As I first pulled up to Barbara Harrison’s humble home (the same one she’s been living in for the last 40+ years) located in a cul-de-sac just off of Versailles Rd, I was not sure of what kind of enthralling historical lesson that I was in for. I wish that I had the mobile recorder already rolling, because as soon as I walked through the door Mrs. Harrison began enthusiastically telling me stories of her long and experienced life.
The interview started with me getting the basics down, establishing my name and the date, as well as Mrs. Harrison’s name, year of birth, and what city she was born in. She then would go on to tell me about her hometown and what it was like growing up in Paducah, a small Kentucky town during the Great Depression, informing me first-hand just how tough times were to get through for her and her family, and how her parents lost all their money, including all she owned in the world as a five year old in 1929: five dollars.
After learning a little bit about her early childhood, I looked into her life when she began school. Of course, being born in 1924, Barbara found herself attending a segregated school. She mentioned how during her young age she didn’t really question why, because she didn’t think it to be anything out of the ordinary, that in those times that was considered completely normal. Later in the interview she would go on to mention how even her four children, who were born in 1947, 1949, 1955 and 1960, all too had attended segregated schools at some point in their many years of education.
Her main point about her church was that the Methodist women she knew were very much committed to equal rights, especially for women.
Finally after talking about a few various other subjects that Mrs. Harrison felt would be some nice quips to keep recorded forever in history, we got to the subject of the Civil Rights Movement. She started to inform me of a few of the things White people did for Blacks since before the Civil War. After recording what felt like all of Mrs. Harrison’s personal experiences through these very interesting times, we concluded that she had told as much as she was ok with, and I thanked her for her time as the interview came to an end.
– Kyle Trogdon, HIS351 student