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00:00:02 - Early relationship with Happy Chandler

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Partial Transcript: This is Professor Charles P. Roland, the University of Kentucky History Department.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes his early experiences with Chandler, beginning with his high school graduation where Chandler gave the graduating speech during his first term as governor. He also notes meeting Chandler while stationed as a guard at Fort Knox. Ezelle expands his discussion to include his entry into labor and his disenchantment with the Wetherby administration. He also notes how he came to know Chandler personally and supported him for his second run for governor.

Keywords: Al Kaiser; Chandler anecdotes; Chandler first administration; Ft. Knox (Ky.); Governor Chandler; Happy Chandler; Labor unions; Madisonville High School; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle; Senator Chandler

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

GPS: Fort Knox (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.92, -85.96
00:04:19 - National labor organizations' attitudes towards Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Could I interrupt you--

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes the different national labor organizations' opposition to Chandler. He discusses how the CIO sent national representatives to Kentucky to ensure that Kentucky labor did not support Chandler. However, he notes that Kentucky labor had felt ignored by Barkley and Wetherby.

Keywords: 1955 Governor campaign; 1955 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Labor unions; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Meany, George, 1894-1980.; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:06:08 - Governor Wetherby's attitude towards labor

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Partial Transcript: What was his attitude toward, uh--you've told me that miners, uh, frequently, uh, in those days were arrested and charged with, uh, conspiracy--

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle expands further on Wetherby's mistreatment of labor in Kentucky while serving as governor. He notes how Wetherby enforced laws that declared workers as committing crimes of banding and confederating and imprisoned them. Ezelle relates an anecdote of taking a petition with Thelma Stovall to Governor Wetherby asking for clemency for jailed workers that was ignored. He describes the general feeling of being ignored by the state government and the Democratic Party during this period, noting that labor was only paid attention to around election time.

Keywords: AFL; American Federation of Labor; Anti-labor; Arrest of labor; Banding and confederating; CIO; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Governor Wetherby; Labor unions; Lawrence Wetherby; Morganfield Jail; Opposition to organized labor; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle; Thelma Stovall; Tobacco workers union; Wetherby administration

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:08:30 - Labor requests for Chandler to address if elected

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Partial Transcript: I was writing on a, on a paper napkin for a friend of Happy's at the old Seelbach Hotel, he said "What do you all want?" And I took an old heavy carbon pencil and I wrote seven or eight things that we thought were current injustices.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle notes some of the requests he wrote down on labor matters that he hoped Chandler would address. He lists wanting a proper commissioner of labor relations in the state government as well as reform of workman's compensation laws. He describes these requests being sent along to Chandler and supported by Chandler. He does an imitation of Chandler that earns Roland's praise.

Keywords: 1955 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler impression; Commissioner of labor relations; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Labor demands; Labor unions; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle; Seelbach Hotel; Workers Compensation Board

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

GPS: Seelbach Hotel (Louisville, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.250833, -85.758056
00:12:45 - 1955 Kentucky governor campaign -- Chandler's visits to factories and construction sites

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Partial Transcript: It was great experience to travel with Happy, you know, I would work with him eight or ten months of my life.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes campaigning with Chandler at various work sites across Kentucky. He discusses how Chandler took pains to shake as many hands as possible and speak personally to as many workers as he could. Ezelle relates a campaign rally where Chandler was able to make the audience both laugh and cry within minutes, as an example of his persona. Ezelle also discusses the opposition to Chandler where even Senator Lyndon Johnson attempted to interfere and get people to not support Chandler.

Keywords: 1955 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Campaign speeches; Campaign travel; Congress of Industrial Organization; Construction sites; Factories; Fish fries; Gold Mine in the Sky; Governor Chandler; Labor unions; Lyndon Johnson; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:18:38 - 1955 Kentucky governor campaign -- Personal support for Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Ezelle, why did, uh, the national union, uh, why did they--why were they so opposed to Happy?

Segment Synopsis: Though Roland asks why the national labor unions opposed Chandler, Ezelle focuses more on his personal actions during the 1955 campaign to help Chandler. He discusses writing a pro-Chandler pamphlet entitled "Know Your ABCs" and inviting Chandler to union meetings. He discusses one incident where Chandler uses his good memory to bring up the support of a deceased local politician after seeing his widow in the crowd. Ezelle notes the early challenges of Chandler in using television as a campaign tool.

