Black Women Oral Histories at UK

Women’s Voices in
“Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989”

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Of the 227 interviews, 98 were digitized – and of those digitized, 68 are women. The women’s interviews averaged 68 minutes (from one as short as 10 minutes to one as long as 180 minutes).
See the next page for the list of digitized and indexed interviews of women of Lexington and Fayette County from multiple collections in the Nunn Center.
Women Interviewed:

Ann Miller
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B: July 3, 1933, Lexington, Kentucky
Mrs. Miller attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School and graduated from Dunbar High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College in 1954, and began her career at Constitution Elementary School where she taught physical education for eleven years. She is married to George Miller and is the mother of three children. When the Lexington schools were integrated, Mrs. Miller was involuntarily transferred to Mary Todd Lincoln Elementary in 1971. She discusses the teaching conditions at Constitution during segregation and the problems encountered after integration, as well as the difficulties still faced by African American students.
78OH109 KH71
Date: July 18, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 22 minutes Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Kay and Reverend Lamont Jones
Occupation: Pastor and Pastor’s wife
The Jones’ discuss their activities and membership in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Participation in acts of civil disobedience including sit-ins, stand-ins, marches, boycotts, and being arrested at the Strand Theater are detailed. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s influence and activists such as Abby Marlatt, Edward Morin, Ronald Berry, Laura Massie, and Judge Richard Moloney are remembered. The University of Kentucky’s attitude towards CORE is also examined, as is the white community’s reaction. They speak about the Lexington Committee on Human Relations and the Human Rights Commission, and remember the Reginald O’Rourke murder.
79OH61 KH126
Date: September 24, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 1 hr. 15 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Viola Greene
D.O.B.: 1909, Cincinnati, Ohio
Occupation: Teacher
A teacher in the Lexington school system for nearly 42 years, Ms. Greene graduated from Dunbar High School in 1928, West Virginia State College in 1932, and received her Master’s Degree in 1948 from Columbia University. She began her teaching career at Grover Washington Elementary, transferring to Dunbar in 1934 where she taught mathematics until 1939. She left the profession until 1952 when she returned to Lexington Douglas (1952-1963) and Lexington Lafayette and taught until 1974. Greene discusses the impact segregation had upon the salary scales of African American teachers during the 1930s, the differences between black and white schools of the period, the scholastic achievements of her students and the role of teachers in African American schools. She recounts the reaction of white administrators to the guidance program she started at Dunbar, and the attitudes of white teachers to African American students during integration. The resistance of the African American community to segregation in Fayette County including the attitude of African American teachers to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the teacher selection process for school integration is recalled.
78OH51 KH25
Date: June 1, 1978; Location: Lexington, Kentucky; Interviewer: Edward Owens; P.T.: 1 hr. 10 mins
Conditions: Fair ; Restricted: No; Transcript: Yes
Marilyn Gaye Discusses discrimination faced by African Americans in Lexington during the late 1950s and early 1960s, as well as her participation in the civil rights movement in Lexington.
78OH68 KH34 Date: May 17, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: George C. Wright P.T.: 45 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Virginia McDonald
Occupation: Librarian
The Douglas High School librarian for 27 years, Ms. McDonald discusses conditions at Douglas High before and after integration.
78OH94 KH56 Date: July 1, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 15 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Alvinia Newell
D.O.B.: August 18, 1950, Dayton, Ohio
Occupation: Dentist
A graduate of Kentucky State University (1971) and the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry (1975), Dr. Newell discusses her struggle to establish her private practice in Lexington from 1976 to 1978.
78OH97 KH59 Date: July 5, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens
P.T.: 15 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Ella Bosley Mrs. Bosley reminisces about her mother, Florence Williams Tolley, who opened the first African American nursing home in Kentucky, the Williams Samaritan Home in Lexington.
79OH64 KH129 Date: November 13, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 20 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Abby Marlatt A Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) activist, Dr. Marlatt discusses her educational background, her professional career at the University of Kentucky, and the reaction of her colleagues to her involvement with this organization. The history of CORE in Lexington beginning in 1959, including the reception received from the African American community as well as city hall’s reaction, are recounted by Dr. Marlatt. She recalls strategic planning meetings at Pleasant Green Baptist Church, and the membership and accomplishments of CORE.
79OH65 KH130 Date: November 16, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 15 minutes Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Lulla Riffe
D.O.B.: 1894
A resident of Pralltown, Ms. Riffe attended Patterson Street School and was a member of Pleasant Green Baptist Church. She reminisces about her life in Pralltown and the ministers of her church.
79OH66 KH131 Date: November 21, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 30 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Faustina Cruise Ms. Cruise discusses her 34-year career with Mammoth Insurance Company, an African American owned business in Lexington.
79OH68 KH133 Date: December 27, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 10 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Elizabeth Garner Ms. Garner discusses life at Charlotte Court, an African American housing development.
79OH69 KH134 Date: December 27, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 10 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Roberta Laine
Occupation: Teacher
Mrs. Laine received her teacher’s certificate from Kentucky Normal School, and taught for four years in Adair County. Married to an African American surgeon in Lexington, Mrs. Laine discusses her husband and his practice.
79OH70 KH135 Date: December 27, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 25 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Estelle Tatman
D.O.B.: 1922, Lexington, Kentucky
Ms. Tatman recalls her community involvement in Lexington with day care and senior citizens.
79OH71 KH136 Date: December 28, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 15 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mattie Jackson
Occupation: Teacher
A teacher at George Washington Carver School from 1914 to 1960, Ms. Jackson recalls her educational background, teaching conditions during segregation, the effects of integration, the role of African American educators in the community, and identifies outstanding African American teachers. She also talks about the Speaker Hill and Irishtown sections of Lexington.
79OH72 Date: December 28, 1978 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 20 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mary D. Muir
Occupation: Laundry Worker
Ms. Muir, an employee of the Lexington Laundry for 47 years, discusses working conditions at the laundry, living through the Great Depression, and her relationships with white citizens.
