Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Florence A. Young, September 10, 1986

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Family history

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Partial Transcript: Good morning. Could you give me your name please?

Segment Synopsis: Florence Young discusses her ancestors and family history. She talks about which of her relatives were slaves and how they became free people. She talks about her family's home in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and how her parents came to own the property.

Keywords: Ancestors; Freedom; Grandmothers; Parents; Property ownership; Skin color; Slave masters; Slaves; White ancestors

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Genealogy.; African Americans--Housing.; Harrodsburg (Ky.); Neighborhoods.; Slavery--United States.

GPS: Harrodsburg (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.763889, -84.846111
00:05:08 - Grandfather

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Partial Transcript: But, uh... we didn't care much for my paternal grandfather. He didn't particularly care for Mother.

Segment Synopsis: Young tells several stories about her grandfather on her father's side of the family, who she says did not like her mother. She talks about his role as a slave buyer for his master.

Keywords: Affluence; Boarding houses; Buying slaves; Civil War; Fathers; Grandfathers; Literacy; Mothers; Prestige; Relationships; Slave masters; Social standing; Social status

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Clothing and dress.; Slavery--United States.; United States--Race relations.

00:10:32 - Home ownership / father working in Frankfort, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Now where did your great-grandfather l--he lived in this home that was passed on to your dad?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about the difficulty her mother had selling the family's property after her father's death. She talks about her parents' educations and talks about her father's job working for a lawyer in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Keywords: "Southern gentleman"; Custodians; Death; Fathers; Grandfathers; Harrodsburg (Ky.); Home ownership; Lawyers; Lexington (Ky.); Mothers; Moving; Mr. James; Property; Suing; Working

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Frankfort (Ky.); Neighborhoods.; United States--Race relations.

GPS: Frankfort (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.197, -84.863
00:19:41 - Mother's involvement in the community

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, my mother was a very--she was a doer and she organized a club there at the Baptist church.

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about her mother's involvement with a church club, her relationships with people in the community, and her love of entertaining.

Keywords: Baptist churches; Church clubs; Community; Fathers; Gifts; Hostesses; Mothers; Upholstery shops

Subjects: African American churches; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.

00:23:40 - Childhood community in Harrodsburg, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the community there in Frankfort that you grew up in.

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about the community in which she grew up in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. She talks about her father's role on the town council, and the jobs he held. She talks about where she went to school as a child, her experience with church, and why her family moved to Lexington.

Keywords: All-Black schools; Baptist churches; Bridges; Childbirth; Community; Constitution Elementary School; Fathers; Godmothers; Greenwood Street (Harrodsburg, Ky.); Insurance agents; Insurance companies; Lexington (Ky.); Methodist churches; Mothers; Moving; Parents; Russell Elementary School; Teachers; Town councils

Subjects: African American churches; African American families; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Harrodsburg (Ky.); Neighborhoods.

GPS: Harrodsburg (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.763889, -84.846111
00:33:08 - Mother's work in Lexington, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: So what did she do when she came?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about her mother selling products at a market in Lexington before working as a caterer for many of the prominent White families in Lexington. She talks about her mother's relationships with the White families and with the other Blacks hired by the families.

Keywords: Baking; Calumet Farm; Catering; Greentree Stable; Hamburg Place; Hiring; Horse farms; Ice cream companies; Markets; Mothers; Newtown Pike (Lexington, Ky.); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); Resentment; Treatment; Working

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

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:42:32 - North Upper Street neighborhood

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Partial Transcript: Now how long did you live in this big room you rented? Your mom rented?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about living on North Upper Street when her family moved to Lexington. She names some of the families that lived there and discusses the atmosphere of the neighborhood. She says the neighbors would look after one another, especially each other's children.

Keywords: Child care; Community; Doctors; Dr. Bush Hunter; Dr. Stevenson; Ministers; North Upper Street; Renting rooms; Upper class

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Neighborliness; Neighbors

GPS: North Upper Street (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.052741, -84.489955
00:48:01 - Mother's trial

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Partial Transcript: So you got along well with your White neighbors------??

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about her mother being tried in court for shaking a White boy who was calling her racial slurs and throwing dirt at her laundry. She talks about the support her mother received from the community, both Black and White, and discusses the results of the trial. She talks more about her mother's love of entertaining and her involvement in various organizations.

Keywords: Entertaining; Mothers; NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People); Parent Teacher Association (PTA); Popularity; Recreation; Transitions; Trouble; White families; YWCA

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Racism--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.

GPS: North Upper Street (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.052741, -84.489955
00:56:19 - Education and career

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Partial Transcript: Now after you finished--did you finish Dunbar?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about where she attended high school and college. She talks about working to put herself through school, and discuses where she worked after graduating. She talks about moving to New York and New Jersey among other places and discusses the jobs she worked there.

Keywords: Asbury Park (N.J.); Assistant superintendent of schools; Ben Snyder's Department Store; Catering business; Chambermaids; College; Dunbar High School; Graduation; Great Depression; Jobs; New Jersey; New York; Sisters; Substitute teaching; Wilberforce; Working; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Depressions--1929

01:05:22 - Sister's work in Lexington

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Partial Transcript: And did you stay on there until you--

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about her sister coming to Lexington for a job interview as a teacher. She talks about why her sister did not initially accept the job offer. She talks about her sister's experiences teaching in segregated and integrated schools and discusses whether White and Black teachers received the same pay.

