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Passing for Black: The Life of Mae Street Kidd

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Passing for Black The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd ... Mae Street Kidd made a choice. Born in 1904 in Millersburg, Kentucky to a White father and a
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 3, 2011
      Passing for Black
      The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd
      ----- written by Wade Hall


      Mae Street Kidd made a choice. 

      Born in 1904 in Millersburg , Kentucky to a 'White' father 
      and a mother who was a Mixed-Race woman who was 
      of the 
      African-American Ethnicity --  she could easily 
      have "passed" as being a mono-racial 'White' woman. 

      Instead , she chose to affirmed her 
      African-American Ethnic heritage . 

      Mae Street Kidd

      Her career blossomed -- first as a successful business 
      woman -- then as the Assistant Director of the European 
      Theater for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
      -- and later as  a member of the Kentucky General Assembly.

      In 1968, she was elected to the Kentucky House
      of Representatives -- where she went on to
      sponsor two bills which provided both open
      housing and low-income housing in Kentucky. 

      There she also led a campaign to right a historical wrong, 
      helping to get the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments 
      to the U.S. Constitution ratified by Kentucky— more 
      than a century after they were passed by Congress.

      Kidd received many honors and awards including the "King
      / Kennedy Award", "The NAACP Unsung Heroine Award",
      and the "Top Ten Outstanding Kentuckians Award

      Mrs. Kidd was also involved in many community service 
      groups such as the YWCA and Girl Scouts of America.

      Kidd's own plain-spoken words and fiercely independent 
      spirit permeates the narrative biography written 
      by Wade Hall, a sort of edited oral history culled 
      from interviews conducted in her Louisville home. 

      The result is an inspirational story
      starring a truly unforgettable character.

      SOURCE: http://www.ket.org/bookclub/books/1999_mar/ 


      Representative Mae Street Kidd was an innovative 
      businesswoman, civic leader, and a skilled politician 
      during a time when her gender and multi-racial background 
      made such accomplishments harder than they are today.

      She had a distinguished career in
       public relations, served in the Red Cross 
      during World War II, and served as a Kentucky state
       representative for 17 
      years, beginning in 1968, 
      representing the 41st District of Louisville.

      Mae Street Kidd's life was greatly affected by the color 
      of her skin--it was too dark to some and too light to others.

      According to Wade Hall, in his biography 
      of Kidd, 
      Passing for Black:  The Life 
      and Careers of Mae Street Kidd
      , while 
      traveling by train in her Red Cross uniform with 
      her darker-complexioned brother in his Army
      uniform during WWII, Kidd was asked to move from 
      the 'Colored' section of the train to the 'White' section.  

      Kidd repeatedly refused--and also refused to explain herself:  
      "I was a grown woman.  I was wearing my Red Cross uniform.
      My brother was a grown man, wearing his army uniform.
      We were a brother and sister going to see 
      our parents before we shipped overseas.
      We were both American citizens serving our country.
      We didn't owe anybody an explanation."  

      During her time in office, she was known 
      for her sponsorship of tough legislation.

      For instance, House Bill 27, sponsored by Representative Kidd, 
      became law in 1972, creating the Kentucky Housing Corporation 
      which promotes and finances low-income housing in Kentucky.

      In 1974, this bill was officially named the Mae Street Kidd Act.


      In 1976, she sponsored legislation to ratify 
      the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, 
      the  "Reconstruction Amendments," 
      to the United States Constitution,
      amendments which --over a century 
      late-- freed the chattel-slaves and 
      granted African-Americans  the 
      right to citizenship, and gave men of any 
      part-Black ancestry the right to vote.   

      During her time in the General Assembly,
      Representative Kidd's "firsts" include being
      the first woman on the Rules Committee.

      Kidd, Mae Street (1909-1999)

      Listen to a clip from an 
      interview with Mae Street Kidd.  
      To view a transcription while you listen, click 
      on "transcription" and then on "interview."
      View a transcription of this clip 


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