79OH73 KH138 Date: January 4, 1979 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 10 minutes Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mary Jones
Occupation: Homemaker
Widow of Pastor W.A. Jones of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Mrs. Jones attended Kentucky State College and moved to Lexington in 1932. She discusses the first sit-in held during Lexington’s civil rights movement, the role of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, and the first African Americans ever served at the Phoenix Hotel. She recalls the reaction accorded the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) by the white community, Lexington’s African American cemetery, and other forms of segregation and discrimination. Mrs. Jones also reminisces about activist Abby Marlatt, newspaperman Fred Wachs, and her husband.
79OH74 KH139 Date: January 9, 1979 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 50 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mary Porter Ms. Porter graduated from Dunbar High School and was a resident of the Bluegrass Apartment Project at >td?Aspendale for 14 years. She reminisces about the history of the housing project and the effect of integration.
79OH75 KH140 Date: January 29, 1979 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 10 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Grace Cooper
Occupation: Director Dunbar Community Center
D.O.B.: May 6, 1908, Hancock County, Kentucky
Mrs. Cooper discusses her work-related experiences, working conditions, job requirements and integration.
79OH89 KH142 Date: January 24, 1979 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Edward Owens P.T.: 15 minutes Restricted: No Transcript: No
Laura Wendell Moore and Clara Wendell Stitt Mrs. Moore graduated from Russell High School, and Mrs. Stitt from Dunbar High School, Fisk University and Columbia where she received her master’s degree. The women discuss their father, Dr. T. T. Wendell, his involvement in the civil rights movement, the NAACP of the 1940s, and race relations within the African American community during the 1940s and 1950s. They remark upon urban renewal in the east end of Lexington, integration of the police department, African American physicians and other leaders. The existence of African American social and professional clubs and organizations is discussed, as is the role of schools within the community before and after segregation, including the closing of Dunbar High School.
82OH154 KH205 Date: November 8, 1982 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Gerald Smith P.T.: 1 hour Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Lillie Yates
D.O.B.: 1896, Madison County, Kentucky
Ms. Yates recalls her family history including relatives who experienced slavery, overseers and the practice of miscegenation, the practice of “hiring out”, Jonestown, “black troublemakers”, and her educational background. She reminisces about farm life in the early twentieth century including methods of home heating, harvesting corn, soap making, food preparation and preservation, making burgoo and “home-brew”, ice-making, making clothes, and holiday traditions. She also talks about wages, treatment of African American farm workers by white farm families, tobacco production, commercial farming, farm labor, hired help, obtaining credit at the country store, and other difficulties faced by African American farmers of the time period. Ms. Yates recounts the role of religion in the country churches in the African American community, church parties and dances, “turning out” by the church, attitudes toward alcohol use, country preachers, religious revivals and country baptisms.
86OH202 KH332 Date: July 15, 1986 Location: Cleveland, Ohio Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Anna McCann
D.O.B.: January 9, 1916, Lexington, Kentucky
Ms. McCann recounts her family history and educational background and reminisces about her experiences attending segregated schools (Patterson Elementary during the 1920s and Dunbar High Schools in the 1930s) including school activities. She especially mentions Patterson Principal Fannie White, who fought for years to have the school moved away from the railroad tracks, and Dunbar Principal Lizzie B. Fouse. She recalls the role of African American churches in the community, Lexington’s Colored Fair, African American entertainers who performed on Deweese Street, and the indignity of home visits by public health nurses espousing family planning.
86OH205 KH334 Date: July 24, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 1 hour Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Helen Noble
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: 1904, Benoit, Mississippi
A graduate of Langston University, Ms. Noble discusses her educational background, her teaching experiences at Russell Elementary in 1957, the annual state wide music contest held at Dunbar High, conditions faced by African Americans in Lexington in 1980, and the reaction of African American teachers to the civil rights movement.
86OH210 KH339 Date: July 25, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 55 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Sadie Reid Brown
Occupation: Homemaker
D.O.B.: 1906, Frankfort, Kentucky
Ms. Reid reminisces about her family history, her father’s career as headwaiter at the Capitol Hotel, and her educational background. She remembers living next door to Kentucky State University, the “Craw” section of Frankfort, and conditions faced by African Americans in Lexington during the 1920s. She talks about the African American businesses on Short Street and Broadway in Lexington, the Colored City Park Board, the Chandler School, and the Colored Fair. She recalls her husband’s (Earl B. Brown) upholstery business, reaction of the African American community to the civil rights movement, and the bombing of Zirl Palmer’s drugstore. She discusses Deweese Street, the Lyric Theater, and the African American entertainers who performed in Lexington.
86OH215 KH344 Date: July 30, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 45 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Dorothy Pumphrey
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: 1922, Henderson, Kentucky
Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. Pumphrey attended school at Madison, Louisville Central High School, and the Municipal College. She recalls her family history, school dances, activities on Walnut Street, and her interest in the arts. She discusses teaching at Bates High School in Danville, her husband’s family business in Monticello, Kentucky and coming to Lexington in 1958. The quality of education received at segregated schools, especially at Dunbar, the integration of the school system and the civil right movement in Lexington are all remembered, as is the African American leadership within the community during this time. She talks about the All Souls Church, Ronald Berry, successful African American citizens, and compares the communities of Louisville and Lexington.
86OH218 KH347 Date: August 8, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 55 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Bettye Simpson
Occupation: Social Worker
D.O.B.: December 18, 1945, Lexington, Kentucky
Ms. Simpson talks about her family history and graduation from Dunbar High School and Kentucky State University. She reminisces about Irishtown, her career as a social worker, and the discrimination she encountered at the Chestnut Street YWCA. She discusses the role of African American clergy in the civil rights movement in Lexington, and the churches’ influence upon the community. She recalls an attempt to establish an independent African American school in Lexington.
86OH223 KH351 Date: August 11, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 40 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Loretta Nickens
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: July 5, 1911, Hamtranek, Michigan
A former teacher in Detroit, Michigan, Ms. Nickens moved to Lexington in 1979. She discusses her family’s history, her upbringing, her parents, and the role of women within her family. She recounts her educational background and teaching career, and delineates the cultural differences between Detroit and Lexington. She remarks upon the social conditions for African Americans in Lexington during the 1980s and her retirement.
