Patterns of Violence

January 27, 2013 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, Primary source, Social history

Picture of Jennie Wilson

Jennie Wilson

Listening to Jennie Wilson and her daughter, Alice Wilson, on what they went through while living in Kentucky, a pattern shows up. A pattern of actions that the white population took on the African Americans living there at the time appears. The white Americans had no problem being mean to the black community; anything and everything was okay. Through the stories told by Jennie Wilson and her daughter it is seen that these actions were repetitive and can be seen throughout history and throughout Kentucky.

Jennie tells of the third Monday of every month being a time of fear. On these Mondays, the whites in the community would get drunk and come around to where Jennie, her family, and other black families lived. They would come drunk and with guns prepared to kill those who they especially didn’t like. Shootings and brutal acts against the black community occurred all over Kentucky. In Corbin county whites have a long history of blaming blacks for events that didn’t happen and in Frankfort alone there were 116 accounts of beatings, shootings, hangings, and tarring and feathering.  Just as these occurrences on the third Monday were repetitive, so were the hangings. As Jennie explains in her interview, the hangings were mostly blacks with only one or two white men being hung. Sometimes black men were even taken to the city limits to be hung there instead of at the court house.

Alice explains the history of violence occurring against black students that began to be integrated into white schools. Her and many other students experienced hatred from the white community because of their actions. While Alice encountered name calling on a daily basis and one or two greater disturbances

from the other children going to school, violence across the state, in varying degrees, was constantly occurring. Lloyd Arnold had rocks thrown at him on his way to school and many students who went to college were harassed by dogs and other students, especially those in fraternities.

The violence that occurred to the African Americans in Kentucky can be traced throughout this time period and all of the state. Many people can tell stories of the violence and fear they experienced on behalf of the white community that wanted no part in integration. Jennie and Alice Wilson’s stories and so many more bring to light the pattern of the kind and intensity of the violence that they experienced.


“Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky.” Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.

“KET | Living the Story | Jennie Hopkins Wilson.” KET | Living the Story | Jennie Hopkins Wilson. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013.

“Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.” Notable Kentucky African Americans. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2013



2 responses to Patterns of Violence

  1. I really like that you clearly connected the pattern of violence demonstrated between the generations within the interview. This entry is also narrated in a story-like manner which is excellent to illustrate the scenes as shared by the women.

  2. I liked all your outside information. It really put Alice and Jennie’s stories in the context of Kentucky at the time.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to toolbar