From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Militant Church Movement (Louisville, KY)

The Militant Church Movement (MCM) was a post-World War II civil rights organization established by Rev. J. C. Olden, father of Sylvia Olden Lee. MCM began in Louisville as a small but vocal church-based organization developed into a coalition of African American churches in Kentucky.

In 1951, MCM led the boycott of a baseball game that was to have taken place in Louisville between white major league players led by Gill Hodges and an African American team led by Roy Campanella. The protest was in response to plans to segregate the audience. The game was cancelled.

In 1953, MCM, led by Rev. Olden and Rev. M. M. D. Perdue, was successful in leading the Interracial Hospital Movement campaign that began the successful process ending racial restrictions in all Kentucky hospitals. That same year, MCM launched a mass petition drive to urge Kentucky lawmakers to integrate the state's schools. The group also launched protests against GE for its hiring practices.

What is known about the MCM exists because of those who remember the group's efforts; MCM did not have a formal membership list and did not keep records.

For more see "All-Star ball game dropped: Jim Crow protest effective," Honolulu Record, 11/1/1951, p. 6; Subversive Southerner, by C. Fosl and A. Y. Davis; and Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South, by T. E. K'Meyer.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Olden, James Clarence "J. C."
NKAA Entry: Lee, Everett Astor, Jr. and Sylvia Olden
NKAA Source: Honolulu record (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Subversive southerner : Anne Braden and the struggle for racial justice in the Cold War South
NKAA Source: Civil rights in the gateway to the South : Louisville, Kentucky, 1945-1980

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Militant Church Movement (Louisville, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 25, 2023,

Last modified: 2022-07-11 16:17:02