Note: This original one-on-one interview, part of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project, was produced by the Kentucky Oral History Commission and Historical Society.
In 1968, Georgia Davis Powers became the first African-American and the first woman elected to the Kentucky Senate.
Already active in the civil rights movement, Powers had sharpened her political skills over six years of managing mayoral, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns for other people. But her preparation for being a pioneer of gender issues started much earlier. Born in 1923 outside of Springfield in Washington County, Powers grew up the only girl in a family of nine children.
In the early 1960s, Powers led the Allied Organization for Civil Rights in promoting a statewide public accommodations and fair employment law. She was one of the organizers of the 1964 March on Frankfort in support of equity in public accommodations.
During her 21 years in the Senate, she introduced statewide fair housing legislation and sponsored bills prohibiting employment discrimination as well as sex and age discrimination. Powers also supported legislation to improve education for the physically and mentally disabled.
Her memoir, “I Shared the Dream: The Pride, Passion, and Politics of the First Black Woman Senator from Kentucky,” was published New Horizon Press in 1995.