Keywords: "Know Your ABCs"; 1955 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; Bus driver union; CIO; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Labor unions; Organized labor; Political propaganda; Sam W. Ezelle; Television campaign programs

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:23:45 - 1955 Kentucky governor campaign -- Labor voting for Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Ezelle, uh, uh, I assume then, that he got the, the labor vote overwhelmingly in '55?

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle discusses the extent of labor voting for Chandler during the election, which he states was overwhelming. He notes how despite opposition from the national organization, Chandler received the votes of most workers under the AFL and the CIO. He believes that Chandler also received most of the United Mine Workers' vote as well. He states he cannot recall any group that opposed Chandler apart from perhaps the Steelworkers' Union.

Keywords: 1955 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Congress of Industrial Organization; Ed Weiler; Governor Chandler; Labor unions; Labor votes; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle; Steel Workers Union; Teamsters; Union votes

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:26:54 - Chandler second administration -- Labor decisions

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Partial Transcript: Mister, uh, Ezelle, were there not things about Governor Chandler that would run counter to, what shall I call it, the national labor union's views?

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes Chandler's actions towards labor as governor. Roland asks about possible anti-labor actions that Chandler took, but Ezelle largely acknowledges Chandler as a supportive governor for laborer. As an example, Ezelle notes an incident where Chandler was willing to appoint the first choice of labor to the Department of Labor.

Keywords: AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler second administration; Chandler support for labor; Chandler support for unions; Closed shop laws; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Kentucky Department of Labor; Labor unions; Organized labor; Right to work laws; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:31:43 - Chandler second administration -- Relationship with Chandler / Opposition to Harry Waterfield

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Partial Transcript: Well, he was elected, and, uh, what were your relationship--or did you have any particular relationship with him as governor during his second--

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes his relationship with Chandler as good. However, he notes that Chandler did have some people around him who were not as supportive of labor as he was. Ezelle describes a brief cooling of their relationship at the end of Chandler's second term because he refused to support Chandler's choice of successor, Harry Lee Waterfield, for governor. He discusses his opposition to Waterfield due to his anti-labor stances, such as supporting right to work legislation in the Kentucky Senate. He describes Chandler's reaction to being told he would support Combs over Waterfield.

Keywords: 1959 Kentucky governor campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler administration; Chandler and loyalty; Chandler second administration; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Harry Lee Waterfield; Labor unions; Organized labor; Right to work laws; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:36:11 - Delegate to 1956 Democratic National Convention

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Partial Transcript: I was a delegate in '56 too, to the, uh, convention in Chicago. I had a Happy button, which I still have.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes being in Chicago during the 1956 Democratic National Convention to support Chandler's run for the presidency. He discussed meeting with other delegations for them to join the Chandler campaign march. While Chandler did not get many votes, he did describe the occasion as being fun. Ezelle goes on a brief tangent describing how Chandler was able to accomplish so much while abstaining from alcohol, coffee, or tobacco.

Keywords: 1956 Democratic National Convention; 1956 Presidential campaign; AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler second administration; Chicago; Congress of Industrial Organization; Democratic National conventions; Governor Chandler; Labor unions; Organized labor; Political favorite sons; Sam W. Ezelle; Teetotalers; Watterson hotel

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:40:26 - Chandler second administration -- Visiting Chandler as governor

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Partial Transcript: Uh, one of the funny things that happened, uh, and there were many, during Happy's tenure there at the mansion.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle describes an anecdote of visiting Chandler during his time as governor while he was taking breakfast in bed in his pajamas and playing with his dogs. He describes how Chandler was a good administrator and liked having any audience.

Keywords: AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler and audiences; Chandler as administrator; Chandler second administration; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Harry Davis; Labor unions; Mildred Chandler; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:44:07 - Chandler first administration -- Labor unions

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Ezelle, which--there was one of his administrations, and at the moment I can't remember which, where there was a pretty tense situation in the coal fields--

Segment Synopsis: Roland asks to clear up misunderstandings over Chandler sending the National Guard into the coal mines. Ezelle clarifies that this incident occurred during Chandler's first administration in the 1930s, and that the National Guard was called at the request of the miners. Ezelle describes how labor in the Appalachian region was not treated well, and local sheriffs and judges were all dominated by the operators' interests.

