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.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Militant Church Movement (Louisville, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-11 16:17:02