Interview with Alvin M. Seals, July 25, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
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00:00:01 - 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: Seals describes his early upbringing and how he found his rise into activism.

Keywords: Lexington (Ky.); Little Rock (Ark.); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Upbringing

Subjects: African Americans--Education.; Social change

00:07:32 - Blacks and politics

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Partial Transcript: When did blacks first become active in politics in Lexington?

Segment Synopsis: Seals speaks about the black community's role in politics in Lexington. He addresses instances of power held by the black community, and he explains the importance of black politicians having agency.

Keywords: African Americans 1970-1980; Black community; Black voters; Independence; Voter turnout; White voters

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American leadership; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Businesspeople, Black; Occupations; Race relations--United States

00:16:24 - Black political patronage

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Partial Transcript: How much political patronage is the black community receiving?

Segment Synopsis: Seals explains the extent to which political promises to the black community are kept. He then discusses two individuals that were steady in their efforts to assist the black community.

Keywords: Action; Black community; Joe Johnson; Underwood; Votes

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Obligations; Patronage; Politicians--Kentucky

00:21:37 - The role of a Board of Education member

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Partial Transcript: What kind of relationship have black politicians had with city hall?

Segment Synopsis: Seals expresses his lack of knowledge on the relationship of blacks to city hall. He then moves to describe, and is critical of, the role of a board member in the school school system.

Keywords: Board members; Bureaucracy; City Hall; Responsibilities

Subjects: African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Education--Kentucky; High schools; Schools

00:29:54 - Successes and failures as a board member

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Partial Transcript: Could you give us some of the specific successes and failures that you've had as a board member?

Segment Synopsis: Seals speaks about the success and failures he has encountered during his time as a board member. Among these successes, he mentions his success with propagating a democratic process regarding decision making. He also speaks about his success in challenging the power of the superintendent.

Keywords: Lexington (Ky.); Power; School systems; Special interest groups; Superintendents

Subjects: Communities; Democracy; Education--Kentucky; Pressure groups

00:35:21 - Treatment of blacks in schools

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Partial Transcript: How are blacks being treated in the school system?

Segment Synopsis: Seals discusses the performance of black students in public schools, and how they continue to be discriminated against. He talks about how the desegregation busing pattern came about. He talks about why there are so few schools in black neighborhoods.

Keywords: Black students; Board members; Desegregation plans; Hidden bias; Jack Givens; James Lee; Non-college tracks; School systems; Student performance; Suspensions; Vandalism

Subjects: African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Busing for school integration; Discrimination in education.; Race discrimination.; School integration--Kentucky--Fayette County