Students to re-enact Louisville race-related sedition trial


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The courtroom scene was Louisville 60 years ago, and the charge was sedition. University of Louisville theater arts students will perform Oct. 24 in a civil rights drama that includes the trial re-enactment and connects the past with modern issues of race and housing.

    UofL’s Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research and the Brandeis School of Law are sponsoring the free, public event – “Moving Forward, Living Backward or Just Sitting Still? – at 7 p.m. in Allen Courtroom, Brandeis School of Law. A talk-back session with the actors will follow.

    Play director Amy Steiger, assistant theater arts professor, and the student cast developed the work from conversations with community members, transcripts from Carl Braden’s sedition trial and Anne Braden’s book “The Wall Between,” using “Living Newspapers” playwriting methods developed during the Works Progress Administration/Federal Theater Project.

    The event is in connection with the current Louisville Free Public Library exhibit “Black Freedom: White Allies and Red Scare: Louisville 1954.” The exhibit is about Andrew and Charlotte Wade, who moved that year with their toddler as the only African American family in a neighborhood in what is now Shively. Six weeks later segregationists dynamited the home. Anne and Carl Braden, white supporters who had bought the home on the Wades’ behalf, were accused of staging the house purchase and bombing as part of a communist plot and were charged with sedition.

    The exhibit, up through Nov. 9 at the 301 York St. main branch, features photos and archival materials from the home purchase, trial, Carl Braden’s imprisonment and civil rights era events that affected the case. The exhibit is a collaboration of the Braden Institute, UofL Archives, Louisville Free Public Library and Courier-Journal Media.

    For more information, call Mariam Williams at the institute, 502-852-6142, or visit

    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.