take her and I wanna shake her. I thought she was totally humorless. Um--uh, puritan. Uh, what we--what the--what, what the liberals would call a zealot. I'm trying to think what the language--how the language was--the put-down language. It's-- well--

FOSL: Probably, fanatic.

POST: Fanatic, fanatic. That's the word. A fanatic. And I don't--I never use the word fanatic 'cause I, I knew it had overtones, you know, that were--but I did she think she was, like, awful seri-, you know, like, lighten up here. Lighten up. The other thing is she told me totally crazy, and Carl never did it. He--you always had this feeling 44:00that Anne was trying to make you feel a little guilty. Well, I don't think that works. I mean, it doesn't with me. I think it's--and Carl would--Carl just didn't do that. And I really liked that about Carl, that, you know, if he wanted you to do something, he'd tell you. But he didn't try to lay this other stuff on you. Um, I thought she was one-dimensional. I thought she didn't have much of a private life, or, you know, personal life.

FOSL: Do you still think that's true?

POST: Um-hm. I do. I think that's--see, that's another way I couldn't do that. I mean, my personal life is real important to me. Yeah, I think she--and I think she's driven. And I'm pretty--

FOSL: Yeah. I've never really quite figured out why--you know, how it got that way.

POST: That she got driven?

FOSL: Yeah.

POST: Guilt. (laughs) White guilt.

FOSL: Yeah, to some extent. But I don't know that--it seems too simple somehow, you know.

POST: I don't know. I think she looks terrible right now in this point 45:00in her life. I mean, she's ten or eleven years older than I am, and I think she looks much older.

FOSL: She does.

POST: (clears throat) She, um--I think she just--you know, and--and- -and it makes me mad because if she would lighten up and if she were different--if she were different, she could live to a ripe old age. I don't know how long she's gonna live because of her lifestyle.

FOSL: Oh, but she doesn't seem really sick. I mean, she's got that cough, but--

POST: No, I know she doesn't. But she look terri-, her color looks bad. She doesn't get any exercise. Now, there was time in the s-, late sixties, early seventies, she was doing yoga.

FOSL: She still does that.

POST: Oh, does she still do yoga? I didn't know she did. I don't know. I love her a lot, and so, you know--I mean, I'm--I'm at the point in my life where as soon as you love someone, you lose them. So I'm just getting to become very resigned. So the last time I experienced a death, which was my dad, I said to one of my closest friends, who's a Catholic priest, "I'm not gonna love anyone ever again." (laughs) He said, "Don't be ridiculous." I started just losing it. You know, one 46:00loss after another after the age of fifty, it just--and I guess you're lucky if you can forestall them 'til then--

FOSL: I agree.

POST: --really.

FOSL: Yeah.

POST: So I think she's been--she's certainly been an important person in my life. Um, although I must say that in the last--we've sort of grown apart in terms of our schedules lately or our work or whatever. So we don't see much of each other. And I--and I must say that there was a time--I don't know how it--uh, sometimes I feel like my work is complete. Like, I told you I went to the ACLU in New York with this agenda. And I stayed up there for thirteen years. And the last three years, my work had been finished. I mean, I had really--

[Pause in recording]

FOSL: Tape two.

POST: I was up there. See, I went up there. Originally, I got elected to the national board. Then after I was on the national board for a year, I got elected to the executive committee. And so the national 47:00board only met, like, four times a year, but the executive committee met every month. So I would go up once a month. And I'd go up--I'd sort of, like, loved getting out of Louisville. I mean, I just got a lot out--first of all, I had five children. So it was kind of fun to get away from them sometimes.

FOSL: I'm sure.

POST: So--and I loved that New York life. I loved the theater, and I loved--I loved the excitement. So I would, I would only--probably have to have been up there Friday and Saturday and come back Sunday. But I always--I started going Thursday and being up there three nights. And I had a group of friends up there. And--and it was just really one--I mean, it was one of the best things I ever did for myself because it--I got enormous exposure and, and a great sense of, um, being effective, you know, feeling effective. And, um, where was I going with this?

FOSL: Talking about, uh, your work being complete.

