Interview with Albert B. Lee, June 6, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with the Reverend Albert B. Lee for the Lexington Urban League Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Albert B. Lee provides biographical information including where and when he was born, when he started preaching, and where he attended school.

Keywords: Dunbar High School; Pastors; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Background information; Church work; Education; Lexington (Ky.)

00:02:03 - The conditions of Jim Crow in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: I'd like to know what role your church in, in specific played in the Depression from 1929 through, say, '35.

Segment Synopsis: Lee describes the conditions created by Jim Crow segregation and the strides made towards integration through protests.

Keywords: Congregation; Jim Crow; Ministry; Progress; Protest marches; Sit-ins; Streetcars; The Great Depression

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Church work; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Demonstrations; Diplomatic protests; Lexington (Ky); Schools; Social systems--Growth

00:09:10 - The effect of integration on the Black school system

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Partial Transcript: The thing that, uh, really did concern me the most as far as the set up that we have here as far as black and school is concerned was that I have always believed in the neighborhood schooling...

Segment Synopsis: Lee expresses his concern with the effect of integration on the Black community as it relates to the school system.

Keywords: Adjustment; Black athletes; Black coaches; Black teachers; Community; Dunbar High School; Integration; Job loss

Subjects: African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; Communities; High school; Race relations; School; School integration

00:12:15 - Racial climate at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Uh, during my short stay at the University, I've, um--could detest(??) that there, uh, was a virus(??) and there was some present(??) out there.

Segment Synopsis: Lee recalls his time of enrollment at the University of Kentucky. He describes the environment and speaks about the race relations on campus between whites and other minorities.

Keywords: College campuses; Integration; Minorities; Predominantly white institutions

Subjects: African American college students.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Social conditions.; Minority students; Race relations; Schools; University of Kentucky

00:15:56 - Critiques on progress in the Black community in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Uh, personally speaking, I haven't had a moment of trouble here with anybody, white or black.

Segment Synopsis: Lee provides a critical examination on the state of progress in Lexington. He recalls the position that Blacks were in in the past and the progress that has been made, but he is also critical of what it means to progress. He expresses the need to further our efforts in areas of society such as businesses run by people of color and employment discrimination.

Keywords: Black community; Black-owned businesses; Critiques; Improvement; Integration; Jobs; Opportunity; Progress; Success; Upward mobility

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Communities; Discrimination; Employment; Race relations; Social systems--Growth

00:24:34 - Critique on Black leadership

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Partial Transcript: Uh, we have had a few blacks in this town across the years that have tried to represent the black.

Segment Synopsis: Lee talks about Black leaders with dishonest intentions, and he speaks about the need for organization within the Black community.

Keywords: Black community; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Representation; Responsibility; Selfishness; Trust

Subjects: African American leadership; Civic leaders; Organization

00:29:10 - The decline of Black businesses

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Partial Transcript: Getting back to the businesses, the black businesses that were here in Lexington, why did they fold?

Segment Synopsis: Lee explains the role of inadequate Black leaders and integration in the scarcity of Black businesses in Lexington. He also mentions the power of the Black church to persuade the masses in the Black community.

Keywords: Bankruptcy; Black churches; Black community; Black leadership; Black support; Control; Integration; Jobs

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American churches; African Americans--Economic conditions.; Business failures; Businesspeople, Black; Economy; Lexington (Ky.)

00:35:49 - Support from the Black community

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Um, seeing as though you can persuade people, you and all ministers in this town, why then aren't there more black businesses, more black politicians, more blacks that can be elected or can be supported by the black community?

Segment Synopsis: Lee provides an in-depth examination of the Black community and the element of mistrust, powered by centuries of indoctrination, that hinders success in the Black community.

Keywords: Black businesses; Black politicians; Complacency; Indoctrination; Persuasion; Trust

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions.; Appeasement; Brainwashing; Discrimination; Tradition

00:42:09 - Lee gives praise to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Partial Transcript: Slavery been over as far as what history says to over a hundred years...

Segment Synopsis: Lee speaks about the important role that Dr. King played in paving the way for progress for Blacks in America.

Keywords: Assassination; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Perseverance; Trust

Subjects: African American leadership; Civil rights movements; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Leaders

00:45:42 - James Lee's basketball career at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Reverend Lee, some four years ago, your son was graduating from Henry Clay High School and he was graduating as one of the top prospects in the nation for basketball.

Segment Synopsis: Lee gives the background behind his son James Lee's recruitment to the University of Kentucky basketball team. Lee explains the adversity that his son faced while on the team.

Keywords: Adversity; Basketball players; James Lee; Prospects; Recruitment; SEC; Talented

Subjects: African American athletes; Lexington (Ky.); Schools; Southeastern Conference; Sports; University of Kentucky--Basketball

00:54:49 - Lee's discontent with attitudes against the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you would like to discuss?

Segment Synopsis: Lee expresses his frustration with members of the Black community that harbor negative feelings towards his son and the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: "Uncle Tom"; Black community; James Lee; Kentucky Wildcats; Progress

Subjects: African American athletes; African Americans--Social conditions.; Schools; University of Kentucky--Basketball

01:02:35 - Advice for further research

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Partial Transcript: I'd just like to ask you: do you know anybody else that could help us in our study; any other minister in Lexington that might be able to give us some insight?

Segment Synopsis: Lee suggests that it is not likely to receive valuable insight from other individuals because the information will be tainted with bias.

Keywords: Advice; Pacify; Recommendation; Truth

Subjects: Discrimination