After the American Civil War three amendments were made to the Constitution; The 13th abolished slavery, the 14th defined citizenship, and the 15th allowed for equal voting rights (for men). While the federal government passed these amendments shortly after the war, many states did not ratify them for decades. The state of Kentucky did not formally ratify these amendments until 1976. Instrumental in gaining support for the movements was Mae Street Kid (1904-1999).
Ms. Kidd had a distinguished career as a businesswoman, civil leader, and politician. She served in the Red Cross and was a Kentucky State House Representative from 1968-1984 from Louisville. Along with the legislation passed, she also helped to found the Kentucky Housing Corporation, which aides in people to afford housing. The Fair Housing Act in 1972 that founded KHC was also nicknamed the "Mae Street Kidd Act".
One of the most impressive aspects of Mae's life is that she was able to accomplish so much in a time period where her racial background would cause her difficulty. Her mother was an African-American woman, who worked for the family of Mae's father.Though her father was often present in her life, she resented him due to his refusal to acknowledge her as his daughter. Her complexion often made people assume she was white, and she trod a thin line between two worlds as she grew up. It was these early experiences that would shape her into a champion of social justice later in life.
In 1997 her biography "Passing for Black" was published two years before her death. It is based on interviews with the author Wade Hall and chronicles her life and her work in helping others for equality regardless of race, income, or social standing.