86OH225 KH353 Date: August 11, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 55 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Wilhelmina Hunter
D.O.B.: March 14, 1898, Boston, Massachusetts
The wife of Dr. Bush Hunter, Mrs. Hunter recalls her childhood in Boston as the only African American student in elementary, high school and business school. She discusses her interest in becoming a professional working woman, her experiences in Washington, D.C. during the “Roaring Twenties”, and her marriage to Dr. Bush Hunter. Mrs. Hunter comments upon the attitudes of African Americans and the conditions faced in Lexington from 1926-1986. She remembers the lack of public accommodations available for African American entertainers Duke Ellington and Marion Anderson, the social activities in Lexington, and the prejudice practiced at Kaufman’s Department Store. She discusses her view of racism and the role of the African American church in Lexington.
86OH227 KH355 Date: August 12, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Ann Grundy P.T.: 1 hr. 15 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mattie Johnson Gray
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: August 1, 1897, Woodford County, Kentucky
A former teacher, Ms. Gray recalls her family history including the story of her great grandfather, a slave, who was able to buy his own freedom but not that of his wife. She discusses the miscegenation in her family, and the African American community’s attitude towards this practice. Her parents farmed on a small scale, sharecropping hemp. She remembers the gender roles on the farm during her childhood, and her parents’ attitude towards education based on gender. She examines the role of the church in the African American community and the importance of religion in her life. Ms. Gray remembers segregation and its effects on all aspects of African American life: the practice of separating pints of blood based on racial origin, lack of educational opportunities, disenfranchisement of African American citizens from the voting process, and socio-economic development. She recounts her teacher’s training at Kentucky Normal School, beginning her career at a one room, segregated schoolhouses, and her retirement upon doctor’s advice in 1928. She delineates the differences in the educational system from her time as a teacher with the present system. She reminisces about African American businesses in Lexington: the Laborer’s Lunch restaurant owned and operated by her brothers on Water Street, the effects of desegregation upon the business community, and the restaurant she owned in Versailles for seven years. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement are commented upon, as is her affiliation with the Republican party as part of the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. She remembers her parents’ participation in the democratic process, and the ability to exercise freedom of choice in the voters’ booth for the first time.
86OH230 KH358 Date: July 28, 1986 Location: Versailles, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hrs. 15 mins. Conditions: Good-Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Elizabeth R. Harris
D.O.B.: June 3, 1919, Fayette County, Kentucky
Ms. Harris recalls her family history, Native American and African American ancestors, her parents’ education and their tradition of land ownership, and her educational background in Fayette and Bourbon counties. She examines the role of the African American church within the community and the family, and the community supervision of children. She recounts her employment history and discusses the employment opportunities available for African Americans in mid-twentieth century Lexington. Ms. Harris talks about racially mixed neighborhoods, her opposition to integration, and the effects of the civil rights movement upon the African American community.
86OH231 KH359 Date: July 15, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 15 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Patricia R. Spencer Laine
Occupation: Former beautician
D.O.B.: 1932, Midway, Kentucky
Mrs. Laine recalls family history, ancestors who were slaves of the Alexander family in Woodford County, and remembers her parents and grandparents. She reminisces about her childhood on Spring Station Road, having to walk to school while school busses passed by, and shares memories of family social activities. She discusses Pilgrim Baptist Church in Midway and examines the role of the African American church within the community. Mrs. Laine talks about the lack of segregation in rural areas as opposed to urban communities, recalls the segregation she encountered in Lexington, especially her experiences with the Hillenmeyer family where she was employed as a maid. She opened a beauty shop in the segregated ward at Eastern State Hospital and also worked at the Federal Narcotics Medical Center on Leestown Road. At both sites she faced covert racism. Mrs. Laine recounts the problems between different social classes and races of prisoners, and the effect of the civil rights movement upon African American education and businesses.
86OH232 KH360 Date: August 6, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 15 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Joanna Offutt Childress
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: February 1, 1914, Lexington, Kentucky
The daughter of a Baptist minister, Ms. Childress recalls her grandparents, slaves of the Offutt family in western Kentucky, and other family history. She attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School and graduated from Dunbar High School and Kentucky State University, where she obtained her teaching degree. She recounts events in her career including the integration of the schools, differences in teacher salaries, teacher-student relationships, and the restraints placed upon teachers during the civil rights movement. Ms. Childress examines the effect the Great Depression had upon the African American community, the influence World War Two had on the civil rights movement, and the changes in living conditions for African Americans in Lexington. She explores the changing roles of the church in the African American community over the years and the integration of Pleasant Green Baptist Church. She discusses the reaction of the African American community to racially mixed marriages, the segregation of downtown stores, and the effect of integration upon African American businesses.
86OH234 KH362 Date: August 25, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hours Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Laura Wendell Moore
D.O.B.: September 16, 1900, Lexington, Kentucky
The daughter of Dr. Thomas P. Wendell discusses her father’s education at Fisk University and Meharry, his practice at Lexington hospitals, and the community organizations to which he belonged. She recalls her mother’s religious background, family history and socio-economic background, and the importance of “bloodlines” in Kentucky. Mrs. Moore stresses the importance of IBM to Lexington, the change in employment opportunities for African Americans during her lifetime, and the effect of the civil rights movement in Lexington. She talks about the differences between the quality of white and African American teachers, and gives an account of her political views and activities.
86OH235 KH363 Date: September 5, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hour Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mrs. Charles Chenault Jones
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: August 19, 1928, Madison County, Kentucky
Raised on a farm in Madison County, Kentucky, Mrs. Jones taught school for 35 years before her retirement. She describes her family history and descent from former slaves, her parents’ education, and reminisces about her grandmother. She recalls the gender roles of her childhood, social activities during the Depression era, “basket meetings” at the local church, and family farm activities such as raising livestock and produce, food preparation, and chores. She discusses the segregation in Richmond with the railroad tracks as the dividing line, and the implementation of the Day Law. The African American community is examined in depth as Mrs. Jones looks at the importance of education, the evidence of class distinctions among African Americans, community interaction, and the presence of African American businessmen and professionals in Richmond. Mr. J.W. Cobb and the African American newspaper, the role of the minister and church within the community, and deficiencies of the present African American churches are also studied. Mrs. Jones discusses the effect of President Ronald Reagan’s administration upon the African American community nationwide, the socio-economic changes in the Arlington neighborhood, segregation in the area department stores, her role in the civil rights movement, the reaction of the white community to Dr. Martin Luther King’s death, and the integration experiences at the University of Kentucky.
