A thoughtful commentary on the segregation of swimming pools and stereotypes of African Americans and swimming is told through one young woman’s journey from a lifetime of being told not to get into the pool to competing on Central High School’s swim team.
This is the focus of one chapter in the Louisville Story Program’s, The Fights We Fought Have Brought Us Here. The book is written by ten young writers from Central High School, Muhammad Ali’s alma mater, documenting some of the challenges that have shaped them into the people they are today.
Four of the book’s authors, Aniia Cherry, Halima Omar, Naudia Green and Persia Archie-Smith, will participate in a panel discussion during the UofL Women’s Center annual Kentucky Women’s Book Festival held during Women’s History Month. This year the event will take place through a virtual format on Microsoft Teams, Saturday, March 13 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
“Every woman has a story to tell about who and what has shaped her. This event gives us an opportunity to enhance, support and empower women to share stories that can inspire the world,” said Valerie Casey, director of the UofL Women’s Center.
The festival’s opening speaker is Cassie Chambers Armstrong, Louisville Metro Councilperson and author of Hill Women: Finding Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachians.
After rising from poverty to three Ivy League degrees, Chambers pays tribute to the strong “hill women” who raised and inspired her, and whose values have the potential to rejuvenate a struggling region.
Chambers illuminates how Appalachian women face issues that are all too common: domestic violence, the opioid crisis, a world that seems more divided by the day. But these women also are community leaders, keeping their towns together in the face of a system that continually fails them. With nuance and heart, Chambers uses these women’s stories paired with her own journey to break down the myth of the hillbilly and illuminate a region whose poor communities, especially women, can lead it into the future.
The Kentucky Women’s Book Festival is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Learn more and register here.