POST: Oh, so I had gone up there with this feminist agenda, which, I 48:00mean, I really worked my little tail off. And it was not easy. I mean, it takes a lot of energy to organize, especially long-distance. Um, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the organization respond. I wanted to open it up. I wanted to open up the lay leadership. I wanted to open up the staff leadership. (clears throat) I wanted to get it--rid of as much of that sexism, or to deal with it as much as we could. I wanted to, um, make that organization responsive to the feminist agenda and the aspirations of women which included, you know, being inclusive and opening it up for minority groups. And, and we kind of turned it around. Now, I did that in the context of the time. It was a m-, a marriage of me and the time. I was in the right place at the--I mean, the time was right. And it was wonderfully exciting, heady stuff. And after I did it, I was ready to l--you know, I mean, I didn't need to hang around anymore. Uh, 49:00one of the things that drives me crazy about people in organizations is sometimes they just, like, don't know when they've outlived their usefulness, and they just keep on keeping on, even when they have nothing to do, nothing to contribute. I mean, I was there for one reason, and one re-, and I, you know, one reason only. And I did it. It is true that after I left, things started to slip back. But, you know, you've got--it's time for new people to come in and take over. I sort of did that with Anne too. And when I took--uh, became president of the ACLU here--

FOSL: In--again, tell me the year?

POST: --in 1969, I had this notion that Anne and Carl were part of my agenda. That in building the organization, I wanted the organization- -I didn't feel the--I guess I didn't feel the organization could be viable or credible. I didn't see how the ACLU could be credible if Anne and Carl weren't part of the fabric of it. It just--it wasn't possible. That was all. And so I made up my mind that was--that was one--gonna be one of the things that I was gonna do, was bring them 50:00back into the organization. A p-, a--another piece of that was that even after that had been sort of accomplished, there was this larger disease in the larger community. And I felt like I had to something about that too. And so I started doing things like raising hell with the Courier Journal and, and the editorial people for their policies. Like, why don't y'all get real? These people exist. Why do you keep ignoring them?

FOSL: With regard to SCEF?

POST: With regard to everything. I mean, this was--

FOSL: Right.

POST: --later when Anne had--we had this, uh, sixtieth birthday party for Anne, I guess it was. And I took the m-, managing editor of the newspaper out to lunch. And I said, "David, for Christ's sake, this is so--y'all never cover anything. Whenever Anne speaks, you know, there's nothing in the paper about it. Whenever--it's like, you know, 51:00she's got--like, she's infectious." I said, "That is so stupid." I said, "That is really a hangover from this diddly, you know, 1950s mindset. I said, "I can't believe y'all are still doing that." I said, "She's a really important national resource." And back here in home town, they treat her like she's--he says, "I think you're right." So he sent a reporter and a news--and a--

FOSL: Photographer?

POST: --photographer--thank you--to this birthday party we had for her. And honest, in the Sunday paper, on B1, second lead section, there was a big article and a picture. And I felt like that was my contribution, and that once you--because I really believe that--that once you break down these, these stupid taboos which somebody's created for no reason, usually, then you--

FOSL: Or for a reason--

POST: --or for--or, yeah--or for a reason--

FOSL: ----------(??) I mean, not a good reason.

POST: --dumb reason. Then once you break those down, you don't have to 52:00keep doing it. I mean, you just break a taboo once. So things started getting better in terms of public--the larger public dealing with her as if she were a--just a regular, ordinary person like you and me. And so once that happened, I sort of felt like I had really--I think I sort of--that, that birthday party, I think I really felt was--that was the end of my mission in terms of legitimatizing the Bradens and purifying them, or what do you--what do you do--

FOSL: Vindicating them.

POST: Whatever--reconstructing.

FOSL: How would you characterize the change that came about in the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union as a result of sort of re-embracing them?

POST: Well, I mean, there were a lot of young people that we, uh, were able to attract that weren't gonna be having anything to do with an organization that was involved in that kind of red-baiting. And so that was good. The old ones die anyway, so I can't be too terribly bothered about them. But I don't think we would have had the--I don't 53:00think the ones who were in their twenties and thirties who got, you know, subsequently--for whom Carl and Anne had assumed, really--they, they got to assume s--

FOSL: Almost holy.