86OH236 KH364 Date: September 2, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hrs. 5 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Grace Potter Carter
Occupation: Cook
D.O.B.: February 21, 1912, Bracktown, Kentucky
The wife of Robert William Carter, Grace Potter Carter is the daughter of Current B. “Percy” and Margaret Whiting Potter, and had been an employee of the University of Kentucky for many years. Mr.Potter was a blacksmith and worked with explosives in a rock quarry in Frankfort, and Margaret Potter was employed as a seamstress. Grace Potter Carter began working for the University of Kentucky as a waitress in Boyd Hall during the Depression and earned the position of head cook at Donovan Hall during the Singletary administration. Mrs. Carter recounts stories of her great-grandfather, a former slave, her great grandmother, who was a midwife, and their memories of slavery including the reactions of white, female slave owners to their male relative’s fair skinned slave infants. She discusses the educational background of the Carter family, the religious background of the Potters and their involvement in the church, and her own education at Bracktown Elementary, Dunbar and Douglas High Schools. Mrs. Carter recounts the advantages of living in Bracktown over Lexington, the career of her aunt, Dr. Mary Ellen Potter, who practiced medicine in Lexington during the Depression, the changes in education and family values, and the discrimination in Lexington before the advent of the civil rights movement.
86OH239 KH366 Date: August 25, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hrs. 15 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Virginia Hawkins Anderson
Occupation: Housekeeper
D.O.B.: March 26, 1907, Bracktown, Kentucky
Mrs. Anderson reflects upon her educational background at Bracktown Elementary and Louisville Central High School, as well as the background of her parents and grandparents. Her father raised hogs, performed handyman jobs, and served as a deacon in the church. Mrs. Anderson looks back on her childhood, the relationship between neighbors in Bracktown, and the changes, which have taken place within the community. She recounts the stories of white ancestors within the Hawkins family and other family history. The Bracktown Violet Social Club is recalled, as is the one room building, which served as a schoolhouse. Mrs. Anderson discusses both her work as a domestic and the white employees who have worked for her, recounts her relationships with whites, and talks about selling land in Bracktown. While not recalling segregation on the Lexington busses, she does remember the African American boycott of Purcell’s store, the businesses owned by African Americans on Deweese Street, and her non-participation in the civil rights movement.
86OH240 KH367 Date: August 22, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 25 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Jennie Bibbs Didlick
Occupation: Principal, teacher
D.O.B.: September 30, 1908
In the late 1940s, Mrs. Didlick filed a lawsuit against the local transportation system after she was asked to sit in the back of a public bus travelling between Winchester and Lexington. The judge filed in her favor, awarding her $200 in damages. The daughter of Benjamin and Lena Burns Bibbs, Mrs. Didlick taught at Booker T. Washington and Constitution Elementary Schools, and later earned the position of principal at Booker T. Washington. She attended school at Russell and Dunbar in Lexington, and graduated from Howard University. Her master’s degree was earned at the University of Kentucky, and at one time she worked for University of Kentucky President Frank McVey. Before Hill became superintendent of the Fayette County Schools, the salary scale for African American teachers was very different from that afforded white teachers. She also mentions the teacher-student relationship in the segregated African American schools, the integration of teachers at Booker T. Washington, a few of her teaching experiences, and compares the quality of education between her era and 1986. Mrs. Didlick recalls growing up in the African American community, the importance of the family and the role the churches played in that society. Her mother took in laundry and was the disciplinarian in the family, and her father worked for the University of Kentucky. She recounts the family memories of slavery, the educational background of her family and its’ history. She recounts experiences with discrimination in white-owned businesses, her lack of participation in the civil rights movement, the socio-economic division present in the African American community, and the segregated housing conditions still in effect in Winchester in 1986.
86OH243 KH370 Date: August 8, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 15 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Grace Grevious Coleman
Occupation: Teacher, social worker
D.O.B.: 1911, Fayette County, Kentucky
Raised in Jessamine County and descended from former slaves, Mrs. Coleman graduated from Kentucky State College in 1935 and entered the teaching profession in Georgia. She practiced social work in Lexington and became assistant to the Dean of Women at Paducah Junior College. She recalls the family stories about slavery, how her grandfather acquired his farm after the end of the Civil War, and her childhood growing up in a small, rural, African American community with its own church and school but limited in social and recreational activities. After the death of her mother, Mrs. Coleman was transferred from one family to another. She recalls the practice of children being “bound out” to work, the provisions made for orphans, and the general insensitivity shown by rural adults to children. Mrs. Coleman discusses her social work experiences in Lexington and the discriminatory salary policies she encountered, the more liberal racial attitudes of the Fayette County Children’s Bureau, and Lexington’s class-conscious society. The changing employment opportunities for African Americans over time are delineated, and the differences between urban and rural communities are discussed. Mrs. Coleman differentiates between the beliefs of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches, bemoans the lack of African American businesses, and recounts the negative effects of integration upon the education of African American children.
86OH244 KH371 Date: September 12, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 20 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Florence Young
D.O.B.: March 31, 1912
Ms. Young recounts her family’s history including her great-grandfather, who was a slave buyer. Her grandparents were slaves in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
86OH247 KH375 Date: September 10, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hrs. 30 mins. Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Verna Bales Williams Clark
Occupation: Teacher, homemaker
D.O.B.: 1899, Jessamine County, Kentucky
Mrs. Clark’s parents and grandparents were all born in Kentucky. Her grandfather was a Native American raised by African American slaves, and she recalls family stories of slavery including dress, treatment and misuse, religious observations, classification system based upon shade of skin color, and the white slave owner who was her great, great grandfather. Her parents were farmers who owned their own land and Mrs. Clark reminisces about her close, tight knit neighborhood and her religious upbringing. Mrs. Clark graduated from Kentucky State and taught in Montgomery County for a year before her marriage. She recalls the teaching conditions at Grace Lee and Spruce Schools, discusses the achievements and education of her children, and recalls the death of her husband, a carpenter and brick layer. Mrs. Clark remembers the community in which she and her husband raised their children including the neighbors, white and black, who helped each other, as well as the interaction within the community and attendance at each other’s churches. She wonders if integration has helped or hindered the African American community, and discusses the changes in social conditions and their impact upon the community.
