Voices From the Past

University of Kentucky students enrolled in the History of Kentucky Women in the Long Civil Rights Era work in groups to research and create digital narratives documenting new histories of Kentucky women in the mid-twentieth century. Trained by Doug Boyd of UK’s Nunn Center for Oral History and supported in their research efforts by UK Librarian Reinette Jones, administrator of the award-winning Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, the students recorded new oral history interviews (listed below) that are all archived and maintained by the Nunn Center for Oral History. In several instances, the interviewees very generously donated related documents to the University also.
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Suzy Post, Louisville, Kentucky Oral History Interview in person in two parts, April 20, 2013

Suzy Post Interview. April 20, 2013
(58 minutes total – 1st part in Post’s car on the way to Ruth Booker Bryant memorial service and 2nd part after the service on the way to a restaurant for dinner)

Ms. Post speaks of her role in Louisville and national feminist movements, emphasizing that for her the beginnings came out of experiences of women in their civil rights work; she also emphasizes her Jewish upbringing as a well-spring for her human rights ethics (despite backlash from the John Birch Society and her own Louisville Jewish community); some topics she explored in some detail include the Kentucky Pro-ERA Alliance, ACLU, Jefferson County Human Relations Commission, Anne Braden and the Communist Party, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Jefferson County school desegregation lawsuit and anti-busing protests of the 1970s, the KY ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, anti-death penalty and anti-police brutality work, and advice to young activists today.

Please cite as: Post, Suzy. Interview by Katelyn Sandell and Tahnee Qualls. Digital recording. April 20, 2013. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, KY.

Joyce Hamilton Berry, Washington D.C. Oral History Interview via telephone on Friday, October 22, 2010
Joyce Berry Hamilton Interview, October 22, 2010
(2 hours)Dr. Berry remembers her childhood, growing up in Lexington (her father’s barber shop and home on Dewees Street), her extended family who owned their own businesses, attending high school at Dunbar and her perception of race relations at that time. Dr. Berry’s experience at U.K. and her connections with the civil rights movement in Lexington is also addressed. She also reflects on her career as a psychologist and her publications in a number of magazines along with her numerous appearances on television.

Please cite as:  Hamilton, Joyce Berry. Interview by Allan Adams. Digital recording. October 22, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, KY.

Niesje Spragens, Midway, KY Oral History Interview in person in Midway, November 6, 2010
Niesje Spragens, Midway, November 6, 2010
(67 minutes)Niesje Spragens speaks about her upbringing, school and college (University of Kentucky during WWII). She talks about her first husband and living on a farm in Midway. She also reflects on some of the local businesses in Midway and mentions Stark and Co., the business her husband’s grandmother owned. She also tells about the clubs and organizations in which she was a member, e.g., the Midway Woman’s Club.

Please cite as:  Spragens, Niesje. Interview by Angelia Ruth Pulley. Digital recording. November 6, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Sara Newell Hicks, Midway, KY Oral History Interview in person in Midway, November 8, 2010
Sara Newell Hicks, Midway, November 8, 2010
(55 minutes)Sara Hicks shares her childhood growing up on a farm outside Midway, her closeness with her nanny and private school. She speaks about going away to college and learning about feminism and civil rights. She also talked about her grandmother who was a teacher at Sayre School in Lexington.

Please cite as:  Hicks, Sara Newell. Interview by Angelia Ruth Pulley. Digital recording. November 8, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Cora Emma Washington, Versailles, KY Oral History Interview in person in Versailles, November 11, 2010
Cora Washington Interview, November 11, 2010
(1 hour)Cora Washington shares her childhood growing up in Midway, family gatherings, traditional cooking, communal health care system within the African-American community, and the impact of segregation in a small Kentucky railroad town. She speaks about the downtown Midway businesses, stores, restaurants and the different points of entry for Black Kentuckians in Midway in the 1930s-50s.

Please cite as: Washington, Cora Emma. Interview by Angelia Ruth Pulley. Digital recording. November 11, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Helen Roach Rench Oral History Interview in person in Midway, November 14, 2010
Helen Roach Rentch, November 14, 2010
(70 minutes)Helen Roach Rench describes how integration came about in Midway and the cultural norms of the 1950s and ’60s; African American cooks in Midway collaborating on refusing to cook Sunday dinners for white families; school integration in Midway and Versailles; attending 1964 March on Frankfort while in high school; Midway Woman’s Club; Disciples of Christ Church in Midway; Little League teams and integration; a local lynching, farm help, coalmining

Please cite as: Rentch, Helen Roach. Interview by Angelia Pulley. November 14, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Oral History Center, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, Kentucky.

Kay Frances Jones and La Mont Jones, Lexington, KY Oral History Interview in person, November 29, 2010
Kay Jones and La Mont Jones Interview, November 29, 2010
(2 hours, 19 minutes)Kay Frances (1940- ) and La Mont Jones (1939- ) of Lexington describe their different experiences at the University of Kentucky and the overt racism of UK professors in the sciences. They describe the history of Pleasant Green Baptist Church, the split in the early days with the followers of London Ferrell, and how the history of the church is being revived; details about the role of the church as a meeting place for Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) strategists as well as mass meetings of the African American community to discuss desegregation and civil rights issues.

Please cite as: Jones, Kay and La Mont. Interview by Dawn Bailey. Digital recording. November 29, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Leora Juanita Searcy, Lexington, KY Oral History Interview, December 2, 2010
Leora Juanita Searcy Interview, December 2, 2010
(56 minutes)Interview by Luke Donovan in Lexington KY, December 2, 2010. Leora Juanita Searcy describes her life in an historically African American community only a few blocks from downtown Lexington – called the East End now. Descriptions of the Bluegrass-Aspendale community, Charles Young Community Center, Deweese Street and the Lyric Theatre are some of the topics explored.

Please cite as: “Searcy, Leora Juanita. Interview by Luke Donovan. Digital recording. December 2, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

Barbara Molloy Harrison, Paducah, KY Oral History Interview, December 5, 2010
Barbara Molloy Harrison Interview, December 5, 2010
(21 minutes)Interview by Kyle Trogdon at Barbara Harrison’s home in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 5, 2010. A Methodist, Barbara Molloy Harrison of Paducah, KY describes her memories of segregation in Kentucky as a White woman; her perspectives on modern relationships between White and Black communities in Kentucky is heavily influenced by her continued references to the Civil War. She attended Western Kentucky University where she met her future husband and then followed him to Indiana where she was employed in the military factories. She returned to postsecondary education to major in home economics at the University of Kentucky. She provides an insightful portrait of White married women’s roles during and after World War II.

Please cite as: Harrison, Barbara Molloy. Oral History Interview by Kyle Trogdon. December 5, 2010. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, KY.


Oral History Interviews of Kentucky Women from Other Collections

Logo for Kentuckiana Digital Library Blacks in Lexington,” Special Collections, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY
Picture of Kentucky capitol with protesters and sign "Freedom Now!" Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky,” Oral History Commission, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort KY
Logo for KET's Living the Story Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky,” Kentucky Educational Television, Lexington KY
Logo for Lansdowne Neighborhood Association Lansdowne Oral History Project,” 2009-2010
in partnership with the Louie B. Nunn Oral History Center, University of Kentucky

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