Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Wilhelmina Hunter, August 12, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Childhood and education in Boston, Massachusetts

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Partial Transcript: Mrs. Hunter I have heard about you as long as I've been in Lexington which is about twelve or thirteen years so it's a real pleasure to visit you in your home and to talk with you.

Segment Synopsis: Wilhelmina Hunter is introduced. She discusses her family background, growing up in Boston, and the schools she attended there. She talks about why she wanted to go to business school and what she learned there. She talks briefly about leaving Boston, marrying her husband Dr. Bush Hunter, and the famous people she met during her time in Boston.

Keywords: Booker T. Washington; Business; Business school; Careers; Celebrities; College; Fathers; High school; Husbands; Leaving; Marriage; Mothers; Neighborhood schools; Parents; Private schools; Public schools; Race; Siblings; Sisters; Skills; Teaching; W.E.B. Dubois; Women

Subjects: African American college students.; African American families; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Marriage.; Boston (Mass.); Childhood

GPS: Boston (Mass.)
Map Coordinates: 42.35843, -71.059774
00:07:13 - Living in Washington, D.C.

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Partial Transcript: When you left Boston where did you go?

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks about moving from Boston to Washington, D.C. after finishing school. She talks about her experiences with segregation and discrimination. She talks about where she worked in D.C. and talks about the beginning of her relationship with her husband.

Keywords: Careers; Dr. Bush Hunter; Husband; Internal Revenue; Jobs; Leaving; Married; Qualities; Women; Working

Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Marriage.; African Americans--Segregation.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Washington (D.C.)

GPS: Washington (D.C.)
Map Coordinates: 38.907192, -77.036871
00:11:15 - Impressions of Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: How did you end up in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks about why she and her husband moved to Lexington. She talks about her first impressions of the area and whether her opinions have changed. She talks about the types of entertainment she and her husband enjoyed, and talks about his work as a doctor.

Keywords: Doctors; Entertainment; Fathers; Friends; Husband; Impressions; Misfits; Music; Operas; Patients; Practicing medicine; Relationships; Working

Subjects: African American physicians--Kentucky--Lexington; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions. Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.040585, -84.503709
00:15:03 - Discrimination in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: You had one child?

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks about her son's experiences attending segregated schools in Lexington. She talks about her involvement with the Religion and Human Rights organization. She discusses whether she believes issues of race have improved in Lexington and why she believes some people do not want change to occur.

Keywords: Acceptance; Antagonists; Apartheid; Benefits; Better; Changes; Children; Dunbar High School (Lexington, Ky.); Husband; Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights; Paul Oberst; Segregated schools; Sons; Women

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington; African Americans--Employment--Law and legislation; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Segregation.; Discrimination in education.; Discrimination in employment.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Racism--Kentucky--Lexington; Segregation in education--Kentucky

00:19:57 - Famous visitors

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Partial Transcript: Mrs. Hunter when I first came in your house, and I'm looking here at this Howard baby grand, you told me, um, a little story about that.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter discusses some of the noteworthy people who have visited her house over the years, including Duke Ellington, Dr. Charles Drew, and Marion Anderson. She talks about Ellington and Anderson's musical abilities.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Bush Hunter, Jr.; Butlers; Dr. Charles Drew; Duke Ellington; Fathers; Manners; Marion Anderson; Moving; Neighbors; Piano; Relationships; Singers; Traveling

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social life and customs.

00:26:39 - Cultural activities in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: Mrs. Hunter you came here in 1926?

Segment Synopsis: Hunter discusses the types of cultural activities she and her husband participated in, including playing Bridge, reading, playing music, and having get-togethers with friends. She discusses her experiences with churches in Lexington. She talks about her husband's relationships with other doctors in Lexington, and his relationships with his patients.

Keywords: Appreciation; Books; Cello; Choirs; Churches; Congregational Church; Different; Doctors; Dr. Bush Hunter; Emotional; Food; Frankfort (Ky.); Husband; Interracial churches; Kentucky State College; Libraries; Mabel Atwood; Meetings; Music; Patients; Playing Bridge; Practicing medicine; Transylvania University; Visiting friends; YWCA

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American families; African American physicians--Kentucky--Lexington; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions. African Americans--Social life and customs.