86OH251 KH378 Date: September 23, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hour Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Frances A. Smallwood
Occupation: Nurse
The granddaughter of former slaves in Mississippi, Mrs. Smallwood was raised in Tusked, Alabama where he father worked at the Tuskegee Institute. She recalls growing up surrounded by role models including Mary Bethune Cookman and Margaret Mary Washington, and speeches and concerts her family attended at Tuskegee. She remembers listening to the first public radio broadcasts, the establishment of a veteran’s hospital for African Americans, and attending high school and college in Tusked. After receiving her nursing degree from Meharry, she was employed in North Carolina and New York before marrying a classmate and settling in Lexington. Mrs. Smallwood remembers being hired and working as a school nurse at the Fayette County school system. She recalls that her education, which she considers much better than her colleagues, helped tremendously with employment opportunities and raises. Only the second African American nurse in the public health service, Mrs. Smallwood reminisces about her nursing career at Douglas and Dunbar High Schools, as well as Russell Cave, Harrison, Arlington, and Garden Springs elementary schools. She discusses how the civil rights movement changed the schools and businesses, and remarks upon the participation in the movement by her white minister. She comments upon her participation in church and community activities, and the lack of African American Episcopalians in Lexington. She reminisces about social life in Lexington during the 1940s and 1950s, living in the same neighborhood for 37 years, the effects of divorce upon African American families, and the lack of interest by parents in their children.
86OH252 KH379 Date: September 11, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 30 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Dorothy McCoy Cooper
Occupation: Principal, counselor, teacher
D.O.B.: 1913, Danville, Kentucky
The descendant of a runaway slave and a free woman of color, Mrs. Cooper graduated from Dunbar High School and West Virginia State College before receiving her master’s degree from the University of Kentucky. She remembers wanting to be a social worker but ended up instead with a career in education. She talks about teaching, her assignments at Dunbar as counselor and assistant principal, her career as principal at both George Washington Carver and Russell elementary schools (where she retired at age 70), teaching conditions, salary inequities between white and black teachers, lack of equipment, and having to purchase school supplies with her own money. Mrs. Cooper recalls the integration of teachers into formerly segregated schools, the labeling of African American children as incorrigible by white teachers, the lack of encouragement by teachers and white officials who didn’t want African American parents involved in newly integrated schools, her abhorrence of forced busing, and the lack of discipline received at home and subsequent poor attitudes of young African Americans today. She notes her lack of participation in African American churches, and discusses her concern towards the changes within the religious community. She bemoans the modern day emphasis on pursuit of the dollar, and the subsequent lack of concern for the social welfare of the community. She recalls her religious upbringing, customs and practices, and comments upon life within her family. The family disciplinarian, her father worked for influential whites in the close knit community in which she was raised. She comments upon his reputation and standing within the community and with his employers, and the impact he had upon her life. She reminisces about the odd jobs she held throughout high school and taking piano lessons. Mrs. Cooper discusses her career, retirement, and her present position as an outreach worker for the Fayette County Urban Government. She remembers the summer school programs, which lasted only one year, the Meals on Wheels program, visiting nursing homes on a regular basis, and running errands for the homebound. A conscientious voter, she dislikes politics and states some of the reasons why. She discusses her permanent boycott of white businesses, comments upon welfare reform, and talks about employment opportunities for African Americans.
86OH253 KH380 Date: September 4, 1986 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 50 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Ann Brewer Black
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: April 13, 1926, Louisville, Kentucky
A graduate of Kentucky State University, Ms. Black advanced her education further with course work at Indiana University (first integrated school she attended). She began her career in Hardinsburg, Kentucky in a three room school where she taught music and English; followed by a stint at the Lincoln Institute in Louisville and positions at Southern Junior High, Lexington Junior High and Lexington Dunbar. Ms. Black examines the differences between segregated and integrated schools in quality of education received, facilities and supplies, and teacher involvement with the students. She recalls her teaching experiences at Southern where she was accepted by an influential principal and the resentment felt by African American teachers forced to leave their home schools after integration. She reviews the impact of integration upon the students, harassed by white teachers unfamiliar with African Americans; and, the attempted censorship of African American oriented teaching materials and curricula. Despite incidences of racism, she had good relationships with her colleagues, some of whom became life long friends. Ms. Black reminisces about her family life; growing up in a close knit, caring neighborhood where children were taught respect; and the time constraints which prevent neighbors from interacting with each other as much as they would like. She discusses the changes she has witnessed in the African American churches, both within the congregation and among ministerial leadership. Ms. Black recounts her experiences with the civil rights movement in Lexington; comments upon the apathetic attitude of the African American community and how this has limited progress; and, bemoans the lack of suitable housing, loss of African American professionals, and the decline of Deweese Street.
87OH79 KH410 Date: March 12, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hours Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Edythe Larcena Jones Hayes
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: August 3, 1933, Selma, Alabama
The Departmental Superintendent for Academic Affairs in the Fayette County school system, Mrs. Hayes was raised by her grandparents who were well liked and well respected by their community. They owned their own farm and operated a grist mill and country store and all the children attended private and/or parochial segregated schools in Selma, Alabama. Her grandparents possessed high standards to which they expected all the children to adhere and Mrs. Hayes reminisces about her upbringing in the African American community and recounts how it has changed. Mrs. Hayes discusses the three years she spent with her parents in West Virginia; the differences between the Baptist and Methodist churches; and how the quality of education in West Virginia differed from that of Selma. By the age of 18, Mrs. Hayes had graduated from both high school and college. She received her master’s degree from the University of Kentucky; and, beginning in 1953, taught at Carver Elementary School. She was hired at the Central Office (Fayette County) when the school systems were merged and integrated. Mrs. Hayes examines the impact of the civil rights movement upon the school system including the quality of education offered, different teaching methods and lack of teacher involvement. She comments upon the how the civil rights movement has done nothing for the poor African Americans; the lack of self motivation and declining moral standards within the community; the presence of social stratification and the “owe me” attitudes of some African American citizens. She talks about her abhorrence of present day practices and leadership within the African American churches, and the influence of and her respect for the Reverend Homer Nutter.
