Peeples attended the University of Kentucky as one of only about 50 black students, then went to work for the Lexington chapter of the National Urban League.
First, recruit appropriate people to talk to. Once you have agreed on a time for the interview, find a quiet place to conduct it. This series of 14 videos, most an hour long, contains unedited versions of original one-on-one interviews that were excerpted for the Living the Story television documentary. The first African-American news artist hired by the Louisville Courier-JournalAubespin got a baptism by fire as a reporter during two days of rioting in Louisville in He has built a national reputation as an expert on racism and the media and is president of the National Association of Black Journalists.
See our tips for successful interviewing for advice on preparing for and conducting the interview itself. Before the interview, ask your subject for a biographical vita, an article, or some other descriptive information. The house was bombed, and the Bradens were branded Communist conspirators and tried for sedition in One of the first African Americans to attend a white school in Jefferson County, Lewis went on to a career in civil service and involvement in other civil rights actions, including the campaign to free activist Angela Davis.
Brinson has her own experiences with the civil rights movement in North Carolina, and she is a historian of social movements. But most of the story is told not by images, but by those who lived it. Rouse also dug—figuratively—into the attics and garages of those who were prominent in the civil rights movement in Kentucky to find the visual evidence to illustrate their stories.
Rouse proposed a thematic approach to the documentary treatment—focusing on young people who took courageous stands and risked their lives for civil rights. ly, she had helped organize the civil rights March on Frankfort. At age 13, Howard and several other black students drew national attention for their efforts to integrate the schools in the Western Kentucky town of Sturgis.
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Of course, every oral history interview should be tailored to the individual being interviewed. The following questions will serve as a starting point if you are planning to interview someone about the civil rights era in Kentucky. Rouse also used a map of Kentucky to show where various incidents took place to further emphasize the history of the movement in the Commonwealth. When you are finished with the interview, have the individual a consent form agreeing to the interview. He was soon named director of the chapter, a position he still holds.
Meet some of the people interviewed or discussed in the documentary video Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentuckysee the timeline of the civil rights movement in Kentucky, and view images of events portrayed in the documentary.
Jennie Wilson was born in Mayfield in to parents who had been slaves. Being true to the stories of the people who have done this amazing work was an important personal challenge, says Brannon. Because of his activism among his fellow governors, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to a special commission formed to monitor compliance with the Civil Rights Act of Powers was the first African American elected to the Kentucky Senate.
They wanted to see people tell their own stories, then make up their own minds about what happened. To find out how to appeal to young people, Rouse held two focus groups.
Chairman of the board of directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Bond worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served in the Georgia House of Representatives before being ejected for his stand against the Vietnam War. Bond, who has family roots in Kentucky, also served as narrator for the Living the Story documentary.
Of the people interviewed, 15 are included in the documentary. Teenagers were asked what they already knew about the civil rights movement in Kentucky and what they wanted to know, what they like to watch and what turns them off, and what they think about using television in the classroom.
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Betsy Brinson, project director for the commission, and Dr. Our biographies section above has brief background information on these individuals, plus several other historical figures discussed in the documentary. The Kentucky Oral History Commission, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Advisory Board of the Kentucky Civil Rights Project were crucial players—consulting on the content and accuracy of the documentary, providing archival photographs and film, and knowing the people who had a story to tell and who could tell a story.
In the segregated society of the time, such seemingly mundane acts could require great courage. In Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentuckyindividual Kentuckians tell their own stories of what they saw, heard, experienced, and did then. Louisville native Hudson was a student activist at the University of Louisville, demonstrating on behalf of greater educational opportunities for African-American students. The stories had to be visual. Grevious served as president of the Lexington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the s, working with other local civil rights leaders for peaceful integration of businesses.
Johnson began his civil rights activism as a teenager, as the youngest president of any Kentucky chapter of the NAACP. Kentuckians now have a portrait of an important chapter in Kentucky and U. Many dating Kentucky model 70 segregated schoolhouses, a lynching, a Klan rally—have never been so widely seen.
They wanted to know what happened in Kentucky. The mission of the Kentucky Oral History Commission is to preserve the rich histories of Kentucky citizens from all walks of life. Explain that having this information in advance will help you frame your questions. For the civil rights movement, choose people who are over age 50—preferably 60 to 70 years old or older.
Not only will tapes last longer if placed in an archive, but they also will be available to future researchers. An idea whose time has come? Throughout the documentary, Rouse used old photographs to underscore the theme of courageous young people. If you use a tape recorder, try to use cassette tapes that allow 30 minutes of recording on each side. Through individual acts of bravery, a great movement can be born. This resource is deed to give a feel for the times, to explain some of the issues that were particularly important in Kentucky, and to inspire young people by showing how people their age have made a difference in society.
Living the story: the civil rights movement in kentucky
But there was another challenge: The documentary would have to engage the general KET viewing audience and appeal to high school students. The resulting documentary is a project she is proud to be part of. Choose people based on their experiences and knowledge of the subject matter. Both of those are necessary, but they are not sufficient.
A native of North Carolina, Brinson moved to Kentucky at an opportune time, she says. Skilled and charismatic leaders to articulate goals and plan strategies? What is required to bring about a change in society? Finding people to tell their stories was done mostly by word-of-mouth, says Brinson.
Living the Story is not a comprehensive or definitive history of the civil rights era in Kentucky. While teaching at the University of Kentucky in the s, Marlatt helped organize students and train them in the principles of nonviolent protest, ing them at sit-ins and other actions that led to the desegregation of many public facilities in Lexington. The first task was obvious. Such a gift will be greatly appreciated by both the interview subject and his or her family.
For more about the aims and the lessons of the documentary, read on for perspectives from some of its creators. It was, after all, a television documentary. Consider university archives in your area first. Some were leaders and organizers, but others were simply people who wanted to enroll in a different school, move to a new neighborhood, or shop at a downtown department store. Use of an external microphone is recommended.
Longer tapes break more easily and do not preserve well. First elected inshe served for 21 years and championed bills prohibiting discrimination by race, sex, and age. Turn off radios and televisions, and close the door if appropriate.
So Rouse and his staff would have to track down archival film, video, and photographs and find people to interview about the struggle for civil rights for African Americans in Kentucky. By finding that courage, and by standing firm for what they knew to be right, these ordinary people accomplished extraordinary things.
If possible, make a duplicate of the interview tape and give it to the interviewee. These projects explore and describe local individuals and their communities and provide students and researchers the rare opportunity to become involved with their subject matter in an interactive process of learning.
Tips for conducting an oral history as well as an interview release form are available from the Kentucky Oral History Commission. Before you begin, make sure your recording equipment is working properly. As governor of Kentucky in the mids, Breathitt worked for passage of a state law guaranteeing equal rights in the area of public accommodations. Its purposes are to give contemporary audiences a sense of what it was like to be part of the civil rights movement, to encourage further exploration of the subject, and to inspire young people by illustrating the role people their age played in the movement.
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For executive producer Dr. For nearly four years, she and others involved in the project have traveled the state collecting the interviews that were used in the documentary and that will be preserved by the Kentucky Historical Society for future generations. A sample consent form is available from the Kentucky Oral History Commission; call Select an archive and donate the finished interview.
But as the project progressed, she was surprised to see her own stereotypes of Kentucky shattered. Then modify and add to the following generic suggested questions as needed. Select people who like to talk; quiet people are generally harder to interview. Interviews averaged about two hours each, and many lasted longer, she says.