Keywords: AFL; American Federation of Labor; CIO; Chandler first administration; Chandler second administration; Coal mines; Congress of Industrial Organization; Governor Chandler; Kentucky labor disputes; Labor disputes; Labor in Appalachia; Labor unions; National Guard; Organized labor; Sam W. Ezelle

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Roland, Charles Pierce, 1918-; State governments; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-1994

00:55:23 - Chandler and the sales tax issue

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Partial Transcript: Uh, getting out of, uh, of, uh, d--uh, direct, uh, relations between Governor Chandler and labor, uh, let me ask this question.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle talks about various politicians' views on the sales tax enacted in Kentucky. He discusses Chandler's decisions regarding alcohol and tobacco taxes, and on taxing Keeneland racetrack.

Keywords: Alcohol taxes; Debates; Exemptions; Food; Governor Bert Combs; Governor John Y. Brown; Governor Wendell Ford; Keeneland racetrack; Labor movement; Laborers; Raising taxes; Repeal; Sales tax; Tobacco taxes; Unions; Veterans bonus

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Labor unions--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; Sales tax--Law and legislation; State governments; Taxation--Law and legislation

01:01:59 - Chandler's refusal to help with unemployment compensation

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Partial Transcript: I guess, I guess another time that, uh, that I was really upset with Happy was, uh, we had a tremendous wave of unemployment.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle talks about states being allowed to borrow money from the federal government during a recession to be used to fund unemployment compensation. He says that Chandler refused to borrow this money, despite being urged by Ezelle and others.

Keywords: Borrowing; Congress; Credit; Federal government; Happy Chandler; Harry King Lowman; Mistakes; Opposition; Recessions; Sam Caddy; Unemployment; Unemployment compensation

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments

01:04:29 - Chandler's assistance with radiation testing

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Partial Transcript: But I'm, I'm much more--I'm more anxious to add up the new position that labor found ourselves into.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle talks about Chandler's support of a mobile laboratory that would travel around the state to test for toxic fumes, radiation, and other issues harming workers.

Keywords: Industries; Industry; Labor movement; Laboratories; Mobile laboratory; Noise; Protections; Radiation; Radiation testing; Toxic fumes; Unions

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments

01:05:59 - 1963 gubernatorial campaign / Thelma Stovall

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Partial Transcript: Now when he ran again, what was it, '63?

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle talks about Chandler's decision to run in the 1963 gubernatorial campaign. He talks about how Harry Davis, who worked for Chandler, turned many people against Chandler. He discusses Chandler's support of Thelma Stovall and Stovall's accomplishments throughout her political career.

Keywords: 1963; Bob Hensley; Decisions; Enemies; Harry Davis; Labor movement; Ned Breathitt; Organized labor; Positions; Primary campaigns; Primary elections; Thelma Stovall; Unions; Votes; Women; Women politicians

Subjects: Breathitt, Edward T., 1924-; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments; Stovall, Thelma L., 1919-1994; Women in politics; Women--Political activity

01:11:48 - Labor movement not supporting Chandler in the 1963 campaign

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Partial Transcript: Well, your, your decision then in '63 to support Breathitt--

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle discusses why the labor movement did not support Chandler during the 1963 gubernatorial campaign, instead backing Ned Breathitt. He talks about how James Martin, who worked for Chandler, turned many people against Chandler.

Keywords: 1963; Benefits; Bert Combs; Decisions; Disenchantment; Elections; Endorsement; Going rate; Happy Chandler; James W. Martin; Job titles; Jobs; Labor leaders; Labor movement; Ned Breathitt; Pledges; Public relations; Public works; Right to work bills; Right to work legislation; Support; Unions; Verbiage; Wages; Workers compensation

Subjects: Breathitt, Edward T., 1924-; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments

01:22:46 - Chandler's significance to Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Ezelle, you've been very generous with your time and your information.

Segment Synopsis: Ezelle gives his evaluation of Chandler and discusses his contributions to the state of Kentucky.

Keywords: Achievements; African Americans; Ambitious; Better; Categories; Colorful personality; Desegregation; Dixiecrats; Evaluations; Happy Chandler; Improvements; Labor movement; Medical schools; Political parties; Significance; Speakers

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991.; Governors--Kentucky; Kentucky--Politics and government; Politicians--Kentucky; Politics, Practical; State governments