87OH80 KH411 Date: March 14, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good-Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Delores Vinegar Oderinde
D.O.B.: March 3, 1950, Lexington, Kentucky
The great granddaughter of freed slaves, Mrs. Oderinde recounts her family history, background, mixed ancestry and stories of slavery passed down through the generations. She remembers growing up on a farm in a mixed community in Owen County as one of the few African American families in the area; and discusses the interaction among citizens of Owen, Scott, Harrison and Woodford counties. Attending segregated schools until the third grade, Mrs. Oderinde recalls moving to an integrated school; educational differences in Georgetown after integration; and her perception of the attitudes and teaching styles of white teachers. Mrs. Oderinde compares Georgetown to the other communities in which she has lived, Denver and Omaha; remarks upon the changes Georgetown has undergone, and discusses her present day, integrated neighborhood. She comments upon the transformation of the African American church and the modern day emphasis on money as opposed to saving souls; self aggrandizement and volunteering for “the credit”; lack of assistance except on holidays; outright prejudices against other faiths; and the different religious practices of other faiths and denominations. Remembering her participation in the civil rights movement, Mrs. Oderinde recalls wearing her first Afro and the assumption that she was a member of the Black Panthers. She mentions the beginnings of the women’s movement and the growth which comes with meeting individuals of other cultures, the prejudice still alive despite the progress already made, and the need she recognizes for the African American community to become more active politically.
87OH83 KH414 Date: March 19, 1987 Location: Georgetown, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hrs. 30 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Cordie Wilkerson Briggs
Occupation: Laundry manager, Campbell House Inn
D.O.B.: November 23, 1914, Lincoln County, Kentucky
The former laundry manager and floor assistant for the Campbell House, Mrs. Briggs recalls her employment history with the restaurant; racist treatment received by her supervisors; the lack of assistance from the Human Rights Commission; and judges the reputation of Campbell House as a place of employment. After the death of her parents, Mrs. Briggs and her two siblings were placed in an African American run orphanage. She elaborates on experiences suffered at the facility including the overcrowded living conditions, the lack of training except for punishment, prejudice shown towards the darker skinned children, and often going hungry. At age fifteen she left the orphanage and lived with an aunt until the age of twenty. Attending Carver and Russell elementary schools and graduating from Lexington Dunbar, Mrs. Briggs reminisces about the quality of education received. A series of odd jobs followed graduation until her marriage in 1921 to a maintenance worker at the University of Kentucky. She discusses attending UK, living in the Pralltown neighborhood located near the UK campus, and how it has evolved; the changes she has witnessed within the African American community; the deterioration and future of Deweese and Short streets; and, the condemnation of African American neighborhoods for the construction of Memorial Coliseum and Rupp Arena. Mrs. Briggs reiterates her concern for what she sees as the loss of African American culture and racial identity: the impact of interracial relationships; the apathy in Lexington for the ongoing civil rights struggle; class divisions among the African American community; and, how the lack of parental involvement and concern has effected African American children. Cordie Wilkerson Briggs expresses her opinions regarding the changes evident in the African American religious community including ministerial leadership, increased emphasis upon money, and loss of influence.
87OH84 KH415 Date: April 17, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 2 hours Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Charlie Mae Brooks
Occupation: Switchboard operator/receptionist
D.O.B.: April 7, 1925, Lexington, Kentucky
Raised by her mother after her parents separated, she remembers her mother as strong, independent and a disciplinarian. She discusses growing up on Illinois Street; church and family related activities, and the lack of a father’s influence upon her life. Mrs. Brooks comments upon the advantages and disadvantages of attending integrated schools, leaving school in the twelfth grade for New York; and the racial prejudice she encountered while there. After working at Jamaica RaceTrack, a glass factory, and cleaning homes, Mrs. Brooks returned to Lexington in 1951, obtaining a position at Meyers where she remained for 32 years until the store declared bankruptcy. Although the store was gradually integrated, Mrs. Brooks worked daily in discriminatory conditions. She recounts these experiences as well as the racism prevalent at Ben Snyders and Embrys, remarks upon the prejudiced supervisors for whom she worked, and comments on the assistance she received from white colleagues in her attempts to address injustices. Mrs. Brooks was later employed by Alternatives for Women. She presents her opinion regarding the effects of the civil rights movement upon Lexington, the reasons for her lack of participation, the prejudice still evident within the area, and the current status and conditions of the African American race. She comments upon the impact of welfare on the community and her respect of Dr. Bush Hunter and his family.
87OH86 KH417 Date: June 10, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 40 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No


2nd interview
Date: September 6, 1989 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 50 minutes Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No Occupation: Switchboard operator/receptionist D.O.B.: April 7, 1925Mrs. Brooks recalls in this second interview that her parents separated when she was very young, and that her mother, Celeste Williams Brooks, worked as a laundress to support the family. Ms. Brooks lived in Kinkeadtown, the African American community between 4th and 5th Streets in Lexington, from 1925 until 1942. She recalls Ebenezeer Baptist Church and related social activities, birthday parties, Friday night suppers, and candy pulling, as well as changes in the neighborhood due to a different class of people in residence. She describes the small, shotgun style, two bedroom home in which she lived which had a kitchen and an outhouse in the back;. Mrs. Brooks recalls that food was seasonal, vegetables were rare, and clothing was bought at secondhand stores. Ms. Brooks remembers the “medicine chest” in which her mother stored the items needed for family health care as doctors were only called in an emergency. She remembers home remedies for scarlet fever, chickenpox, mumps, and whooping cough, and states that the only transportation was walking or riding the trolley if one could afford the nickel fare. She recalls the existence of a racetrack where the Aspendale Development is now located. Most of the women in her community worked as domestics, laundresses or cooks, and childcare depended upon neighbors or the oldest child in the family.

Edna Unson Carr
Occupation: Dorm mother at the University of Kentucky
D.O.B.: December 11, 1915, Clark County, Kentucky
The last surviving member of her family, Mrs. Carr reflects upon family memories and histories, the education she received at Constitution and Russell schools, working her way through school, and living with her sister. She comments upon the transformation of the African American church in her lifetime, the foster children she has raised, her employment and working conditions as a dorm mother at the University of Kentucky, colleagues and supervisors with whom she had worked, and her lack of interest in politics although she conscientiously voted. Mrs. Carr notes the impact of the civil rights movement upon Lexington in shopping, public transportation, and theaters while commenting upon the necessity to continue the struggle. She recalls her participation in the civil rights marches and discusses race relations in Lexington.
