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Exploring Primary Sources: Braden Exercise

Activity Information

Newspaper clipping, Andrew Wade holding daughter, Rosemary. Caption reads, "Young Andrew Wade wanted a home for his family to be proud of. Wade and daughter Rosemary." Adjacent image of police officer standing by house partially destroyed by dynamite, caption reads, "Wade's house in a Louisville suburb after the bombers had done their work. Though police are said to know who planted dynamite, Grand Jury indicted one of Wade defenders for the crime."

In 1954, Carl and Anne Braden, committed social activists, assisted Andrew Wade IV, a black electrician in Louisville, Ky. and his wife, to buy a house in an all-white neighborhood of the community of Shively, Kentucky. The Bradens purchased the home and subsequently transferred it to the Wades. In the following days and weeks, the Wades faced discrimination and threats, and their house eventually dynamited. Later, the Bradens were indicted for sedition, and Carl Braden was convicted and served eight months in prison until state sedition laws were overturned by the Supreme Court decision in Pennsylvania v. Nelson.

This module contains materials related to the actions and events surrounding the Braden case, and provides a glimpse of the early civil rights movement in Kentucky, the use of sedition charges in civil rights cases, and the use of the investigatory powers by the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities. Your instructor has detailed instructions on the last tab of the guide, but the main focus of this online exercise is for you to investigate and answer questions about primary source materials related to this moment in the fight for integration in Kentucky. Throughout these primary sources, you will see multiple perspectives and interpretations of the events leading to the purchase of the house and subsequent discrimination, violence, and legal charges. For this exercise, focus on power, perspective, and bias. As you read through the materials and answer these questions, try to put yourself in the shoes of whoever was creating or consuming the primary source document that you see now.


You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.