POST: It was ridicul-, nah, it wasn't even holy. The pr-, it was, like- -it wasn't fair to them. They got to be people--they were just people. And in these--the eyes of these kids, for some of these young people, it was, like, heroes and heroines and--instead of just people who did the right thing and took their licks and stuff like that. And it's a lot better if you come down to real sizes--a much better inspiration for other people who are just real people to do those things and think that they can pull them off than if you put them up here where, God, there's just no way I can. You know, that's nonsense. It doesn't--we don't do ourselves any favors that way. So I really think in terms of 54:00the ACLU--and I don't know about other organizations--but in terms of the ACLU, I think the kids who came of age later weren't gonna touch that organization as long as there was this, this distance. That's not why I did it. I mean, that had--that didn't enter into it. I just thought that--

FOSL: No, you thought it was the right thing ----------(??).

POST: I thought it was the right thing for a lot of reasons. But it never occurred to me that that would be a--well, you just can't--you have to consolidate your resources in a state where there aren't very many and where the--you know, it's a poor state.

FOSL: And had the ACLU gotten involved at all during that Pike County sedition thing? Had they called, talked to--spoken to any (laughs) person in the issue?

POST: They passed a resolution when I was still membership chair. The- -that was, I think, one of the things that, that--the ki-, that was my kiss of death, I think. When I sat in this board meeting, and they decided they were gonna pass a resolution condemning this. And so we 55:00did. They wrote this flowery resolution and nobody did anything with it. So not only did they waste all this time doing a resolution, they didn't even take it down and deliver to the newspaper or anything. I mean, they didn't go on public record with it. They did this to, you know, make themselves feel good. So it was--like I say, it was really a--an impotent organization. It was a group of older people, and, you know, they just didn't have a lot of imagination. They were good people. They were, you know, they weren't bad people. But they didn't have much energy, and they didn't have much imagination. And they were a little fearful. And they thought, you know, Bob and me and the group that we brought in, they--I mean, they didn't know what hit them. Well, we were young activ-, we were the Young Turks. And they were, you know--they were twenty years older--

FOSL: The old guard.

POST: Yeah, maybe it's--maybe it's always like that.

FOSL: Okay. Well, I think that might be all the questions I have except 56:00for I always ask people this question, and that's, um, what--well, a couple things, actually. What--is there anything that you think would be relevant, in terms of your experiences or impressions with Anne or Anne's impact on this community, that I haven't asked you?

POST: I think Anne's impact on this community has been primarily negative, and it's really unfortunate to me that the--that history conspired to make it so. I mean--and what I mean by that is in the kind of--that she just got so far ahead somehow, and, and too much-- with not enough support at that time that--that--

FOSL: Now, when you say her impact's been negative, do you mean the 57:00perception of her, overall, is negative, or her true--or she's played a truly negative role in Louisville?

POST: I don't think she's--I think her role--let's, let's redo this--has been more neutral. I don't think it's been real positive. I don't think it's been real negative. I think that the, the, the perception of her and the, you know, got in the way of her being a real positive resource in this community for positive social change. I think, um, those people who, in the know, who knew that she was operating on a national level all that time, went to her--like me--went to her for advice and, you know, stuff. And so through us, she, you know, probably worked. But, but she was so hampered by all that baggage 58:00that got, you know, wrapped around her for so long that it was like--I don't know. I just--I just think it's kind of--the most tragic thing is that--that in a state like this with so, as I said, with so few resources, and so few people willing to choose sides, that we just weren't able to maximize, you know, her gift and, and that the--that a good deal of her gift was squandered here, I think. I really do. And, and defense--that she was on the defense so much. Just always on the defe-, on the defensive. That's a waste of energy.

FOSL: Yeah, it is. Hmm.

POST: So it's just, you know, real sad. I don't think that that's the function that she served nationally, but--

59:00

FOSL: ----------(??).

POST: Right. But here in Louisville, it sure--

FOSL: Hmm. Well, you're the first person that's kind of put it that way.

