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Breonna Taylor protests come 52 years after Louisville's biggest protest

This isn't the first time Louisville has seen large protests. One of the biggest protests our city has seen happened on this day 52 years ago.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fighting against racial inequality has long been a thread woven into U.S. history. It's a fact that regional history archivist, Tom Owen knows all too well.

"What we're dealing with are themes and issues that are much broader than what happened last night," said Owen, who works at the University of Louisville.

Accusations of police brutality are nothing new. Breonna Taylor has become one name among many that protesters chant while demanding justice.

It was 52 years ago, at the end of May 1968, that tensions grew across the country with the assassination of Martin Luther King Junior.

"It had been bubbling, but of course everything was unsettled because of the Martin Luther King Assassination," Owen said.

In Louisville, a white police officer was reinstated after beating a black man two weeks earlier. Protests began on 28th and Greenwood and turned violent. 

"Rioting broke out and continued for four nights and ultimately involving the calling out of over a thousand national guard," Owen said.

Two teenagers lost their lives. We spoke to Fannie Groves, the mother of 14-year-old James Groves, who was killed that day.

"I heard the shots," Groves said. "When they shot him, I heard his screams, His last words was mama."

In 1975, there was also a protest against busing to desegregate the schools in Louisville. School buses were attacked, causing a state of emergency. 

Michael Newby was shot and killed by a Louisville Metro officer in 2004. When the officer isn't indicted, demonstrators take to the street. Once again starting peaceful and ending in violence. 

Now, 52 years later, Breonna Taylor's name is chanted.

RELATED: 'This didn't start with Breonna Taylor': Organizer says Thursday protest was response to growing anger, frustration

RELATED: 'No justice, no peace': Everything that led to Louisville's Breonna Taylor protest

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