Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Zirl A. Palmer, August 17, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:03 - Life prior to Lexington / opening his drugstore

Play segment

Partial Transcript: My name is Edward Owens. I'm working with the Urban League on the oral black history project.

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks about his life prior to Lexington. He also talks about his pharmacy business, including the difficulties his business faced early on. He mentions how he had trouble finding an ice cream company that would stock his store.

Keywords: Black businesses; Black entrepreneurs; Black pharmacists; Dixie Ice Cream Company; Segregation

Subjects: Segregation--Kentucky--Fayette County

00:05:47 - Making business connections / marketing campaign / black professionals

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you first came what was your relationship with the other professionals in Lexington?

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks about the connections he made he Lexington's professional community, including relationships with Dr. Bush Hunter and Dr. Downing.He also mentions his connection to the Lexington Hustler baseball team and the University of Kentucky Tennis team. He goes on to talk about the various advertising methods he used to attract customers to his pharmacy. He goes on to talk about the image of black professionals, including a story about Lexington's first black nurse.

Keywords: Advertising; Drugstores; Marketing to blacks; Nazareth School of Nursing; Pharmacies; Pharmacists; Physicians; St. Joseph Hospital; U.K.; University of Kentucky Tennis team (Lexington, Ky.); Viola Davis Brown

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American business people--Kentucky--Lexington; University of Kentucky

00:14:33 - White patronage / working in the black neighborhood / owning multiple stores

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you receive much white patronage?

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks about why he always had white customers even when located in the black neighborhood. He also talks about why he choose to locate his business in the black neighborhood. He mentions that his Georgetown store was very successful, but he also faced more problems there than at any other location.

Keywords: Black businesses; Black neighborhoods; Black owned drugstore; Race relations; Rexall drugstore; Rexall franchise; White patronage

Subjects: African American business enterprises

00:22:40 - The bombing of his store and its impact / leaving the pharmacy business

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Sir you made reference to, uh, a bomb. What year did that take place?

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks the 1968 bombing of his store, including its potential connection to an earlier incident in Berea, KY. He also talks about the impact that shutting down his business had on the black community, including how his former youth employees and interns are not able to get the same experience anywhere else in Lexington. He mentions the lack of black businesses outside of the insurance and mortician industries.

Keywords: Berea (Ky.); Black businesses; Black community support; Black unity; Bombing attack; Interns; Internships; KKK; Medical training; Political violence; Racial unity; Racially motivated violence; UK

Subjects: African American business enterprises; Ku Klux Klan (1915- )--Kentucky; University of Kentucky (Lexington, Ky.); University of Kentucky. College of Pharmacy

00:30:17 - Being a trustee / the image of pharmacists

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Would a black owned pharmacy be beneficial to the black community?

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks about being on the University of Kentucky's Board of Trustees. He goes on to talk about how image plays a role in discouraging blacks from pursuing a degree in pharmacy. He mentions the impact the lack of black professionals in Lexington has on black identity.

Keywords: Black identification; Black identity; Black pharmacists; Pharmacists; Physicians; Social status; UK

Subjects: African Americans--Race identity.; University of Kentucky. Board of Trustees

00:37:49 - Strengthening the black community

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you'd like to comment on?

Segment Synopsis: Palmer talks about problems the black community must deal with in order to become stronger, including becoming more involved in the political process.

Keywords: Black leadership; Black unity; Community involvement; Community participation; Political process; The black community

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions