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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

Kentucky Alliance Oral History Project: Shameka Parrish-Wright

Kentucky Alliance Oral History Project

Interview: Shameka Parrish-Wright

David Lott

Shameka Parrish-Wright began her work with the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression in the early 2000’s as an intern. Parrish-Wright continues her work with the organization with a particular interest in fostering youth participation in social justice movement work.

Transcript of clips

Topic: Anne Braden

[26:42] Anne had been teaching at EKU and I come back and she’s here. And she’s on the computer and she looks above her classes and asks, “Who are you?” And I say, “I met Alice. I’m the new intern and I’m really interested in learning about..,” all of a sudden she gives me a literally a box like that (gestures with hands) of stuff with things to read about the Alliance full of brochures. And she was like, “read that stuff, get caught up and then the next day you are going to go down to the courthouse and go and sit in on this meeting” about the police officer that shot this man that was handcuffed in the back. I went home and I was reading it and I really became more engaged once I read the history and read about Angela Davis and how everything got started. I was just blown away by her when I first met her. She was one of my biggest inspirations. I hate that it was the long way around, but I had to tell you that. When I met her I was just so impressed that this old white woman was working on issues of racism and just tirelessly. I wanted to help her. I didn’t know everything. I didn’t need to know everything. I knew I wanted to help her in whatever she was doing. I was like, “Dang! If she’s doing all that the least I can do is help.” [28:07]

Topic: Struggles of Multiracial Organizing and Intergenerational Work

[37:32] One of the things when we talk about Anne, we talk about the good stuff, but there was always this other side where folks could have got more engaged, but they felt like they were pushed back, or they couldn’t come in and do some good work. In that sense they could only join in, they couldn’t lead a lot of the work. I don’t think that was Anne and Carl’s idea. They wanted to be led by people of color, but I think that, like Anne would say she still saw the world through her white eyes. She had struggles with control and letting things be and doing things differently, and that’s still here. That isn’t even just her, that’s still here because even older black people, they tend to have more in common on a progressive end with someone like Anne than say they do with new ways and new ideas on doing things. Some folks are working through that in intergenerational processes, but some folks I see struggle. [38:36]