87OH90 KH419 Date: June 12, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Ruby Ragsdale Morris Benberry
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: January 11, 1907, Green County, Kentucky
The only item Mrs. Benberry’s paternal grandfather could read was his Bible. A freed slave, Mr. Ragsdale used the name of his former owners. Widowed twice, Mrs. Benberry recalls other family histories and memories including slavery experiences, mixed racial heritage, religious upbringing, recreational activities, and her parents educational background. She attended teachers college in Paducah and taught there prior to her first marriage to a railroad man. Mrs. Benberry discusses the role of the African American minister within the church, the respect accorded to the minister within the African American community, and the evolution of the church in her lifetime. She recounts her experiences living within a close knit, concerned, integrated community, and her relationships with her white neighbors. She comments upon the lack of racial tension, and recalls her involvement with the homemaker and garden clubs in McCracken County. Mrs. Benberry remarks upon the quality of education received in segregated schools as opposed to integrated models, and bemoans the lack of emphasis placed upon education. She reminisces about the establishment of her beauty culture business in 1937 and the apprentices she has trained over the years. She worries about the loss of religious faith within the African American community and comments upon how this has impacted the culture. She also talks about the problems facing African Americans today.
87OH89 KH420 Date: June 15, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Sophia Dotson Smith
Occupation: Teacher/beautician
D.O.B.: April 14, 1909, Cave City, Kentucky
Mrs. Smith talks about her family’s relationship with the discovery and early tours of Mammoth Cave National Park, her grandparents’ endurance of slavery, additional family history and recreational activities. She explains how her father taught himself to read and how he attended Kentucky State during the summer. Her father later taught school in Barren and Hart counties. She reviews her mother’s education at the Lincoln Institute in Kentucky, and recalls the family owning and operating a restaurant in Cave City between 1918 and1919 until it burned in a fire. They also ran a slaughterhouse. She discusses her educational background and experiences with both integrated and segregated schools, recalls attending Kentucky State College, the evolution of the African American church and religious community, her participation in politics, and explains how voting practices have changed. She recounts the difficulties encountered in establishing her own business after graduation from beauty school, and talks about returning to teaching after her husband obtained a position in Louisville. Mrs. Smith retired in 1977 and returned to Russellville shortly thereafter.
87OH90 KH421 Date: June 16, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Susie E. White
Occupation: Beautician
D.O.B.: May 30, 1908, Jessamine County, Kentucky
The daughter of self-sufficient sharecroppers, Mrs. White recalls staying with her grandmother to be closer to the schoolhouse, and leaving school in 1922 after her mother’s death to help raise her younger siblings. She remembers her father’s employment at Hillenmeyer’s Nursery, and the skills learned for survival. She talks about her dream of becoming a beautician, her first beauty course in Chicago, and returning home during the Great Depression. Mrs. White discusses her marriage, her first beautician’s job, attending beauty school in Lexington, and raising her nieces, daughter and stepdaughter. She remembers her career, training apprentices, and managing her money and her business. She reminisces about Consolidated Baptist Church and talks about differences in ministerial education, roles and leadership. She recalls her involvement in church-related activities and fund-raisers. Mrs. Smith examines the evolution of the African American community over her lifetime, including the changing behavior of the younger generations, the decreasing emphasis on moral values and teachings, the loss of faith, the increasing influence of television, and higher crime rates. She talks about the importance of education to the African American community and the lack of quality of education since integration, the impact and effects of the civil rights movement, citing both the advantages and disadvantages, and discusses how Lexington has changed while noting what has stayed the same.
87OH96 KH422 Date: June 16, 1987 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Fair Restricted: No Transcript: No
Georgia Montgomery Powers
Occupation: Kentucky State Senator
D.O.B.: 1926, Leesburg, Kentucky
Mrs. Powers remembers that her paternal great, great grandfather was a Moroccan native brought to the United States by the Sisters of Nazareth. Raised in the Bardstown-Springfield area, Senator Powers recalls the destruction of the family home by a tornado in 1925 and moving to Louisville. She reminisces about her father, Ben Montgomery, and his employment at the American Raid and Standard Sanitary Enameled Bathtub factory for 42 years. She recalls that his were unaware that he was black, and she remembers their reactions upon learning the truth. Senator Powers recalls family stories of slavery, being swindled out of property, as well as the Lancaster family and the Muir family of Bardstown who raised her father. She recalls the Great Depression and helping neighbors to survive. She describes her relationships with her seven brothers, and remembers family visits to her grandparents’ farm. After graduation from a segregated high school in Louisville, she attended Louisville Municipal College for two years before relocating to Buffalo, New York. Senator Powers recounts her World War Two employment experiences at the Curtis Wright Manufacturing and Wright Aeronautics in New Jersey, discusses her return to Louisville and obtaining her real estate license, and talks about her career in real estate and the practices in which she engaged in order to survive. She talks about adopting her son and his history, moving to California with her military husband, and her subsequent return to Louisville and her employment history. She remarks upon her contributions to the Wilson Wyatt senatorial campaign in 1962, Edward T. Breathitt’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 1963, and her involvement with Democratic Party political campaigns. She discusses her decision to run for state office in 1966. Involved with the “Allied Organizations for Civil Rights”, Senator Powers recalls the March 5, 1964 civil rights march on Frankfort, the marches in Montgomery, Alabama, and Dr. Martin Luther King. She talks about the night of Dr. King’s assassination, the sanitation strikes in St. Petersburg, Florida, and meeting Vice President Hubert Humphrey at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. She comments upon her state government and senatorial career, campaign high jinks, introducing open housing legislation, and the advice and assistance received from state senator Tom Garrett. Senator Powers remarks about the influence of money on politics and campaigns, the evolution of her constituency, her impressions of Jesse Jackson, Barbara Jordan, former Kentucky Governor Martha Lane Collins, and the progress made by African Americans since her childhood.