POST: Well, I could be wrong, but that's--

FOSL: Right. I see what you're saying. I think that she always did use that to, uh--the attack as a platform through which to get views across that might not have otherwise ever been raised in Louisville.

POST: Well, I--just think about it. I'm not sure.

FOSL: I mean, it is interesting how the red smear has continued to plague her. There's no person like that in Atlanta.

POST: There's no person like that in hardly any place.

FOSL: Right.

POST: This is a sticky tacky little town. And, you know, the governor of Kentucky at one time was campaigning on a platform to drive Anne and 60:00Carl Braden and SCEF too, I guess, out of the state. I mean, it's so tacky. We don't have enlightened leadership here. And I don't guess that the leadership that we've had in the time that Anne and Carl were operative was any--ever any more--ever had any more imagination or intelligence than to just scapegoat. I mean, that's pretty pathetic. It's not a comment on them at all. It's just a comment on the kinds of folks that we raise to public office in this state or who aspire to public office. And, I mean, it's just pathetic. In that regard, I think it's absolutely pathetic. We aren't doing any better today either. I mean, we still--we still got those terrible people.

FOSL: Hmm. Well, what--my final question has little or nothing to do with Anne, but I just ask everybody this who's an activist. So I'll 61:00ask you. And that's, what keeps you going?

POST: Well, I love to organize. You know, I love--I like--I like that. I like to make trouble. I'm, um--I don't know--mean I like to make trouble. I mean, I'm willing--what keeps me going? I don't know. (laughs) I have no idea. I mean, part of it is that it's fun. I mean, the work that I do is fun and has always been fun. When it stopped being fun, I always sort of--I move a little bit, or I shift a little bit because I really think it needs to be fun. Um, I work with wonderful people and always have. I don't know what else I'd do. What would I do? You know, I'm--I'll be dead some day, so why not--it's 62:00just--you get--you become accustomed to it. It's, it's--you know, I think a life of struggle, which I'm sure--I know all life is, of one kind or anoth-, another--you know, you just--you become--it's just what you get used to. And, um--and I guess I found it rewarding and fulfilling. And--and, um--I mean, there are plenty--I, I don't know anybody who doesn't do this who doesn't get awfully tired. You know, you get really tired. But--but I've been pretty fortunate in that I've been able to sort of find the energy to get away and catch--you know, get a second a wind sometimes. And I just--I mean, this is just what I do. I, I--I'm not--nobody's ever asked me that, so I don't know that I've ever even thought of an answer. What do most people tell you?

FOSL: Oh, gosh. It's really varied. I've, I've probably asked a 63:00hundred people that question.

POST: And everybody answers differently.

FOSL: And--but I'll tell--one thing that seems to be a recurrent theme with people is, um, gardening.

POST: Oh, really? They get some respite there?

FOSL: Right. That it's like a therapeutic thing.

POST: I do the movies. (laughs)

FOSL: You do?

POST: I do. I don't--see, I couldn't do this twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That's why I say--why I couldn't be Anne Braden. I mean, I need a change of pace. And I have been real--a real selfish woman. And I have absolutely no guilt whatsoever about saying, "I'm sorry, I've done this, sort of--now, I, I've gotta leave and not c-- I'll be back later, but give me a break here."

FOSL: She does seem fairly selfless. You know, in--

POST: I know and it's (??) awful in that regard. And, and that's not the way I am. Of course, I guess being selfless is selfish in a way. I mean, she must have m-,

FOSL: Right.

POST: --in--I mean, if everything you do--

FOSL: Her self is tied up in that.

POST: --is selfish. Yeah, I mean, everything any of us does is selfish.

64:00

FOSL: Right.

POST: It's a question of how you define it, really. I mean, when I hear people say, "Oh, my God, they're so selfish. They won't have a baby. They're so selfish. They're not gonna have a baby." I'm thinking, having a baby is the most selfish thing you can do. I mean, what do you, you know, what is this? So it just depends on how you look at it.

FOSL: Okay. Well, thank you.

POST: Well, all right, Cate. I hope you got some stuff.

[End of interview.]

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