Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Victor Delpont, June 16, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Coming to the USA from Bologna, Italy / citizenship

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Partial Transcript: Interview with Victor Delpont. June sixteenth, 1986.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about his family's move to the United States and the jobs that he and his father had in the mines. He also talks about the return to Italy, followed by a return to the United States.

Keywords: "Chalk-eyes"; Bologna (Italy); Coal mining machine; Immigrant workers; Italians; Loading coal; Mine supervisors; Mine tracks; Parents; Recreational activities; Return to Italy; Stone-masons; Teenage employees; Tennessee; WWII; World War II

Subjects: Citizenship.; Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Emigration and immigration.; Immigrants--Kentucky--Hazard

00:11:47 - Family / working for the coal company / unions

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Partial Transcript: I had a job cutting coal at that time.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about his family that returned to the United States during WWII. He talks about his work in the coal mines.

Keywords: Coal camp; Death of family; Employment; End of mining; Hauling coal; Housing; Italians; Knees; Mining standing up; Mining unions; Murders; Siblings; United States Army; WWII; World War II

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Leslie County; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Leslie County

00:20:25 - Businesses in Hazard, KY / Italians in Hazard, KY / unions

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Partial Transcript: They had two big stores.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about the businesses in Hazard, Italian miners, the unions, and mining.

Keywords: "House coal"; Contract work; Great Depression; Higher wages; Italians; Pay; Returning to Italy; Tonnage; Types of coal; Union membership; Wages; Weight of coal

Subjects: Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Immigrants--Kentucky

00:28:02 - The selling price of coal / WPA and other employment / retirement

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Partial Transcript: When I think about, uh, uh, uh, trying to, trying to make money at, at a price like that...

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about employment during the depression, the crashing of banks and industries, and his retirement income.

Keywords: Bank crashes; Black lung; Building bridges; Building roads; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Great Depression; Modern mining; National Recovery Administration; Pricing; Retirement; Self-employed; Work Projects Administration

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; United States. Works Progress Administration.

00:33:34 - Prejudice toward immigrant mine workers / coal tipples and cars

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Partial Transcript: Yes, I would have to say it, and I still resent that today.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about Italian and immigrant coal miners and the prejudice and discrimination they faced.

Keywords: "Italian Holler"; Coal cars; Coal tipples; Immigrant workers; Italian miners; Kentucky; Mining unions; Racial slurs; Tennessee

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Discrimination.; Immigrants

00:40:13 - Boardinghouses / homemade liquor / bocce

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Partial Transcript: Well, Mr. Delpont did a lot of, of immigrant families take in boarders?

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about other Italian miners who were renters and boarders from his father, the game of bocce, and the making of wine and other liquors.

Keywords: Boarders; Coal miners; Games; Grapes; Homemade wine; Liquor; Raisin Jack; Side businesses; Tenants

Subjects: Boardinghouses; Boccie (Game); Distilling, Illicit; Wine and wine making.

00:49:14 - Coming to the United States

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Partial Transcript: In 1905, I was 3 year old.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about his family coming to the United States from Italy, and his return visit in 1950.

Keywords: Passengers; Return to Italy; Visiting; WWII

Subjects: Citizenship; Emigration and immigration.; Italy; World War, 1939-1945

01:01:42 - School and life in the "Italian Holler" / African Americans

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Partial Transcript: Well how about schools when you were younger?

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about the neighborhoods he grew up in and the schools he attended in Tennessee. He talks about African Americans working in the coal mines.

Keywords: Blacks in the coal fields; Italian community

Subjects: African American coal miners; Education; Gatlinburg, (Tenn.); Schools

01:05:36 - Voting rights of immigrants / Italian women / Catholic Church

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Partial Transcript: I never started voting until I came up in this country here.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about voting. He talks about the marriage of Italian women to American men. He discusses the Catholic Church.

Keywords: Baptist Church; German priests; Husbands; Italian women; Polish priests; Religion; Remarriage

Subjects: Catholic Church; Immigrants; Marriage; Voting

01:13:13 - Member of a band / memorabilia

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Partial Transcript: Let's see, uh--what would I--I got something that I wanted to--

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about his days as a member of a band, and he talks about his envelopes of memorabilia, dating back to his early days of working in the mines (1921).

Keywords: Occasions; Playing music

Subjects: Bands (Music); Coal miners--Labor unions; Coal mines and mining

01:23:54 - Going through photo album

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Partial Transcript: This is this, this is that Markeese (??)

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about Italians who were American citizens, but had lost their papers and were having trouble getting back into the United States.

Keywords: Loss of citizenship

Subjects: Citizenship; Immigrants; Photographs

01:27:40 - Italians born in the United States / returning to Italy / boss of the family

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Partial Transcript: Just like me when I married--now see this, this lady that I married, Clara, she was a full blooded Italian too.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about Italian Americans. He discusses the difficulties of getting back to the United States when travelling to Italy. He talks about heads of households.

Keywords: Coal camps; Family sponsors; Head of household

Subjects: Emigration and immigration law--United States; Families.; Italy

01:32:54 - In-laws' migration to Illinois and Wisconsin / keeping house / diabetes

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Partial Transcript: The whole family went back to Chic--went to Chicago.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about family who moved north, housekeeping, and his wife's diabetes.

Keywords: Chicago (Ill.); Dry cleaning; Fishing; Laundry; Migration north; Relatives; Wife's family; Wisconsin; Wives

Subjects: Diabetes.; Families.; Housekeeping.

01:42:05 - Son's life / caring for sick relatives

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Partial Transcript: Well, my son, my son got married.

Segment Synopsis: Victor Delpont talks about his son and daughter-in-law before they were divorced and afterward.

Keywords: Children; Daughter-in-laws; Mother-in-laws; Sons

Subjects: Families.