00:32:23 - Current interests

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me the kinds of things you do to keep yourself--because mentally you are a very alert woman.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter discusses how she currently occupies her time, and how she spent her time before she became unable to easily leave her home. She talks about her experiences volunteering at the University of Kentucky Hospital, the type of music she enjoys, and her lack of interest in television. She describes remodeling parts of her house.

Keywords: Civic work; Dr. Bush Hunter; Friends; Husband; Music; Parties; Playing Bridge; Radio; Reading; Remodeling; Television; University of Kentucky pediatric hospital; Volunteering

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions. African Americans--Social life and customs.; Integration

GPS: University of Kentucky Medical Center (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.031744, -84.509028
00:37:18 - Memories and life philosophy

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Partial Transcript: Mrs. Hunter, while ago I asked you when you're moving through your day or at night when you're awake what do you do to fill in the time for you and you said something very interesting about your memories.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter discusses the memories she often thinks about. She talks about how her parents have greatly influenced her life, including giving her a sense of self-worth. She talks about her philosophy concerning money and possessions.

Keywords: Ambassador Aldridge; Buying; Cancer; Confidence; Cost; Ice buckets; Isaac Burns Murphy; Memories; Money; Parents; Possessions; Practicing medicine; School; Self-worth; Spending; Vases

Subjects: African American families; African American physicians--Kentucky--Lexington; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.

00:44:58 - Neighbors in Lexington / interest in issues

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Partial Transcript: Who, can you tell me who else used to live up and down this street?

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks about the people who have lived in her neighborhood over the years. She talks more about remodeling her house. She talks more about her experiences volunteering at the University of Kentucky hospital and others' opinions of her work. She talks more about her interest in the Religion and Human Rights organization.

Keywords: Central Baptist Hospital; Chandeliers; Cost; Dentists; Donations; Dr. Buford; Dr. Mackinham; Dr. Stevens; Houses; Lexington Committee on Religion and Human Rights; Money; Moving; Remodeling; University of Kentucky Hospital; Volunteering

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Neighborhoods.; Neighbors; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington

00:50:37 - More on cultural activities

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Partial Transcript: --but I guess if you've had it all your life it doesn't hit you the way it hit me when I went to Washington.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks more about the cultural activities she and her family are interested in. She talks about her son's involvement in theatre productions. She talks about her husband playing the cello, and her own piano playing and singing skills. She talks more about famous musicians she has met.

Keywords: Actors; Cellists; Dr. Bush Hunter; Enrico Caruso; Guignol Theater; Husband; Kentucky State College; Mason-Dixon Line; Piano; Playing music; Plays; Roland Hayes; Siblings; Singing; Sons; Southern heritage; Theatre; Transylvania University; University of Kentucky; World War I veterans

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions. African Americans--Social life and customs.

GPS: Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.052153, -84.493616
00:55:53 - Life lessons she learned from her parents

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Partial Transcript: You have such a beautiful speaking voice.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks more about her life philosophy, which she says she learned from her parents, and discusses the importance of good parenting. She talks more about her views on money and spending. She discusses the idea of spreading democracy and religion.

Keywords: "Detroit Red"; Boston (Mass.); Children; Cost; Democracy; Japan; Malcolm X; Parents; Pensions; Quality; Religion; Remodeling; Speaking voice; Spending; Taxes; Working

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Social conditions.; Religion

01:00:32 - More on discrimination

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Partial Transcript: But this, this, this, this fallacy, skin color, it burns me up.

Segment Synopsis: Hunter talks more about her experiences with discrimination both in Washington D.C. and Lexington, Kentucky. She talks about discrimination in employment, as well as retail stores and restaurants. She talks about what she did to fight discrimination, including boycotts and other nonviolent tactics. She talks about whether conditions have improved over the years. She talks more about the influence her parents have had on her life. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: "Passing"; Americans; Banks; Birmingham (Ala.); Boycotts; Congressmen; Contact; Dr. Bush Hunter; Efforts; Fathers; Fired; Husband; IBM; Job opportunities; Jobs; Kaufman's; Nonviolence; Parents; Restaurants; Self-esteem; Sick; Skin color; South; Stores; University of Kentucky Hospital; Volunteering

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights--Southern States; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Kentucky--Lexington--Social conditions; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination in employment.; Discrimination.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Racism--Kentucky--Lexington