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by OneTon

Through the Eyes of a Teacher: Lucille Griffin Brooks

November 5, 2010 in 1940s-1950s, 1950s-1960s, Primary source, Social history

After learning in our history class at the University of Kentucky about the achievements of the Kentucky Historical Society‘s Oral History Project: Civil Rights in Kentucky, I chose to research the extensive interviews on the website. I began my research by searching women who made an impact in educating the state of Kentucky. My mother, Mary Fitzpatrick Singleton, is a very important person to me. She taught for many years in Louisville, KY and Charlotte, NC and is a true hero. During my search, I found another impressive lady who had the opportunity to teach during the integration process of Kentucky schools.

Born in Simpson County, Kentucky in 1922, Lucille Griffin Brooks grew up on her grandfather’s farm. The farm helped her learn life skills which would help her during the Civil Rights Era of the United States of America. She attended Sand Bank, Madison Street High School (graduated in 1939), Kentucky State College (graduated in 1944), and finished at Atlanta University. This resume of schools for a woman in the mid-20th century is very impressive and shows great determination to better herself and others around her. Her favorite subjects were math and science based classes too.

Throughout her interviews (see the full text of the interview transcript at the Kentucky Historical Society’s website) she explains what integration meant to the black community and how it affected the community. She explains that if teachers had tenure that they had the best chance of keeping their jobs. Tenure at that time meant having four years of teaching on your resume. She also explains that the black high school teachers were those that were chosen to teach at the predominately white schools too. Brooks spent her first year of integration at Franklin-Simpson High School, but she did not return for her second year. She had been promoted to the job description of Visiting Teacher, but it only lasted a year. She returned to teach the next year and is seen as a major face in the education system of Kentucky. For further insight into the life of Lucille Griffin Brooks, you are welcome to read and listen to the audio recordings of her interviews conducted by Dr. Betsy Brinson for the Kentucky Oral History Commission.

          Lucille Griffin Brooks, interviewed by Betsy Brinson, African American Heritage Center in Franklin, Kentucky, June 6, 2000, catalog 20 B 50, The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Kentucky Historical Society Oral History Project,

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