Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Department Name when Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Carolyn Renee Dupont

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Robert S. Weise

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Thomas H. Appleton

Department Affiliation



This thesis seeks to describe the regional differences between the northern and southern civil rights movements through the examination of the black freedom struggle in Lexington, Kentucky. The geographical location of Lexington offers a unique perspective in civil rights movement activity, as the local movement was not distinctly northern or southern in character. This thesis functions as an analysis of northern and southern civil rights movement activity and uses a narrative of the Lexington movement to place the city's struggle in the context of each region. Oral interviews from white and black Lexingtonians that lived in the city before, during, and after the movement provide the basis for the narrative of the Lexington black freedom struggle. Through the examination of Lexington in different stages - segregation, the civil rights movement, and post-movement society - it is possible to obtain an understanding of the regional differences between the northern and southern movements, as well as Lexington's placement among each region.