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Mae Street Kidd

Marker #2147, “Mae Street Kidd (1904-99)”, Millersburg, Main St., between center gates and Seventh St.

Historical Marker #2147 commemorates Minnie Mae Jones, born February 8, 1904 to a black mother and a white father. Discriminated against by both white and black individuals she never let her humble beginnings keep her from a life of accomplishment. Mae lived with her mother, Anna Bell Leer Taylor, and her stepfather, James William Taylor, in the Shippville neighborhood of Millersburg where about 50 black families lived. She never met her father, Charles Robert Jones, who also lived in Millersburg.

She grew up with her siblings in a happy family atmosphere and attended segregated local schools into her high school years. The school provided a traditional curriculum and English was her favorite subject. The school provided a good foundation for her later careers in business and politics. She attended the black Methodist Church nearby. Following high school she attended Lincoln Institute, a black boarding academy, to continue her education.

Ms. Kidd had a successful career with the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, her service in England in World War II with the Red Cross and finally most notably as a representative in the Kentucky State Legislature. It was during the time that she worked for Mammoth Life that she met and married her first husband, Horace Leon Street, also an employee with Mammoth. Mr. Street suffered a heart attack and died in 1942 after 12 years of marriage.

It was in England during the war that Mae Street met her second husband, James Meredith Kidd III. They were married in 1947, later divorced and remarried. He spent much of their married life teaching at Shawnee Junior High School in Louisville.

In addition to her work at Mammoth Life and her years with the Red Cross in England, she is perhaps best known for her political life where she represented the Louisville 41st District for seventeen years (1968-1984) in the Kentucky General Assembly. Of her work in the Legislature she is best remembered for the sponsorship of Kentucky’s ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution in 1976. They all reflect the ending of slavery and awarding of equal rights to black citizens. She also sponsored a bill which created the Kentucky Housing Corporation to provide open and low-income housing in the state.

Minnie Mae Jones Street Kidd’s remarkable life came to an end on October 20, 1999 in Louisville where she was buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery next to her second husband.

Source:

“Bourbon County Woman To Be Honored With Highway Marker” by Paul Gibson, from the Bourbon County Citizen.

Passing for Black: The Life and Careers of Mae Street Kidd, Wade Hall, Lexington: KY, University Press of Kentucky, 1997.

Mae Street Kidd
Mae Street Kidd as a successful businesswoman and traveler. [Google Images]

Mae Street Kidd, Politician
Mae Street Kidd, successful politician.[Google Image] During her 20 years in the legislature, Ms. Kidd was a tireless advocate of civil right causes, and was honored for her accomplishments.

The Lincoln Institute
The Lincoln Institute in Shelby County, Kentucky. [Google Image] Ms. Kidd attended the Lincoln Institute, an all black boarding high school in Shelby County, KY operated from 1912 to 1966. Whitney Young, Sr. was its longtime principal; his son Whitney Young Jr. , the prominent Civil Rights leader, was born at the Lincoln Institute, and is among its most illustrious graduates.