Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Dorothy T. Pumphrey, August 8, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Early education

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Partial Transcript: Mrs. Pumphrey can you tell me when and where you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Dorothy Pumphrey is introduced. She discusses her parents' occupations and her childhood in Louisville, Kentucky. She talks about where she attended elementary school and junior high and discusses the atmosphere in each school. She talks about her parents highly valuing education.

Keywords: 29th Street School; Atmosphere; Dances; Expectations; Farmers; Fathers; First day of school; Government jobs; Husbands; Mothers; Muhammad Ali; Post office; Principals; Schools; Siblings; Socials; West End Louisville; West Walnut Street (Louisville, Ky.)

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Childhood; Henderson (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Teachers--Kentucky

GPS: Louisville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.25, -85.766667
00:09:34 - Music education

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Partial Transcript: Where did you go after that?

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey talks about her private music lessons during her high school years. She talks about school field trips to see the Cincinnati Symphony as well as seeing musicians like Marion Anderson and Roland Hayes with her parents.

Keywords: Choirs; Cincinnati Symphony; Concerts; Facilities; Floods; Liberal education; Louisville Central High School; Majors; Marion Anderson; Memorial Auditorium (Louisville, Ky.); Music classes; Public schools; Roland Hayes; Singers; Singing; Walnut Street (Louisville, Ky.)

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Childhood; Music; Musicians; Neighborhoods.; Race discrimination.; Teachers--Kentucky

GPS: Walnut Street (Louisville, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.250311, -85.749926
00:15:52 - College and teaching career

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Partial Transcript: You graduated from Central in what year?

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey talks about where she attended college and talks about where she worked afterward. She talks about teaching at Bates High School in Danville, Kentucky and what it was like living in a small town.

Keywords: Attitudes; Bates High School (Danville, Ky.); Cost; Directing plays; Fathers; Jobs; Parents; Post office; Practice teaching; Professors; Quality of education; Small towns; Teachers' educations; Working

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Danville (Ky.); Education--Study and teaching; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

GPS: Danville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.645556, -84.769722
00:23:41 - Monticello, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: How did you end up in Lexington? I'm trying to put this together.

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey talks about her husband, whose family operated a general store in Monticello, Kentucky. She talks about moving there to help run the store and talks more about living in a small town.

Keywords: Children; Cleaning; General stores; Husbands; Income; Ira Bell; Lexington (Ky.); Property ownership; Travis School; Wayne County (Ky.); Working

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Family histories.; Monticello (Ky.); Race relations--Kentucky; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching; University of Louisville

GPS: Monticello (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.838056, -84.85
00:32:01 - Impressions of Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: So you came to Lexington in what year?

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey talks about moving to Lexington and where she lived in town. She talks about why she did not participate much in the social life of Lexington and talks about the lack of cultural events in the area. She discusses the quality of the public school system in Lexington.

Keywords: Acquaintances; Attitudes; Big bands; Child-rearing; Children; Cultural events; Decline; Deweese Street; Disappointments; Dunbar Apartments; Dunbar School; Fine arts; Impressions; Inadequate; Limited; Opportunities; Paradise Inn; Playing cards; Provincial; Public schools; Quality of education; Real estate; Transylvania University; University of Kentucky; Upper Street

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

GPS: Deweese Street (Lexington, Ky.)

Map Coordinates: 38.044367, -84.491995
00:40:12 - Attitudes about integration

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Partial Transcript: Now you were here in Lexington when some significant things happened.

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey discusses the attitudes some Black teachers, principals, and other leaders had about the civil rights movement. She says some feared losing their jobs if schools were integrated but says she knew of no one who actually did.

Keywords: Administration; Attitudes; Bonds; Camaraderie; Coaches; Communication; Dunbar School; Fear; Job loss; Organizations; Outsiders; Partisanship; Politics; Pressure; Principals; Sit-ins; Status; Students

Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Civil rights--Law and legislation; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; School integration--Kentucky--Fayette County; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Law and legislation; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:49:08 - More on her impressions of Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Do--have you had the sense since you've been in Lexington--I'm just trying to, trying to compare some notes and get a profile here.

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey talks more about why she did not socialize in Lexington and about the lack of cultural life. She talks about the attitudes people from Lexington have, saying that some are arrogant. She talks about wealthy Blacks in Lexington and talks about whether Blacks were able to get loans to buy property.

Keywords: "Slave mentality"; Antebellum; Arrogance; Attitudes; Cultural life; Garvis Kinkead; Horse industry; Husbands; Investment companies; Issues; Loans; Money; Property ownership; Provincial; Remarried; Restaurants; Socializing; Wealthy Blacks

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American churches--Kentucky; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Louisville (Ky.)--Social conditions; Race discrimination.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
01:00:45 - Attitudes in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: What I wanted you to do was to try to just do a comparison thing for me. You've done that very well.

Segment Synopsis: Pumphrey makes comparisons between Louisville and Lexington. She discusses why she sees Lexington as "Southern." She briefly talks about her participation in the civil rights movement. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: All Souls Church; Attitudes; Attorneys; Black professionals; Comparisons; Competition; Gossip; Involvement; Leaving; Outsiders; Privacy

Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Civil rights movements--United States; Integration; Lexington (Ky.).; Louisville (Ky.); Race relations--Kentucky

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722