Keywords: Black teachers; Booker T. Washington Elementary School; Dorothy Cooper; Equal pay; Masters degrees; Pay; Problems; Raises; Russell Elementary School; Russell Junior High School; Salary; School principals; Sisters; Superintendents; University of Cincinnati; University of Kentucky; White teachers

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.).; School integration--Kentucky--Fayette County; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

GPS: Russell Elementary School (Lexington, Ky.)

Map Coordinates: 38.053286, -84.489381
01:14:20 - Changes in Lexington after the civil rights movement

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Partial Transcript: Was your mother or you and your sister politically involved in Lexington?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about how Lexington changed after the civil rights movement, stating that there were more job opportunities for Blacks. She talks about how the North Upper Street neighborhood has changed since the original Black families began moving out and White families have moved in. She talks about discrimination at stores in downtown Lexington during her childhood, and discusses why her mother did not experience as much discrimination as others.

Keywords: Bank tellers; Banks; Changes; Community; Downtown Lexington; Generations; Jobs; Managers; Mothers; Moving in; North Upper Street; Political involvement; Property; Relationships; Revolution; Selling; Stores

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment--Law and legislation; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights movements--United States; Integration; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Racism--Kentucky--Lexington; United States--Race relations.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
01:20:29 - Role of the church in the community

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Partial Transcript: Tell me the difference--how you found the churches, if there is a difference--

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about the history of the Saint Paul A.M.E. Church in Lexington. She talks about the leaders of the church and the role of the church in the community during her childhood. She talks about how this role has changed over time and discusses whether this change is positive or negative.

Keywords: "Orphan home"; Affluence; Basements; Belle Jackson; Changes; Church services; Civil War; Communion; Debt; Dignity; First African Baptist Church; Generations; Georgetown Street; Improvements; Jordan Jackson; Ministers; Renovations; Saint Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church (Saint Paul A.M.E.); Slaves; Trustees; White churches

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American families; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; Slavery--United States.

01:30:06 - "Colored fair" / current state of the Black community

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Partial Transcript: You were telling me when I first came in something about a "colored fair." That your father was president.

Segment Synopsis: Young describes the activities available at the fairs she attended as a child in Harrodsburg. She discusses whether she believes Black people are better off now than they were when she was a child. She talks about improvements in education, changes in family structure and values, and the differences between generations.

Keywords: "Colored fair"; All-Black schools; Better off; Changes; Children; Doctors; Drugs; Family structure; Fathers; Finances; French; Generations; Improvement; Judging; Lawyers; Moral values; Mothers; President; Progress; Quality of education; Reading; School facilities; Science

Subjects: African American families; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Harrodsburg (Ky.); School integration--Kentucky--Fayette County; Segregation in education--Kentucky

GPS: Harrodsburg (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.763889, -84.846111
01:38:53 - Mother's values

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Partial Transcript: --to the library.

Segment Synopsis: Young describes going to the library as a child, which she says had a separate reading room for Blacks. She talks about her family's economic status as compared to their social status. She talks about the values her mother instilled within her, including appreciation for art and music. She talks about her mother's religious beliefs.

Keywords: Artists; Christianity; Cultural activities; Dancing; Federal jobs; Grandmothers; Librarians; Library reading room; Mail carriers; Marion Anderson; Morals; Musicians; Roland Hayes; Socioeconomic status; Values; Wealth; White families; Woodland Auditorium

Subjects: African American churches; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Childhood; Discrimination in employment.; Race discrimination.; United States--Race relations.

01:49:34 - Family dynamics

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Partial Transcript: Did you pick up any influence--I realize your father died at a very early age, but is there anything in your mind that you can just carry over?

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about her father and mother's roles within the family. She talks about whether they had disagreements and who was head of the household.

Keywords: "Southern gentleman"; Childbirth; Disagreements; Fathers; Head of household; Jobs; Mothers; Pregnant; Providers; Relationships; Working

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.

01:55:01 - Education and work in New York

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me about your days in New York.

Segment Synopsis: Young talks about attending the New York School of Dietetics in order to become a dietician. She talks about working at the YWCA while in school. She talks about working at a Girl Scout camp after graduating and discusses her relationships with the other employees. She talks about the job opportunities available for Blacks.

Keywords: Cafeterias; Classes; Cooking; Dayton (Ohio); Dieticians; Girl scouts; Hospitals; Job opportunities; Jobs; Menus; New York School of Dietetics; Speaking style; Working; YWCA

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; United States--Race relations.

GPS: New York
Map Coordinates: 43, -75
02:03:20 - Becoming licensed to work for the Board of Education

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Partial Transcript: So did you do this kind of work the entire time you were in New York?

Segment Synopsis: Young describes her experiences taking a practical, oral, and written exam, as well as passing a physical in order to work for the Board of Education. She talks about earning her cafeteria and tearoom management license and working in the Food Trades School. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Board of Education; Cafeteria and tearoom management; Cooking; Exams; Food Trades School; Jobs; Licenses; Mothers; Newspapers; Oral exams; Physicals; Subways; Written exams

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; United States--Race relations.

GPS: New York
Map Coordinates: 43, -75