Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with John Will "Scoop" Brown, June 11, 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: My name is Edward Owens. I'm working with the Urban League on the Oral Black History Project.

Segment Synopsis: John Brown provides some of his personal background, and when he first entered the Lexington park system.

Keywords: Clark University; Dunbar High School; Lexington (Ky.); Recreation; Recreation administration; Recreation philosophy

Subjects: Recreation--Management.; Recreation--Philosophy

00:01:54 - Park segregation

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Partial Transcript: Can you discuss for us park segregation?

Segment Synopsis: Brown discusses the subtleties of park segregation in Lexington and the race relations between the white parks and the Black parks.

Keywords: Park commission; Parks; Segregated minds; Separate but equal; Space control; Subtle racism

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Basketball; Blacks--Segregation; Coaching; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Sports

00:05:46 - Park development

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Partial Transcript: Concerning the staff, um, proportionally, did you have the same amount?

Segment Synopsis: Brown provides the history of the development of recreational facilities during the Civil Rights Movement.

Keywords: Acres; Growth; Park development; Progress; Recreation Administration

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Blacks--Segregation; Civil rights movements--United States; Recreation

00:07:58 - Park integration

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Partial Transcript: When, when were the parks integrated?

Segment Synopsis: Brown speaks about the process of the parks moving from segregation to integration.

Keywords: 1955; Backlash; Mayors; Opposition; Parks

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Economics; Education; Integration; Recreation

00:10:29 - Douglass Park

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Partial Transcript: Back to when the parks were segregated, were there a lot of people taking advantage of the parks at that time?

Segment Synopsis: Brown speaks about the use of the parks during and after segregation. He also makes an attempt to correct the public imagination around Douglass Park while articulating the circumstances that are needed for a park to flourish. Some of these circumstances include financial support and positive publicity.

Keywords: Additions; Diversity; Douglass Park; Financial support; Improvements; Integration; Marijuana; Parks; Public imagination; Publicity

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; Park facilities--Vandalism; Parks--Vandalism; Race relations; Recreation; Recreation areas--Vandalism; Segregation

00:15:40 - Offered park activities

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Partial Transcript: What are some of the activities that the parks have to offer?

Segment Synopsis: Brown provides a list of activities and programs that are offered by Douglass Park and others.

Keywords: Baseball; Benches; Community programs; Family; Horseshoes; Scholarships; Softball; Swimming; Tennis; Volleyball

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; Communities; Families; Recreation; Sports

00:17:12 - Athletic competition and segregation

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Partial Transcript: During the segregation of the parks, there was no athletic competition between the two, um--

Segment Synopsis: Brown makes an attempt to explain the intricacies of segregation as it relates to competition between the white parks and Black parks.

Keywords: Baseball; Black parks; Competition; Douglass Park; Little league; Programs; Protest; Racial overtone; Small fry; Tournament; White parks; Youth

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Race discrimination.; Sports

00:23:29 - Subtle discrimination in park media coverage

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Now as far as the lack of interest in the baseball program that, that you said that blacks have now, hav--has there been a lack of interest in all the programs that the parks have to offer?

Segment Synopsis: Brown expresses the need for familial support at recreational programs. Brown also explains the issue of negative publicity around parks in certain neighborhoods. He explains that the negative publicity is a form of subtle discrimination that proliferates stereotypes for people of color.

Keywords: Baseball; Black parks; Familial support; Lack of interest; News coverage; Publicity; Subtle racism; Subtleties; Support

Subjects: African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Media; Race discrimination.; Sports; Stereotypes

00:26:49 - Improving the community

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Partial Transcript: Well, Mr Brown, is there anything that I haven't asked you that you'd like to comment on?

Segment Synopsis: Brown explains the role of recreational facilities in improving the community as a whole.

Keywords: Co-workers; Improvements; Space re-purposing

Subjects: African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Communities; Park facilities.