Thursday, May 22, 2008

R.I.P. Alice Wade

One of Louisville's most dependable and committed voices in the civil-rights movement died yesterday. Alice Wade, 69, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer passed yesterday morning. According to an e-mail sent out by the KY Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, Wade was given less than two weeks to live by doctors last week at Jewish Hospital. Though lesser-known to the public, Wade was a committed organizer to the struggle for equality in Louisville.

From the Courier-Journal:

A native of Jeffersonville, Ind., Wade had lived in the Louisville area all her life. Her daughter, Ursula Wade, said her mother worked at the old Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, at various other jobs and in nursing.

Of her involvement in civil rights, her daughter said: "I think she just wanted to make sure that she made a difference."

Alice Wade's family is planning a memorial service, but arrangements were incomplete yesterday. Memorial gifts may be made to The Braden Center, 3208 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40211.

"I saw her yesterday," said Rev. Louis Coleman, director of the Justice Resource Center and longtime friend and ally of Wade. When I called him about Wade's passing, Rev. Coleman kept repeating, "It's a tragic loss."

Raoul Cunningham, President of Louisville NAACP said Wade was one of the most dedicated individuals in community activism and her dedication will be severely missed.

"She was always dependable," Cunningham told me. "Always ready to make whatever contributions were necessary."

"We're almost gone," Rev. Coleman commented somberly, speaking about the dwindling number of his peers who marched, petitioned and spoke out for civil rights at the movement's genesis in the 1960s. "We're just about gone, either that or tired or worn out. Some of us hit a wall and cancer is a rough trial."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to write a comment but I will for Alice. She was special in many ways. I met her 3 and a half years ago as a new intern to the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Alice knew everybody and like Attica has said, she openly gave you the 411 on any and every body in the progressive movement. She kept so much contact information in her head you could call her the whitepages! Till this day people call the Alliance and ask for numbers to people, business and organizations.

Alice and I took care of each other. She was like a step-mother and Anne Braden was like my grandmother. I learned so much about Louisville through Alice and Anne.

Alice help save my life in February of 2006. She made me go to the hospital because I was very pale and had problems breathing. She cussed U of L hospital out for leaving me in the waiting room of the emergency department for so long. I can still hear her saying, "Shameka you should have went to Jewish". The doctors took care of me because Alice would have it no other way. She took care of a lot of people all her life! I was dying of congestive heart failor at 29 and she stayed by my side.

After she was fired by the Alliance I stayed by her side as well. We continued to take care of one another. She knew of the rumors of me taking her job and we talked about how to deal with them daily. People resented me for a while a some still do. Alice and I knew the truth. She took care of the Alliance and Anne. When Anne died it was too much and the Alliance didnt know how to move forward.

Alice told me to leave the Alliance the day she left. She knew I was dedicated and supported me even though she had lost it for the Alliance. She even kept my kids while I ran the Art's & Activism Camp !

When I saw her I didnt talk about my leaving the Alliance-I told her that I loved her and that I would never forget how she help save my life. Last, I told her that her work here was done and to tell Anne I said hello.

Alice did what I hope to do....leave this world with a job well done-not perfect but done!