Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Arthur Smith, December 5, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Personal background / founding of Portland Memorial Baptist Church

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Partial Transcript: My name is Edward Owens. I'm working for Dr. George Wright, history professor at the University of Kentucky, on his oral history project, The Black Church in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses his personal background, and how the Portland Memorial Baptist Church came to be founded.

Keywords: Amos Dorsey; Church; Family; Financial support; Founders; Hannah Jones; Helen Thrift; Land; Land ownership; Louisville (Ky.); Maria Thurman; Patsy Grant; Portland neighborhood; Slaves; William Gohagan

Subjects: African American clergy; African American families; African Americans--Religion; Louisville (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Slavery, abolition, and emancipation

00:04:09 - Former ministers and their works

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Partial Transcript: Could you discuss the past ministers and the contributions that they've made to the church and the community?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses the ministers who served before him. Smith goes on to describe the specific ways these ministers have impacted the church in years past.

Keywords: Baptist Young People's Union; Remodeling, Construction; Reverend A. D. Hansbro; Reverend B. F. Reid; Reverend Charles Edwards; Reverend E. T. Offutt; Reverend E. W. Reid; Reverend Frye; Reverend J. W. Gibson; Reverend Jackson McRidley; Reverend John Buckner; Reverend L. A. Offutt, Sr.; Reverend Lee Smith; Reverend Stumms; Reverend Thomas Faulkner; Reverend W. P. Offutt; Social activities; Social clubs; Utility Club; White Rose Club; Willing Workers Club

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American clergy; African American leadership; African American preaching; African Americans--Social life and customs; Louisville (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.

00:13:40 - Church activities / focus of the church / role of the Black minister

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Partial Transcript: What activities was the church involved in years ago?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses the many activities that the church has in place. He also describes the role of the minister in the Black church.

Keywords: Black community; Black ministers; Church activities; Church members; College students; Daycare centers; Education; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Portland neighborhood; Recreational sports; Scholarship; West Market Street; Young people; Youth council

Subjects: African American clergy; African American college students; African American neighborhoods; African American youth; African Americans--Education; African Americans--Politics and government; African Americans--Recreation; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Student aid

00:20:07 - Personal ministry / church's community involvement / relationship with White churches

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Partial Transcript: Is the minister a dictator in this church?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses his time as pastor. He also describes the ways in which the church was involved in the civil rights movement. He also discusses the relationship between Black and White churches.

Keywords: Black churches; Black community; Church members; Civil rights movement; Fifth Street Baptist Church; Finances; Group; Pastorate; Politics; Programs; Progressive; Protests; Quinn African Methodist Episcopal Church; Stuart High School crisis; White churches; Young people; Zion Baptist Church

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American clergy; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Politics and government; Civil rights demonstrations--United States; Civil rights movement; Race relations--Kentucky

00:26:37 - Helping African American students / problems in the Black community

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Partial Transcript: Is the church still involved in educational and political concerns?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses how the church financially aids students in the Black community. He also describes how the church is responding to issues in the Black community.

Keywords: Black churches; Black community; College students; Education; Financial aid; Loans; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Ministerial Coalition; Scholarship; Voting; politics

Subjects: African American Christians; African American clergy; African American college students; African Americans--Education; African Americans--Politics and government; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Student aid

00:34:12 - Accomplishments of the church

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Partial Transcript: Would you say that was one of the major weaknesses of the Black church?

Segment Synopsis: Smith discusses the accomplishments his church has made.

Keywords: Black church; Church members; Daycare centers; Portland Memorial Baptist Church; Portland neighborhood; Progress; Social activities; Unity; Young people

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American neighborhoods; African American youth; African Americans--Recreation; Louisville (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.