Fayette County

She led sit-ins to integrate Lexington. Now a school is named for her.

Camille Jefferson held the program honoring her great aunt as the Lexington Day Treatment Center was renamed the Audrey Grevious Center in honor of the late Civil Rights leader and educator during a Monday morning renaming ceremony.  Grevious, once president of the Lexington NAACP chapter, organized numerous protests and sit-ins in the 1960s. The school helps students involved with the court system get their academic careers back on track. Classes are small, and the school offers support through counselors and social workers.
Camille Jefferson held the program honoring her great aunt as the Lexington Day Treatment Center was renamed the Audrey Grevious Center in honor of the late Civil Rights leader and educator during a Monday morning renaming ceremony. Grevious, once president of the Lexington NAACP chapter, organized numerous protests and sit-ins in the 1960s. The school helps students involved with the court system get their academic careers back on track. Classes are small, and the school offers support through counselors and social workers. cbertram@herald-leader.com

A school that helps children involved with the court system get their educations back on track was renamed Monday to honor a Civil Rights leader and educator.

The Lexington Day Treatment Center will now be called the Audrey Grevious Center.

Speaking Monday at a renaming ceremony , Mayor Jim Gray said it was past time the city honored the of work of Audrey Grevious, who pushed for the integration of Lexington businesses in the 1950s and 1960s by leading sit-ins and peaceful protests.

“All students benefit from inspiration and Audrey Grevious was an inspiring woman — teacher, principal, leader of the Civil Rights movement and member of the Civil Rights Hall of Fame," Gray said.

A longtime educator, Grevious was a former teacher and principal of the Kentucky Village Reformatory — an alternative school that is now Blackburn Correctional Complex.

Several members of Grevious' family, including former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman Robert Jefferson, attended the ceremony.

Grevious died in January 2017. The council gave final approval to changing the school's name in February. The center is at 1177 Harry Sykes Way.

The school is operated by the city, Fayette County Public Schools and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice.

Fayette County Public School Superintendent Manny Caulk said it was fitting the school was named for a woman who was dedicated to making sure all people have the same opportunities.

"Mrs. Grevious spent her life fighting for social justice and educating some of our community’s most vulnerable children," Caulk said. "Renaming this school in her honor is not only appropriate, but is a call to action to expand and improve services for students who are involved in the court system because every child deserves a world class education."

The school also will get a new logo and there are tentative plans for a new mascot, called "champion."

There are other Fayette County schools named for black women, including Edythe J. Hayes Middle School and Rosa Parks Elementary School, but there are few city-owned buildings named for black women. A community center in Douglass Park is named for Orteria O'Rear, another Civil Rights leader, long-time activist and one of the first black women to be elected to a county-wide position when she was elected county magistrate in 1984.

Grevious was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2012. She was first elected president of the Lexington NAACP in 1957. Grevious worked closely with Julia Lewis, president of the local Congress on Racial Equality chapter, and eventually became vice president of the group.

In 2004, Grevious was interviewed as part of a Herald-Leader series highlighting aspects of the Civil Rights movement that were not covered at the time.

She told the Herald-Leader about her experience at a Lexington lunch counter sit-in in 1960, when a waitress dumped a cold glass of Coca-Cola all over her.

Grevious also talked about a protest where she and others stood behind a chain at a downtown Lexington business. A manager flicked the chain repeatedly across Grevious’ shins, but she would not move and just sang “Yield Not to Temptation.” She had to be helped away afterward and, at the time of the 2004 story, still had pain in her shins.

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