Alston discusses his early life in Norfolk, Virginia and his primary and secondary education there; his college education at the North Carolina College for Negroes; his seminary training at Bishop Payne Divinity School; his ordination in the Episcopal Church; his ministry at Louisville's Church of Our Merciful Saviour, 11th and Walnut Street; work in race relations in Louisville; and general remarks on the role of the church in society.
In this interview, Mrs. Beckett discusses her life as well as her husband’s experiences as alderman in the city of Louisville in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mrs. Beckett briefly describes her early life and education, including her graduation from Kentucky State College. Mrs. Beckett had a career in education, but also worked with her husband, and for her brother, in the undertaking business in Louisville. She speaks of the Walnut Street area before Urban Renewal. Mrs. Beckett’s husband, William Washington Beckett, was elected alderman in 1951 and served until 1961. In this time, he played a role in the integration of the fire and police departments, the parks, and public accommodations, and in developing a Human Relations Commission. Mrs. Beckett discusses her husband’s contributions and the civil rights movement in general (both in Louisville and more generally) and gives her opinion on the roles of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the African American church.
Dr. Bell is a black physician and relates the limitations placed upon him because of his race. He was interviewed concerning his opinions and experiences in relation to the history of blacks in Louisville.
Dr. Bell discusses his early life and education, including his training at Alcorn College, Morehouse College, and Meharry Medical College. He discusses his involvement with the Red Cross Hospital, a black-run hospital in Louisville that was known as Community Hospital starting in 1972. (The hospital, founded in 1899, closed in 1975.) Dr. Bell became involved with the hospital in the early 1940s, and discusses the developments there, including the institution of a nurses' training program, integration, fundraising, and other issues. He discusses the clientele of the hospital as well as the care they received. He also talks about the loss to the black community at the closing of the hospital, and the apparent lack of loyalty the community had to the institution. He discusses Hattie Bishop Speed, as a person and as a supporter of the hospital.
Bryant discusses her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, where her father was involved in fair housing work. The interview also includes recollections of her education at a private girls' school in Washington, D.C. and at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she received an AB in history; her move to Louisville with her husband, a physician; her work with the West End Community Council; and involvement with the Black Six conspiracy trial.
Main topics: Early life, Nashville, school and marriage. Started in Transportation in 1963 in Louisville at $19.20 per day. Job severed with 282 award and became a switchman. Gained seniority and had more educational background. Influence of wife when racial barriers made position unpleasant. Became brakeman when switchman job was cut. Move to Glasgow where racial situation was bad. Gained experience as locomotive engineer on General Motors, General Electric and Alco locomotives. Around 1968 began to see other opportunities that could be open to him. 1971 became assistant train master, a position that proved to be valuable experience. 1977 became traveling engineer or road foreman. Then made immediate supervisor over locomotive engineers. Presently training of locomotive engineers is part of his responsibility. Utilization of the locomotives, new computerization for centralized train control. F7 Series, EMD, General Electric most sophisticated, centralized traffic control (CTC), service areas, modernization of equipment, unit train, road bed and increase in speed limits. Tracks and roadway the same location as in steam days. Necessary for rebuilding daily and the improvements on the locomotives themselves. Cotton outlines the boundaries of the Louisville Division. Terminals of the Louisville Division including the Monon Facilities. Discussion of the hump yard at Osborn Yard in Louisville. Cotton's responsibilities include thed following: training of personnel (apprentice engineers and supervisors), terminal breakdown and derailment procedure. This section also explains the regionalization of various areas of responsibility. Continuation of derailment sight procedure and notification if hazardous materials is being leaked and other general responsibilities. Strikes and the reason for training supervisors to operate the locomotives. Family Lines team approach, coming of women to the locomotive positions; some policy approach of the Family Lines that are important: Incentive program, scholarship awards for supervisors' children, scholarship opportunities for employees, higher level of education of training for new employees. Unionization and its effect on the company and present employee problems.
Mr. Ealy, who came to Louisville in 1918, discusses his recollections of politics, journalism and race relations in the city from 1910s to 1970s. Specifically, this interview contains information on the African American journalists I. Willis Cole (Louisville Leader), William Warley (Louisville News), and Frank Stanley, Sr. (Louisville Defender); machine politics in the city; his recollections of life in the African American community in Louisville; and his philosophy of race relations. He also describes his early life and education.
Mr. Goodwin, a nursery owner and local historian from Louisville, Kentucky, discusses his ancestors and other African Americans who lived in the Petersburg / Newburg area. He describes the relationships of various African Americans with white slaveowners, and the efforts blacks made to build their community following slavery. He describes his own efforts to develop his community through the location of library in Newburg and the Petersburg Historical Society's programs, as well as his fight against urban renewal. He also talks about his own career in the nursery business.
Mr. Johnson, a civil rights activist and educator focuses on Johnson’s involvement in the effort to integrate the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky for blacks in Kentucky. Johnson contradicts the University of Louisville administrators by asserting that they did not voluntarily integrate as they have stated. He discusses the disparities between Louisville Municipal College and the University of Louisville. Johnson also discusses the efforts to integrate the Louisville parks system, the library system and the stores in downtown Louisville. Johnson describes his role in the defeat of Male High School principal William S. Milburn’s mayoral bid against William Cowger in 1961.
Ms. Kidd discusses her life, including her childhood growing up in Bourbon County. Kidd attended the Lincoln Institute in Simpsonville, Kentucky, and then began working for Mammoth Life Insurance Company, Louisville-based black-owned life insurance company. She discusses her career with Mammoth Life, which was interupted by service in the Red Cross during World War II. She discusses her experiences with the Red Cross, both during her training and during her service overseas. She discusses differences in white attitudes, in particular. She describes her work in pubilc relations and sales after the war, as well as her political career. She was elected to the Kentucky Assembly in 1967 and began serving in 1968. She discusses her attempts to pass legislation to give tax breaks to companies that would provide training to Kentucky residents, and her successful efforts to pass a low-cost housing bill.