87OH97 KH423 Date: June 17, 1987 Location: Frankfort, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 3 hours Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: Yes
Helen Route Smith
Occupation: Housekeeper
D.O.B. March 12, 1912, Danville, Kentucky
Mrs. Smith reminisces about her maternal grandmother, a freed slave of mixed African and Native American ancestry and a registered midwife who raised ten children by herself after her first and second husbands died. She recalls family stories of her grandmother hiding the white family silver from soldiers during the Civil War and of her great grandmother, a Native American who, although a slave, demanded and received respect. Mrs. Smith’s parents were married at sixteen, raised seven of nine surviving children, and her father often traveled to support his family. She remembers family activities, holiday rituals, as well as philosophy and lessons learned from her mother. Reared in both mixed and segregated communities throughout her life, Mrs. Smith discusses the relationships with her neighbors, both African American and white. She discusses her concerns of how economic security has impacted the African American community, recounts her views on the quality of education received in both integrated and segregated schools, and recalls her employment history and the treatment received from her employers.
88OH163 KH456 Date: September 12, 1988 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Elizabeth Parker Thomas
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: June 22, 1899, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Mrs. Thomas remembers her parents, Edward J. and Mattie Long Parker, family history, and the educational background of her family. Her father graduated from Kentucky Normal School and, after receiving his certificate for teaching in 1920, taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Bourbon County. After her father abandoned his family, her mother became the Parker family disciplinarian and worked as a professional cook to support them. Mrs. Thomas recalls assisting her sister to attend college, her own struggles to receive her degree from Kentucky State, and the emphasis placed upon education in the household. She discusses the importance of religion in her life, the evolution of the African American church, and the transformation of the ministerial role with more emphasis upon financial matters and less upon community involvement. Mrs. Thomas recalls being reared in an all African American community, her family’s interaction with their white neighbors, and the series of odd jobs she held while working her way through high school. Her late husband was a farmer, and Mrs. Thomas reminisces about their life together and talks of her children and their achievements. She recounts her teaching experiences in segregated schools and the fight to provide quality education for her students despite the poor facilities, lack of supplies and unequal salary scales. Concerned with the apparent lack of interest by the younger African American in voting, Mrs. Thomas remembers registering to vote in the 1920s and political practices of the era. She describes the impact of the civil rights movement upon Lexington, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, and the progress of her race during this time period.
88OH164 KH457 Date: October 21, 1988 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Daisy Carolyn Bishop
Occupation: Notary Public
D.O.B.: December 15, 1897, Falmouth, Kentucky
A member of a family of teachers, lawyers and doctors, Mrs. Bishop recalls family histories, stories of mixed ancestry, and her aunt who was a dean at Wilberforce College. She discusses how a white family, the Clarks raised her mother, after her own mother died. Her father was a barber and the family owned their own home. Mrs. Bishop recalls the purchase of a piano, as her father loved music, and recounts her experiences being reared in an all African American community. She reminisces about attending an integrated church, recalls her voting practices, and discusses Dr. Martin Luther King and the impact of the civil rights movement.
88OH199 KH458 Date: November 5, 1988 Location: Paris, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 1 hr. 30 mins. Conditions: Poor Restricted: No Transcript: No
Virginia Case Shelby
Occupation: Housekeeper
D.O.B.: May 6, 1919, Jessamine County, Kentucky
The fourth child in a very poor family of 14, Virginia Case Shelby reminisces about her grandmother, the property owned in Woodford County which has been in the family for three generations, stories and histories passed down through the generations, family activities related to church involvement, and the house fire which destroyed their home and split up the family. Although she stayed with her maternal grandmother for six years, the two were not close. Mrs. Shelby recalls living with an older sister in Tennessee after leaving her grandmother, moving in with the Wilson family after high school graduation, relocating to Frankfort upon obtaining employment with the Marcus family, and working for the Walker family before her marriage. Enumerating past relationships with her employers, Mrs. Shelby specifically mentions working for and with Preston and Anita Madden. She began her employment with the family as a maid and worked her way up to professional cook and housekeeper. She describes helping Mrs. Madden with the planning and cooking for the annual Kentucky Derby party. Mrs. Shelby discusses the role of the church within the African American community, the quality of education received in segregated schools and the discrimination encountered on the Avon assembly line. She talks about the impact upon Lexington and the African American community by the civil rights movement, the status of her race as an entity, the differences in attitudes of present day African American youth in their upbringing, ambition, and behavior.
89OH09 KH468 Date: 1989 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 45 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Katherine Hardin Rollins
Occupation: Teacher
D.O.B.: April 17, 1912, Lexington, Kentucky
Mrs. Rollins recalls that her family has lived in Kinkeadtown for three generations. She recalls memories of different family residences within the community, which were coal heated, and kerosene lit. Known as “shotgun” houses with outhouses or privies in the back, neighbors often had gardens and chickens. Meats, fish and vegetables were acquired from street vendors. She recalls various shops located in the area and some of the home remedies used in family health care, often consisting of castor oil, Epson salts, Vicks salve and ammonia. Mrs. Rollins discusses her husband, Robert Alexander Rollins of Pikeville, Kentucky, her attendance at Kentucky State College and Fisk University, and graduate work at the University of Kentucky. Her father was Charles Summerhill Hardin, a tile-setter, and her mother, Bessie Cavens Hardin, a professional cook and caterer. She remembers a few of the affluent residences in Kinkeadtown and recalls her teaching career at Constitution School and in Pikeville.
89OH254 KH472 Date: September 12, 1989 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 35 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No
Mary Edna Page Berry
Occupation: Dental assistant
D.O.B.: April 27, 1927, Paris, Kentucky
The former resident of Kinkeadtown recalls her memories of the all African American neighborhood including the boundaries of the community, church oriented activities, the pride of property evidenced by older tenants, descriptions of homes and living conditions, and health care afforded to the residents. Mrs. Berry remembers her husband, Thomas Berry, and recalls her educational background. She recounts her employment record, and discusses her family history and childhood upbringing.
89OH256 KH474 Date: September 14, 1989 Location: Lexington, Kentucky Interviewer: Emily Parker P.T.: 40 minutes Conditions: Good Restricted: No Transcript: No

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