Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jo Crockett Zingg, November 16, 1990

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Growing up on her grandparents' farm

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Partial Transcript: Why don't you start with your name and your date of birth.

Segment Synopsis: Jo Crockett Zingg talks about her childhood spent on her grandparents' farm in Virginia. She discusses the work her parents and grandparents did, observing farm life, and the freedom she felt. She also talks about her relationship with her family.

Keywords: Cooking; Cows; Fathers; Freedom; Gardens; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Learning; Mechanics; Observing; Playing; Slaughtering hogs

Subjects: Childhood; Families.; Family farms; Farm life--Appalachian Region; Lee County (Va.); Subsistence farming

00:09:10 - Life after her parents' house was built

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Partial Transcript: Did this all change when you moved into your own house?

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about how her life changed when she moved from her grandparents' house into the house her parents built. She talks about going to school, learning to read, and avoiding lice. She talks more about her relationship with her family.

Keywords: Attention; Building; Development; Experimenting; Hair; Houses; Kerosene; Learning; Lice; Money; Reading; Reprimanded; Rural areas; Saturdays; Teachers; Trouble; Word meanings

Subjects: Childhood; Education; Farm life--Appalachian Region; Rural schools--Appalachian Region

00:20:18 - Getting into trouble as a child

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Partial Transcript: But, well then we moved into the big house.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg tells several stories about the trouble she caused during her childhood involving radios and sewing machines.

Keywords: Busy; Colleges; Help; Independence; Kerosene; Naughty; Radios; Sewing machines; Trouble

Subjects: Childhood; Farm life--Appalachian Region

00:26:55 - Adolescence and religion

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Partial Transcript: So we moved to the new house which was not finished, but was comfortable.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about her adolescence mentioning that it was a difficult period of her life. She talks about her interest in reading, speech, and current events. She talks about her family's emphasis on religion and the pressure she felt to join the church and why she resisted.

Keywords: Adolescence; Boys; Conversion; Current events; Grandfathers; Life Magazine; New houses; Pressure; Reading; Religious doctrines; Self-image; Speeches; Television; Union College

Subjects: Church; Families.; Religion

00:38:05 - Teachers

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Partial Transcript: And then there were pressures that were from the outside world that...

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about her high school career, her favorite subjects, and teachers who influenced her life.

Keywords: Colleges; Mildred Ramsey; Ruth Hobbs; Thelma Bush; William Shakespeare; Words

Subjects: Education--Kentucky; Teachers

00:43:51 - Trying to get accepted to college

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Partial Transcript: So tell me the story about how you got yourself into college.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about her efforts to get scholarships and apply to colleges. She discusses whether anyone helped her in the process. She talks about why she chose the school she ultimately attended.

Keywords: College applications; Guidance offices; Sisters; State scholarships

Subjects: Education, Higher; Randolph-Macon Woman's College; Union College (Barbourville, Ky.)

00:47:32 - Money issues during college

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Partial Transcript: But I didn't. So I went to the Methodist school that my sister was, um, going to, and which was really a good school.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about going to Union College and its affiliation with the Methodist Church. She talks about the difficulty her family had making money and paying for college mentioning how she ultimately got the money to finish school.

Keywords: Fathers; Great Depression; In charge; Loans; Methodist churches; Methodist schools; Money; Mothers; Out-migration; Self-motivating; Strangers; Trucking companies

Subjects: College students; Debt; Families.; Union College (Barbourville, Ky.)

00:56:36 - Liberal arts education / living in Knoxville over the summer

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Partial Transcript: So I had, I had a lot of pressures also in terms of trying to maintain a grade average...

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about her liberal arts education and her interest in language. She talks about the summer she and her family lived in Knoxville in order to earn money for the school year. She tells a story about her naivete and learning about racial issues.

Keywords: English literature; Liberal arts educations; Naivete; Racial issues; Real world; Trucks

Subjects: College students; Families.; Knoxville (Tenn.); Race relations

01:01:49 - Interest in theatre, politics, and philosophy

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Partial Transcript: During my first year in school, I decided that, uh, I wanted to do plays.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about how she became interested in performing plays during college. She talks about how this interest led to her joining a philosophy club in which they also discussed political issues. She talks about the instructors at the college and their encouragement of the students.

Keywords: Democrats; Election judges; Husbands; Instruction; Philosophy clubs; Plays; Political groups; Political involvement; Professors; Theatre; War on Poverty; William Shakespeare; Women; Writing

Subjects: College students; Politics and government

01:13:36 - Pre-ministerial students and volunteering / more about theatre

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Partial Transcript: Did you tell me that, that, uh, Union College ended up having sort of a strong group of AVs?

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about Jack Rivel and how his study in the pre-ministerial program led to volunteering painting schools in Appalachia. She talks about how her interest in theatre kept her from participating in these volunteer activities.

Keywords: Appalachian Volunteers (AVs); Collegiate life; Language; Passion; Plays; Pre-ministerial students; Theatre; Volunteering

Subjects: College students; Religion; Rivel, Jack; Union College (Barbourville, Ky.)

01:19:10 - Getting married and having children / racial issues

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Partial Transcript: But then, there were other things going on.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about marrying her husband and why she had two children shortly afterwards. She talks about the difficulty of finishing school with two children. She talks about politics and her father's views on protesting racial issues. She tells a story about an African American family linked to her family and an incident that occurred when she was a child that taught her an important lesson about race.

Keywords: "Aunt Malley"; Birth control; Civil rights issues; Demonstrations; Fathers; Marches; Married; Political; Pregnant; Schools; Status; Theatre; Withholding information

Subjects: Families.; Race relations

01:29:14 - Jobs / differences types of poverty

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Partial Transcript: So what did you all do then when you were a--when you, uh, couldn't accept the, the actor’s theatre...

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about the jobs she and her husband couldn't accept for various reasons and the jobs they ultimately accepted. She talks about her job as a social worker and the conditions she saw. She talks about how poverty differed between families that owned land and those that didn't. She talks about how poverty differed in areas whose economy relied on mining and those that did not.

Keywords: Children; Differences; Eligibility; Guilt; Injuries; Jobs; Landed poor; Literacy; Miners; Pineville (Ky.); Political; Real world; Social workers; System of poverty

Subjects: Poverty--Appalachian Region

01:38:09 - Indignation over poverty conditions

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Partial Transcript: And my husband was getting terribly political.

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about her husband becoming a community center director. She talks about becoming aware of the conditions those in poverty were living in and how it affected her emotionally. She talks about her husband becoming political and an incident concerning a sociological survey conducted by the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Arguments; Community center directors; Governor Flem Sampson; Houses; Husbands; Money; Political; Politics; Poverty conditions; Righteous indignation; University of Kentucky survey; War on Poverty; Welfare offices

Subjects: Poverty--Appalachian Region

01:46:01 - Women in poverty / urban league

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Partial Transcript: There would be--of course, what I had with the women I deal with is AFDC clients right?

Segment Synopsis: Zingg talks about women and families struggling to survive in poverty which she witnessed while working as a social worker. She talks about her efforts to help children get into college. She talks about her husband's involvement with beginning an urban league group in Barbourville, Kentucky and their efforts for civil rights. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: AFDC; Civil rights issues; Colleges; Community center directors; Food; Integration; Opportunities; Political movements; Poor; Survival; Urban league groups

Subjects: Aid to families with dependent children programs--United States; Barbourville (Ky.); Families.; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Race relations--Appalachian Region; Women--Appalachian Region