Midway Community Voices

Oral History Interviews:

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.

Sara Newell 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.   Clip from Sara Hicks Interview

Cora Emma 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.

Helen Rentch 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.

Clip from Helen Rentch Interview

Where Next?
Section 1: Build a Better Community
Who Was Involved?
Section 2: Community Improvement Projects
African American School
Roads and Bridges
Additional Projects
Section 3: Why Were the Projects Needed?
Section 5: Resources
Epilogue: Researchers’ Reflections


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