US

Segregated clubs in Kentucky raise issues for private business, civil rights law

LOUISVILLE — The push to integrate Kentucky’s private social clubs, whose members clung to old notions of Southern white privilege for decades after the end of Jim Crow, began in the early 1990s with a lone, quiet protest: At lunchtime on days when the weather was nice, a black preacher and civil rights activist named Louis Coleman would put up a folding card table in front of one of the many unofficially restricted clubs here; set it with a tablecloth, china and candles; and dine on buns and lemonade.

Coleman died in 2008, but his efforts drew the attention of the state’s Commission on Human Rights, which opened a decade-long inquiry into Kentucky’s country clubs and men-only dining societies.

A 2004 state Supreme Court ruling pushed Kentucky’s remaining segregated clubs to stop the discrimination or risk losing tax deductions. Still, at least one club held out until late last year.

Full story: Segregated clubs in Kentucky raise issues for private business, civil rights law