Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Opal Richmond, October 15, 1988

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

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Partial Transcript: Um, Ms. Richmond, tell me your whole name.

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about where she was born, and talks about moving to Van Lear. She talks about the grade school she attended and the teachers she had. She talks about working at the company store and at an air force base.

Keywords: Air force bases; Ancestors; Brothers; Coal mines; Company stores; Great Depression; Parents; Schools; Sisters; Teachers; Van Lear (Ky.)

Subjects: Appalachian Region; Appalachians (People); Families.; Rural schools--Appalachian Region

00:11:54 - Medical care and health issues

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Partial Transcript: Um, there's eleven of you.

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about one of her sisters dying at seven months old and explains that they didn't have the medical care that could have prevented her death. She talks about losing her own child due to her own health issues.

Keywords: Birth control; Healthcare; Hysterectomies; Medical care; Pregnancy

Subjects: Families.; Medicine, Rural; Reproductive health.

00:24:10 - Working in the company store office

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Partial Transcript: Before you, uh, went to work at the company store in 1936, what women had you seen who worked outside the home for wages?

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about her job issuing scrip at the company store. She talks about how people sometimes would try to get money but they had already gotten it and used it on gambling and drinking.

Keywords: Drinking; Gambling; Money; Paychecks; Scrip; Working

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Van Lear; Company stores; Wages--Coal miners

00:33:15 - Race relations in Van Lear

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Partial Transcript: Did you, uh, get to be, uh, did you get to know some of the black women who lived here in, in Van Lear?

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about how black and white people in Van Lear got along and says there wasn't any prejudice. She explains that there was a school for African American children and that they lived separate from the white people.

Keywords: Boarding; Churches; Coal mines; Foremen; Prejudice; Schools

Subjects: African Americans--Appalachian Region; African Americans--Segregation; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Race relations--Appalachian Region

00:41:08 - Richmond's parents

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Partial Transcript: Um, I want to ask different kind of questions now.

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about her parents' worries and how their financial situation was difficult. She talks about how her parents also did some farming, and talks about what she remembers about Christmas. She talks about men and women socializing.

Keywords: Canning; Christmas; Farming; Fathers; Finances; Mothers; Visiting; Worries

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

00:51:00 - Class division and financial hardship

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Partial Transcript: Did you get to know the company officials' families?

Segment Synopsis: Richmond talks about the class divisions in Van Lear. She recalls going to the company store at lunch time because of being embarrassed about not having a lunch when other kids did. She talks about her father being out of work during the strike and how the coal company took care of their employees.

Keywords: Clothes; Coal company; Debt; Great Depression; Houses; Lunch; Money; Officials; Parents; Social classes; Strikes; Union; Working

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Economic conditions; Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Strikes and lockouts--Coal mining