Beverley Marmion was an active member of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression for 25 years, working on several issues including school desegregation and open housing.
It was only by attending meetings that I realized that the Alliance was working very hard to be a black and white organization and to maintain that, and to be a place where people could express their opinions and bring their grievances there and be heard…and being made aware of situations that had arisen in the community as a result of racism.
Be an organization that dealt with civil rights as something that needed to be kept in the forefront of the community’s mind all the time. But it had this role of being a black and white organization. So there were, psychologically, there were various things going on all the time in terms of keeping a ratio of white to black and this that and the other…and I realized that it was important as a white person to be there to attend as many of this public demonstrations and things like that as I could.
Anne was very democratic, and she did not want anyone to go unheard. (laughs) and so the role of the chair to call to order and say, “We’ve discussed this enough.” And to keep your eye on the clock, if you’ve promised a two-hour meeting…you know that just sort of went out the window much of the time. Anne had a great belief in her…if she saw a viewpoint, and her viewpoint was not being addressed well enough, she did want to hold the floor and make sure that her viewpoint was heard and discussed as well as everyone else’s. So sometimes those meetings were very long, and sometimes contentious. So a person had to have a lot of patience to want to live with all of that. But it was great to be in place where people spoke their minds. It was nothing like a Board of Trustees Meeting at UofL…believe me (laughter).
I think the fact that we had a common purpose in what we were doing…I think that was very valuable. Rather than specific friendships, I feel a sense of community with them. When I am with them, Mattie Mathies, Howard Owens, Kirk, Tom Moffett…you know there is a shared background that we don’t even have to talk about and so forth. (AD: That’s interesting. Because there’s a comfort in that). Yes there is umm hmmm.