Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:01 - Personal background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This is Luther Mason being interviewed by Zack Lewton on 1/24/92 for the Kentucky Family Farms Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Luther Mason shares some of his personal background including where he was born and his start into farming. Mason discusses sharecropping and farming as a young boy.

Keywords: Cattle; Children; Crops; Employment; Factories; Harvest; Livestock; Marriage; Sharecropping; Tobacco

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions

00:04:11 - Family's farming background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Ju, ju ,just tell me a little bit about your parents and where, where they live.

Segment Synopsis: Mason shares about his family's farm when he was young. He describes his family, marriage and his children. He discusses his children's education while living on the farm and their careers after graduating college.

Keywords: Ancestors; Ashland Oil; Careers; Children; College; Conservation; High school; Higher education; Majors; Money; Parents; Sharecropping; Siblings; Toyota

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Education; Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:10:07 - Serving on education board / farming profit difficulties

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, as I, uh--but first before I get too far, I need to know what year you were born.

Segment Synopsis: Mason shares a little about his personal background before recalling his time on Scott County's Education Board. He describes the need for small-time farmers to have part time jobs due to low profits from farming.

Keywords: Blacktop; Children; Crops; Double cropping; Education board; Elections; Food; Kentucky climate; Land usage; Local politics; Money; Profits; School board; Weather

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Education

00:15:31 - Resignation from school board / experience on Kentucky State Board of Directors

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What year did you retire from the school board?

Segment Synopsis: Mason describes resigning from the school board to run for Scott County Commissioner. He recalls being on the Kentucky State Board of Directors and the change of education requirements in order to hold positions on school boards.

Keywords: Coal miners; County commission; Eastern Kentucky; Eighth grade; Elected offices; Elections; Guidelines; High school; Politics; Requirements; Resignations; State boards; Votes

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Education; Rural African Americans

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:24:57 - Family background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell, tell me a little bit--lets go back to your parents. If you would, tell me both their names and--

Segment Synopsis: Mason shares more about his parents' backgrounds including where they were born. He tells about his father's experiences as a sharecropper and his mother's role on the farm. He describes the oppression his grandfather faced as a farmer after being freed from slavery.

Keywords: 'Black-owned farms'; Children; Employment; Housewife; Land; Money; Oppression; Profit; Sharecropping; Slavery; Women's role

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions

GPS: Georgetown (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.209722, -84.56
00:30:11 - Employment at a factory / experience sharecropping

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What year did you go to work at the factory?

Segment Synopsis: Mason shares about working part time at a factory while still farming. He explains why he decided to work off the farm and have people sharecropping with him.

Keywords: Chemicals; College; Crops; Factories; Farming equipment; Planting; Pricing; Retirement; Seeds; Sharecropping; Social Security; Tobacco; Weeds

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment

00:37:08 - Grandparents' backgrounds / father's farms

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Where were your parents born at?

Segment Synopsis: Mason describes his grandparents' backgrounds and where they were from. He discusses his father's sharecropping again and how he purchased his own farm.

Keywords: County house farm; Debtors; Grandparents; Land; Poverty; Sharecropping; Slavery; Welfare

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African American parents

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:43:12 - Land practice / Toyota's effect on local property

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Can--just tell me some more about--I'm interested in this, the land prices, how that's gone up. How, how did Toyota affect your life when it came here?

Segment Synopsis: Mason explains changes of land practice in Scott County after the Toyota factory was opened. He discusses increased land costs and changes in city taxing.

Keywords: Acres; Building; Housing; Interviews; Investors; Land practices; Land prices; Laws; Real estate; Scott County Board of Adjustment; Taxes; Toyota factory

Subjects: Property; Rural African Americans; Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.; Zoning law

GPS: Georgetown (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.209722, -84.56
00:51:49 - Changes in land zones / city utilities

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were people real strongly behind--I mean did people want Toyota to come here?

Segment Synopsis: Mason explains how land zones were changed after Toyota was built outside Georgetown. He shares why this has happened, and receiving grants to get city utilities on his farm.

Keywords: City taxes; City water; Gas; Grants; Payroll taxes; Toyota factory; Utilities; Zoning changes

Subjects: Rural African Americans; Toyota Motor Manufacturing U.S.A.; Zoning law

GPS: Georgetown (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.209722, -84.56
00:57:39 - Government farm policies / crop prices

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well maybe you could talk about a little bit about, just before I forget, about uh, what do you think about government policies?

Segment Synopsis: Mason describes effects of government farming policies on small farms. He explains the fluctuation of crop prices and how this affects farmers' profits.

Keywords: Acres; Big farms; Contacts; Crops; Family farms; Farming programs; Government policies; Grains; Hay; Land grants; Little farms; Livestock; Money; Prices; Programs; Shortage; Tobacco

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Agriculture; African Americans--Economic conditions

01:07:35 - Difficulties faced by small farms

Play segment

Partial Transcript: It got to a place that uh, uh talking about little farmers like me. Which a whole lot of this is little farmin'.

Segment Synopsis: Mason shares about common difficulties faced by small farmers. He explains the importance of sharecropping or being employed outside of the farm.

Keywords: Acres; Children; Crops; Employment; Family; Farming equipment; Landlords; Mexican farm hands; Prices; Retirement; Sharecropping; Tobacco; Tractors; Vacations; Workers

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment

01:12:11 - Major changes in farming / farming by 'signs'

Play segment

Partial Transcript: That's some of the things why that farmin' done got to be uh, uh, uh, how I want to put that? A business.

Segment Synopsis: Mason highlights major changes he has seen in farming and its move toward becoming a business. He describes the effects of these changes on small farmers. He shares about 'farming signs' used to ensure the best crop or livestock, and even for the farmers' health.

Keywords: 'Farming signs'; Almanacs; Brains; Calves; Castration; Cattle; Crops; Farming equipment; Farming school; Gardens; Gasoline; Government policies; Heart; Horses; Literacy; Livestock; Plows; Tax breaks; Teeth; Tractors

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Education; African Americans--Health and hygiene