Campbellsville University hosts Dr. Cate Fosl to speak for Women’s History Month

Campbellsville University hosts Dr. Cate Fosl to speak for Women’s History Month
Dr. Cate Fosl discusses activist Anne Braden and her impact of women’s rights with students during her presentation for Women’s History Month at Campbellsville University. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)

By Zoe McAninch, student intern writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” Dr. Cate Fosl said at a Women’s History Month presentation at Campbellsville University March 25.

Fosl, professor of women, gender and sexuality studies with the University of Louisville, who also serves as director of the University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, discussed “Anne Braden: Unruly Women and The Struggle for Racial and Social Justice in Kentucky and The South.”

She said, “When we think of women’s activism, we think too often of the women’s rights movement, but women have been disproportionately represented in every social movement.”

Fosl’s presentation primarily centered around Anne Braden who made an impact for social movements in Kentucky.

Fosl also stressed the impact other women have on activists, including those within their own families. As in Braden’s case, Ann McGinty was one of the first female tavern owners and considered “unruly” in her own right.

McGinty was an early ancestor of Braden and one of the first dozen women to settle in Kentucky. She is mainly known for bringing the first spinning wheel over the Cumberland Gap into early Kentucky.

Fosl said, “She was not a racial justice reformer, but she was an unruly woman, who pushed the boundaries of what was possible for women.”

McGinty was a major part in growing Kentucky’s first town to a well-developed community and was a successful business woman.

Fosl emphasized the importance of everyone knowing and acknowledging their family history and the power our personal histories have not only on our own life, but also how we impact others.

Fosl said Braden was an advocate for racial and social rights in America. She lived in Louisville, Ky. in 1951 with her husband, Carl Braden.

Braden is best known for helping a black family buy a house in an all-white neighborhood in Louisville. She and her husband were put on trial for sedition, blacklisted for jobs, threatened and reviled by their fellow white Southerners for what they did.

Braden was not a stranger to a jail cell and was arrested many times. Her main accusation was betraying her race.

Braden was one of the few white southerners to fully join hands with the black freedom movement. She worked closely with Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King and was a symbol for southern white women to push the boundaries of racial equality.

King, in his “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” said there were only six white southerners in which he could trust, and the only Kentuckian on the list was Braden.

The black freedom movement was so transformative that it birthed other social justice movements, Fosl said. To this day, The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice at the University of Louisville still seeks to address not only racial injustices but other social injustices, as well.

Fosl received a Ph.D. in History form Emory University in 2000.

She had authored three books: “Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky,” co-authored with Tracy E. K’Meyer, “Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South” and “Women for All Seasons: The Story of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.”

To find out more about Fosl and her work, visit https://louisville.edu/wgs/faculty/fosl.

Campbellsville University’s Learning to Live Together initiative sponsored the Women’s History Month speaker.

March became National Women’s History Month in 1987. The month celebrates and honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,000 students offering over 90 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville, all in Kentucky, and one in Costa Mesa, Calif., and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.

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