You are browsing the archive for Third Monday.

by mookygc

More is Less

February 5, 2013 in Oral history, Social history

I can not pretend to know much, if anything about life before the 1990s, especially not as an African American, and I have no basis to know what it was like to grow up in Kentucky, or anywhere else for that matter, during the civil rights movements, and the decades of strife that faced our ancestors.

By most accounts, living in Kentucky as an African American would have been terrifying in the early twentieth century. Jennie Wilson, who was born in 1900, spoke in an interview about “Third Monday”, the day of the month when all the white men would get drunk and go harass anyone who was African American: “We always dreaded third Monday we didn’t know what they were going to do. And they didn’t shoot through the house but they shot through the one up on the hill. But they told my father to come out, and he told them to come in; and they didn’t, And my mother was on her knees praying that they wouldn’t come in. ‘Cause she knew they would kill all of us. I don’t know why they hated us so.”

On the other hand, while listening to Reinette Jones speak I was surprised to learn that Kentucky was more ahead of the times in terms of desegregation, especially in schools. I learned that Kentucky had several counties with desegregated schools much earlier than was required by law, and those schools were in fact forced to segregate at one point. There seem to be quite a few contradictions in our history between fact and perception. This research is forcing me to look at things I never would have, and I feel that the more I learn, the less I know.

Skip to toolbar