Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Luther Mason, February 9, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Personal background / changes in way of life

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Partial Transcript: This is Luther Mason being interviewed by Zack Lewton on February 9th, 1992 for the Kentucky Family Farms Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Luther Mason shares about his and his family's background in farming. He discusses his thoughts about differences in past and modern schooling. He explains the use of livestock such as horses to aid in farming when he was a child.

Keywords: Chemicals; Children; Farm ownership; Horses; Livestock; Military service; Mules; Pesticides; Schools; Segregated schools; Sharecropping; Wagons

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African Americans--Education; Segregation--United States

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:08:01 - Changes in farming technology

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Partial Transcript: But, uh, you have to keep up with the change, and the change have come. And, uh, we have to try to make--uh, get more material off an acre of ground than we did in the past.

Segment Synopsis: Mason discusses changes in a variety of farming technologies that he noticed over his many years as a farmer. He describes types of automatic machines that have been used in farming, as well as different pesticides.

Keywords: Chemicals; Chores; Crops; Farmhands; Farming equipment; Herbicides; Insecticides; Livestock; Milking; Minority farmers; Paris Green; Pesticides; Sharecroppers; Small farms; Tinder house; Tobacco; Tractors; Wood stoves

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Agriculture; Technology

00:17:51 - Philosophies passed down from his father

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Partial Transcript: Just try to, ju, ju, just try to relax, remember--like do you remember anything your father said to you about when he was growing up, what it was like?

Segment Synopsis: Mason reflects on life lessons his father taught him as a child.

Keywords: Church; Folklore; Moral lessons; Parenting; Savings; Values; Wives' tales

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

00:21:26 - Church life / mother's duties on farm

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Partial Transcript: Well did your family go to church when you were little?

Segment Synopsis: Mason discusses community and rural churches in his area. He describes the differences between modern and past churches. He recalls his mother's role on the farm and how she helped run the household.

Keywords: Baptist; Canning; Children; Chores; Church leadership; Church officers; Community; Cooking; Crops; Gardens; Gender roles; Modern changes; Mothers; Outdoor bathrooms; Rural churches; Schools; Vegetables; Women's role; Wood stoves

Subjects: African American Christians; African American churches; African American families; African Americans--Social life and customs

GPS: Georgetown (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.209722, -84.56
00:31:20 - Healthcare as a child / farming co-ops

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Partial Transcript: What did you do about a doctor back when you were little?

Segment Synopsis: Mason explains the way people in rural communities received medical care from doctors who made house calls. He describes childbirth during this time period and how women helped each other until the doctor could arrive to their home. Mason shares his experiences with Southern States farming cooperative in Scott County, Kentucky.

Keywords: 'Co-ops'; Community; Cooperatives; Discounts; Employees; Farm hands; Farmers; Feed mills; Hospitals; House calls; Labor; Midwives; Pregnancy; Rural doctors; Southern States; Women

Subjects: African Americans--Agriculture; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Health and hygiene

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:42:04 - Caring for livestock

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Partial Transcript: We, ha--uh, back in, uh, the old, early days they had a veterinary that come to the farm. And which they do some now.

Segment Synopsis: Mason recalls changes he has noticed in veterinary medicine and farmers' care for livestock. He describes the advancement of veterinary technology such as vaccinations, and Cesarean sections for cattle.

Keywords: Animal health; Animal vaccinations; Birth; Breeds; C-sections; Calf; Cattle; Cesarean sections; Farmers; Illness; Livestock; Technology; Veterinary

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Agriculture; Veterinary medicine

00:47:45 - Paying bills / loss of country stores

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Partial Transcript: Was it hard to pay for, like, a veterinarian to come out? How did--how was that handled?

Segment Synopsis: Mason describes how small farmers would pay for bills with credit and large payments year round when harvests were sold. He discusses the loss of small country stores that were replaced with larger chain grocery stores.

Keywords: A and P; Bills; Community stores; Credit; Farming; Food; Goods; Groceries; Insurance; Kroger; Money; Needs; Savings; Selling; Supplies; Tabs; Trade

Subjects: African Americans--Agriculture; Rural African Americans

GPS: Scott County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.3, -84.58
00:53:52 - Changes in community / family outings

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Partial Transcript: Well do you have anything to say about that? Just about the decline of the community.

Segment Synopsis: Mason highlights further changes that are occurring in his community and his thoughts about these changes. He concludes by describing his

Saturday outings with family.

Keywords: Basket meetings; Church; Communication; Communities; Family; Fellowship; Friendship; Technology; Trips

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Social conditions