Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with O.W. Harris, October 8, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:06 - Harris's parents and wife

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me your whole name?

Segment Synopsis: Oscar Harris was born in Catlettsburg, Kentucky in 1916 and moved to Van Lear, Kentucky with his family after the flu epidemic had run through. He talks about his parents' backgrounds. He talks about how he met his wife.

Keywords: Doctors; Fathers; Influenza; Loans; Medical school; Money; Mothers; Moving; Schools; Sisters; Tanneries; Van Lear (Ky.); Wife

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Families.

00:08:07 - The industrial police / unions and women's involvement in politics

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Partial Transcript: Was there a rough element?

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about the police that were hired by the coal company and how they kept order in the town. He talks about the union being organized in Van Lear and women's involvement in politics and union issues.

Keywords: Fighting; Health; Industrial police; Miner unions; Police; Secretaries; Van Lear (Ky.); Wife; Women

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Women in the labor movement

00:22:21 - Getting married and family relationships

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about Carrie. Um, you met her when you were, you all were--

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about how he met his wife in grade school and eloped with her after they graduated high school. He talks about his relationship with her parents.

Keywords: College; Father-in-law; Fathers; Grade school; High school; Mother-in-law; Mothers; Parents; School; Sons; Wife; Women

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Education--Kentucky.; Families.; Marriage

00:33:58 - Birth control and double standards / grade school teachers

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Partial Transcript: Um, now this gets into real private things, and I don't know if you want to talk about it or not.

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about his parents using birth control. He says that it was easy to get condoms and talks about the double standard there was on pregnancy outside of marriage. He talks about the teachers they had in Van Lear.

Keywords: Birth control; Condoms; Double standards; Parents; Pregnancy; Teachers

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Contraception.; Education--Appalachian Region; Rural schools--Kentucky

00:41:58 - Homosexuality in Van Lear / parents' relationship

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Partial Transcript: Well, now, here, I have, um, I don't want to shock you certainly but I have a very good friend who lives in Louisville, she's a woman, she's gay, she's lesbian.

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about the people he knew in Van Lear that were suspected of being homosexual and says that they were treated horribly. He talks about his parents' marriage.

Keywords: Fathers; Gays; Homosexuals; Influenza; Lesbians; Marriage; Mothers; Parents; School; Sexuality

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Families.; Homosexuality--Kentucky--Van Lear; Marriage

00:52:09 - Harris' marriage / race relations in Van Lear

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Partial Transcript: Now in talking about your wife, Carrie, and your marriage, was that a more egalitarian one or did you--do you always feel like there is a male head of the household?

Segment Synopsis: Harris talks about his relationship with his wife. He talks about his opinions on getting into debt. He talks about the relationships between whites, immigrants, and African Americans in the mining camp.

Keywords: African Americans; Auxier (Ky.); Children; Coal companies; Debt; Foreigners; Immigrants; Lower class; Marriage; Social classes; Sons; Upper class; Van Lear (Ky.); Wife

Subjects: Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Van Lear; Race relations--Appalachian Region