Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Marilyn Gaye, May 17, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Becoming involved with the civil rights movement

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Partial Transcript: You got a letter in the mail, right?

Segment Synopsis: Marilyn Gaye is introduced. She talks about being a teenager during the civil rights movement in Lexington. She talks about the organizations that led to her involvement in the movement, including her school and local churches.

Keywords: Conservative; Facilities; Main Street Baptist Church; Ministers; Participation; School system; Teenagers; Word of mouth

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American families; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights movements--United States; Lexington (Ky.).

GPS: Main Street Baptist Church (Lexington, Ky.)

Map Coordinates: 38.051596, -84.503871
00:03:06 - Conditions in Lexington before integration

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Partial Transcript: What initiated all this?

Segment Synopsis: Gaye discusses what it was like as an African American living in Lexington prior to integration. She describes her experiences with segregation in the local theaters.

Keywords: Balcony; Ben Ali Theatre; Businesses; Downtown Lexington; Goals; Lexington Opera House; Upstairs

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.

GPS: Lexington Opera House (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.050036, -84.499238
00:05:40 - Demonstrations in downtown Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Um, I remember, um, meeting in Liberty Church.

Segment Synopsis: Gaye describes the experience of marching through downtown Lexington as part of a civil rights demonstration. She talks about beginning in a church basement, awaiting a phone call. She talks about the emphasis on nonviolence, and the songs they sang as they marched. She talks about the reactions to their demonstration, and talks about the types of people involved.

Keywords: Afraid; Age; Chestnut Street; Consequences; Demographics; Deweese Street; Diversity; Greater Liberty Baptist Church; Instructions; Julia Lewis; Leaders; Main Street; Marching; Meetings; Nonviolence; Phone calls; Police; Reactions; Reverend A. B. Lee; Risks; Singing; Sings; Storms; Students; Women

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American leadership; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.

GPS: Greater Liberty Baptist Church (Lexington, Ky.)

Map Coordinates: 38.045343, -84.486130
00:11:56 - Goals of the demonstration

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Partial Transcript: Another thing that--well, and you know in talking to my parents, uh, I thought about how it was for them.

Segment Synopsis: Gaye discusses what the group that marched in downtown Lexington was trying to accomplish. She talks about the changes they were trying to make in regard to segregation in stores, restaurants, and other facilities. She talks about the organizations that were involved with the march. She talks about her own experiences with discrimination when being hired for a job. She discusses how long it took for desegregation to occur in Lexington as compared to Louisville.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Bathrooms; Boycotts; CORE (Congress of Racial Equality); Changes; Demonstrations; Goals; Hiring; Ignored; Instructions; Marching; NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People); Night; Parents; Phone calls; Protest marches; Stores; Time; Train stations; Trouble; Unions; Water fountains; Woolworth's

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination in employment.; Integration; Lexington (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Louisville (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.

00:21:13 - Reactions to the demonstration

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Partial Transcript: Now were there any whites sympathetic or who took part in demonstrations?

Segment Synopsis: Gaye discusses the responses to the demonstrations. She talks about the reactions of Whites, and whether any White people participated in the marches. She talks more about the emphasis on nonviolence and discusses whether the participants had any training before the demonstration.

Keywords: CORE (Congress of Racial Equality); Demonstrations; Fears; Louisville (Ky.); Martin Luther King Jr.; Media; Nonviolence; Participation; Portrayal; Responses; Support; Training

Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Louisville (Ky.); United States--Race relations.

00:26:32 - Conditions in Lexington after desegregation

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Partial Transcript: Is there any other things that I just haven't asked you about...

Segment Synopsis: Gaye talks about how Lexington changed after integration began to take effect. She talks about whether the groups moved on to new goals, like employment opportunities for Blacks. She talks about whether her teachers were involved in the demonstrations or encouraged students' involvement.

Keywords: Businesses; Cincinnati (Ohio); Downtown Lexington; Dunbar High School; Fear; Goals; Integrated neighborhoods; Involvement; Killed; Opportunities; Students

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Social conditions.; Integration; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Neighborhoods.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Teachers--Kentucky; United States--Race relations.

00:30:32 - Current conditions in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Okay, now I, I'm ready to jump and ask you about, um, Lexington now is desegregated and blacks can go and spend their--

Segment Synopsis: Gaye talks about the current conditions for Blacks in Lexington and whether situations have improved since integration occurred. She talks about the issues surrounding busing children to schools in different areas. She talks about the issues of unemployment, wage gaps, and housing discrimination in the Black community. She talks about race relations in Lexington.

Keywords: Advantages; Affirmative Action; Black community; Black organizations; Complacency; Disadvantages; Income gaps; NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People); Opportunities; Ostracism; Power; Prejudices; Racial attitudes; Tension; Unemployment; Unity; Urban League; Values

Subjects: African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Busing for school integration; Discrimination in housing.; Integration; Lexington (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Neighborhoods; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.

00:37:20 - University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: You opened up, uh, uh, you said something earlier that I, uh, I don't know if we said it on tape or not.

Segment Synopsis: Gaye discusses her experiences as a student at the University of Kentucky. She gives her opinions on basketball coach Adolph Rupp.

Keywords: Adolf Rupp; Athletes; Office of Minority Affairs; Registration; Support

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

00:40:16 - Recommendations for the Black community

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Partial Transcript: One thing that I, I, well there are a number of things that I feel that as Blacks we need to do.

Segment Synopsis: Gaye talks about what she believes the Black community needs to do in order to be successful.

Keywords: Advice; Children; College; Government; Heritage; Involvement; Needs; Organizations; Youth

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Race discrimination.

00:43:40 - More people to interview

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Partial Transcript: Well I don't know if there's anything else I have to ask you about--

Segment Synopsis: Gaye gives the interviewer recommendations for other people in the community to interview. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Black community; Children; Ministers; Reverend A. B. Lee; Smith family; Social classes; Youth

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American leadership; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.