Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lowell Phillips, December 8, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:11 - Introduction / family

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Partial Transcript: --Phillips, tell me your whole name.

Segment Synopsis: Lowell Phillips is introduced. He discusses his family, including his parents, grandparents, and siblings. He talks about whether his parents or grandparents used birth control. He talks about moving to a coal camp as a child.

Keywords: Ancestors; Birth control; Brothers; Cancer; Civil War veterans; Coal camps; Family history; Farmers; Farming; Fathers; Jobs; Mothers; Parents; Preachers; Relatives; Siblings; Sisters; Tax commissioners; Union soldiers

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Van Lear; Families.; Van Lear (Ky.)

00:05:22 - Accidents in the coal mine / farming

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Partial Transcript: I can remember, as a very young child--um--men getting killed in the coal mine.

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about the lack of safety in the coal mines and how often accidents occurred. He talks about his father's occupations, including working for the mining company and being a farmer.

Keywords: Clout; Construction; Death; Explosions; Farming; Fatalities; Fathers; Fear; Frightening; Gardens; Hurt; Injuries; Jobs; Killed; Labor; Land; Machinery; Motors; Parents; Property; Slate; Wages; Working

Subjects: Coal mine accidents; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Van Lear; Families.; Mine safety; Van Lear (Ky.)

00:10:05 - Socializing with miners and management

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Partial Transcript: Um--you said your dad had maybe a little bit more clout, being head of construction than--

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about his relationships with both the working class people and the management within the coal companies and the coal camps. He gives a description of the town in 1949.

Keywords: Clout; Coal camps; Consolidation Coal Company; Economic status; Evanston (Ky.); Fountains; Friends; Houses; Island Creek Coal Company; Management; Miners' children; Poor; Rich; Snobby; Social classes; Social status; Socializing; Towns; Working class; Working people

Subjects: Coal miners--Kentucky--Van Lear; Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky--Van Lear; Families.; Van Lear (Ky.)

00:18:06 - African Americans

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Partial Transcript: Now, when you were there do you remember--um--black people living in Van Lear?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about the African American families that lived in the coal camp. He names several families specifically and recalls a story about two men who got into a fight due to one of the men having an affair with the other man's wife.

Keywords: Affairs; Conflicts; Cuts; Fights; Hard-working; Husbands; Injuries; Janitors; Movies; Picture shows; Prejudices; Theaters; Wives

Subjects: African American coal miners; African Americans--Appalachian Region; Families.

00:23:07 - Class differences

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Partial Transcript: But--um--did you get to know--when you would see Mrs. Singleton or other black women, did you feel like you could talk to them on the streets or did you feel like that was inappropriate?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips talks about the interactions between the social classes in the coal camp and how people felt about class differences.

Keywords: Coal camps; Dating; Economic differences; Economic status; Houses; Management; Managers; Mining towns; Plumbing; Snobby; Social classes; Softball; Women

Subjects: Coal miners' spouses; Social classes--Kentucky--Van Lear

00:28:33 - Mother / head of household

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Partial Transcript: Did--um--your mother keep busy, or was she ever bored, do you feel like?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips describes the activities his mother was involved in. He discusses whether his parents or grandparents used birth control and when he learned about condoms. He talks about who was the head of the household when he was a child and talks about the work each family member did.

Keywords: Baptists; Birth control; Boredom; Condoms; Division of labor; Duties; Fathers; Grandparents; Hobbies; Marriage; Methodists; Mothers; PTA; Parent-Teacher Association; Parents; Recreation buildings; Responsibilities; Weaving; Working

Subjects: Churches--Kentucky; Families.; Van Lear (Ky.)

00:32:47 - Wife

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Partial Transcript: How do you, yourself, feel about marriage? Do you think there should be a head of the household and that that head should be the--the man?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips discusses his marriage and who is the head of the house. He talks about how his wife suffers from Alzheimer's disease, how long he has been taking care of her, and how he feels about being her caregiver.

Keywords: Arguments; Assistance; Caregivers; Conflicts; Decisions; Decorating; Head of household; Housekeeping; Husbands; Incontinence; Married; Master's degrees; Memory; Partnerships; Teachers; Teaching; Wedding vows; Wives

Subjects: Alzheimer's disease; Marriage

00:38:18 - Religion / sowing his wild oats

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Partial Transcript: Was it important to your mom and dad that you be saved?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips discusses his parents' views on religion and when they were baptised. He talks about sowing his wild oats when he was a young man and how his behavior changed when he got married.

Keywords: Alcohol; Automobiles; Baptising; Baptism; Cars; Faith; Fathers; Honesty; Immorality; Liquor; Married; Misconduct; Mothers; Parents; Philosophy; Reputations; Respect; Sex; Sunday School

Subjects: Prohibition; Religion

00:43:20 - Roadhouses

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Partial Transcript: I'll never forget--um--this is just a little experience I done.

Segment Synopsis: Phillips describes roadhouses or ginny barns. He talks about the types of people that would go there.

Keywords: Dates; Double standards; Ginny barns; Night clubs; Respectable; Roadhouses; Women

Subjects: Social classes--Kentucky--Van Lear

00:50:24 - Homosexuality

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Partial Transcript: Well, I have one more--um--question of this kind, that I want to ask, and that is, in all your years of growing up there in Van Lear and--and working and living there, did you ever meet any--any men who were gay, or any women who were lesbians?

Segment Synopsis: Phillips discusses whether he knew any people in the Van Lear area who were gay or lesbian and what happened to people within the coal company if they were discovered to be homosexuals. He talks more about African Americans. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: ACLU; African Americans; American Civil Liberties Union; Arrested; Constitution; Fired; Gays; Hanging; Homosexuals; Jails; Lesbians; Lynching; Prejudices; Supervisors

Subjects: Homosexuality--Kentucky--Van Lear