Interview with Paul Oberst, August 22, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
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00:00:04 - Personal background / desegregating the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: ...oral black history project. I'm speaking with Dr. Paul Oberst, professor at the University of, college of law.

Segment Synopsis: Oberst discusses his background, including his education. He also discusses the situation surrounding the integration of the University of Kentucky. He talks about how the court case Gaines v. Canada set the standard in providing separate but equal accommodations for black college students. He also mentions how the the John Hatch case.

Keywords: Desegregation; Faculty support; Gaines v. Canada (1938); John Hatch; KSU (Frankfort, Ky.); Lloyd Gaines; Lyman Johnson; Segregation; UK (Lexington, Ky.); UK Law School; University of Missouri School of Law

Subjects: Frankfort (Ky.); Kentucky State University; Universities and colleges--Kentucky--Frankfort; University of Kentucky. Board of Trustees; University of Kentucky. College of Law

00:07:03 - University of Kentucky desegregation lawsuit and its aftermath

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Partial Transcript: The lawsuit preceded in the district court for the Eastern district of Kentucky and it was argued in the spring...

Segment Synopsis: Oberst discusses desegregation lawsuit and its outcome. He also discusses how the University professors and students received the new black students. He also mentions his experiences with two black law students, including John Hatch.

Keywords: Church Ford; Eastern district court; Integration; John Hatch; Lyman Johnson; Lyman v. Board of Trustees (1949); Race relations; Racial discrimination; Racial tensions; Student support; UK

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; College integration; Johnson, Lyman T., 1906-1997; Marshall, Thurgood, 1908-1993; University of Kentucky

00:13:08 - American Civil Liberties Union

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Partial Transcript: Could you discuss the Civil Liberties Union.

Segment Synopsis: Oberst talks about the purpose of the American Civil Liberties Union. He goes on to discuss the role lawyers played in the ACLU.

Keywords: ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union); Attorneys; Civil liberties; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Free legal services; Lawyers; Legal representation; Political involvement

Subjects: American Civil Liberties Union

00:18:57 - Civil rights organizations / race relations within the civil rights movement

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Partial Transcript: Was there any friction between the ACLU and the white community ----------(??)

Segment Synopsis: Oberst talks about the various civil rights organizations that were active in Lexington. He mentions the friction between the community and the ACLU and how the Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights was well received by the Lexington community. [Parts of this segment are hard to hear]

Keywords: ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union); Bob Estill; CORE (Congress of Racial Equality); Community support; Interracial organizations; LCRHR (Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights); Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights (Ky.); NCCJ (National Conference of Christians and Jews); Race relations; Racial discrimination; Racial matters

Subjects: American Civil Liberties Union

00:26:28 - Human Rights Commission and their legislative efforts

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Partial Transcript: How did you become involved with the Human Rights Commission?

Segment Synopsis: Oberst discusses his involvement with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and civil rights legislation. He also talks about the legislative efforts of the commission in regard to public accommodations.

Keywords: Civil rights legislation; Civil rights movement; Human Rights Commission; Human rights ordinances; Kentucky governors; March on Frankfort (1964); Political activism; Political demonstrations; Public accommodations legislation; Racial discrimination

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; Carroll, Julian Morton, 1931-; Civil rights--Law and legislation--Kentucky; Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Nunn, Louie B., 1924-2004

00:34:41 - Experiences with integretion / blacks and the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Over the years how have your colleagues viewed your actions in the civil rights area?

Segment Synopsis: Oberst talks about what race relations were like for him following the integration of the University of Kentucky. He goes on discuss why he believes there are few blacks at the University of Kentucky, including the lack of recruitment by the school. [Parts of this segment are hard to hear]

Keywords: Blacks at UK; Blacks in higher education; Race relations; Racial discrimination; UK; UK recruitment of blacks

Subjects: African Americans--Education (Higher); University of Kentucky.

00:39:03 - Status of blacks

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Partial Transcript: Sir after all the work you and many people like you have done, where are blacks today?

Segment Synopsis: Oberst talks about the issues that blacks face even after the end of segregation and blatant discrimination. He mentions the integration of public schools in Lexington. He goes on to talk about subtle discrimination in Lexington. [Part of this segment are hard to hear]

Keywords: Desegregation; Full integration; Integration; Race relations; Racial identity; Social status of blacks; Subtle discrimination; Violet Brown

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

00:43:20 - Bakke Supreme Court case and affirmative action / housing discrimination

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Partial Transcript: Okay sir, could you give me your views on the Bakke case and what it will mean?

Segment Synopsis: Obersts talks about the potential viewpoints on the outcome of the Bakke Supreme Court case on affirmative action. He also talks about his involvement in the legislative efforts to eradicate housing discrimination. He briefly mentions how IBM has decided to not work with any realtor found to have discriminatory practices. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Affirmative action; Allan Bakke; College admission policies; Housing Act; Housing discrimination; Housing relations; Human Rights Commission; IBM; Racial discrimination; Segregation in housing; Subtle discrimination; Supreme Court cases; University of California (Davis, Ca.), UC Davis Medical School; University of California v. Bakke

Subjects: Affirmative action programs in education; Civil rights--Law and legislation--United States; Discrimination in housing; Kentucky Commission on Human Rights