Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Avalon Wilson, February 10, 1992

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

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Partial Transcript: Lot of of horses, the tractors had just begin to come in.

Segment Synopsis: Avalon Wilson discusses his childhood and growing up on the family farm. He describes life on the farm and how they raised their own food.

Keywords: Al Hawkins; Andrew Wilson; Beef; Bourbon Street; Bud Haley McIntyre; Changes; Chickens; Cows; Ducks; Farm produce; Gardens; Geese; Grandfather; Grazing; Great Crossings; Great Depression; Hogs; Horses; Industrialization; Land ownership; Livestock; Mill; Money; Parents; Pork; Profit; Property; Rural community; Scott County (Ky.); Sharecropping; Slaughter; Subsistence farming; Sue Belle McIntyre Wilson; Tobacco; Wagons

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

00:14:46 - Grandfather's farm

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Partial Transcript: So this--the grandfather you're talking about was your mother's father?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses how his grandfather came to own the family farm. He also describes how his grandfather managed the farm.

Keywords: Acres; Black community; Butchering; Carpenters; Carpentry; Chickens; Children; Cooking; Domestic workers; Farm hands; Farming; Grandfather; Lambs; Land ownership; Land plots; Livestock; Mother; Nannie Conn McIntyre; Pin Lumber Company; Profit; Property; Purchase; Shopping center; Stores; Tobacco

Subjects: African American children; African American farmers; African American men; African American parents; African American women; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment

00:30:24 - Relatives / father's occupation / growing up on the farm

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Partial Transcript: What were grandparents' on your father's side names?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses his extended family. He also describes his father's work experience. He shares his memories of his childhood while growing up on the farm.

Keywords: Betty Wilson; Black community; Childhood; Chores; Contracted labor; Corn; Cows; Decorating; Decorator; Errands; Farmer; Farming; Father; Georgetown (Ky.); Grandfather; Grandmother; Grandparents; Hanging paper; Horses; Job; Johnson Funeral Home; Livestock; Management; Milking cows; Paper hangers; Relatives; Sharecropping; Skilled labor; Tobacco; Wheat; Wilson family

Subjects: African American families; African American men; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment

00:45:13 - Personal work experience / memories of his parents

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Partial Transcript: So basically I was working--still working on the farm in the busy times and chauffeuring him when, uh, you know, when he had these trips to take for the government and the tobacco company.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson describes his own work experience, listing the many jobs he held while also being a part-time farmer. He also discusses the memories he has of his parents.

Keywords: Acres; Barns; Bluegrass; Bottom; Cattle; Chauffeuring; Coal; Coal yards; Drug addicts; Drug rehabilitation; Farm; Farming; Father; Fields; Grover farm; Hampton Street L; Harvest; Horse stalls; Horse training; John B. Penn Lumber Company; Land; Land ownership; Lexington (Ky.); Maintenance work; Marriage; Mother; Nursing; Part-time work; Property; Rain; Research; Reseeding; Seeds; The Narcotic Farm; Tobacco; Volunteers; Wife; Withdrawal

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African Americans--Employment

01:01:06 - Living conditions on the farm / education / time as a local musician

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Partial Transcript: Tell me--what else about that house--did it, did you have a well? Or--how did you get water?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson describes the living conditions on the family farm when he was a child, in particular the availability of water and electricity. He also discusses his education. He shares memories of his time as a local musician and the many venues his band performed at.

Keywords: Amenities; Bass guitar; Bass violin; Big bands; Cincinnati Musical Hall; City water; College; Count Basie; Drinking water; Education; Electrical wiring; Electricity; Father; Fats Domino; Football team; Grandfather; James Brown; Kentucky Derby; Kentucky State University; Lexington (Ky.); Lionel Hampton; Mansion; Music groups; Musical performance; Musical style; Musician; Primer; Records; Recreational sports; Rhythm and Blues; School; Spindletop Farm; Sports competitions; Student athletes; Tiny Bradshaw; University of Kentucky; Water; Water supply; Well water

Subjects: African American farmers; African American musicians

01:15:03 - Meeting his wife / decline of family farms

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Partial Transcript: Now, what's her name again?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses meeting his wife and his work on the farm once they were married. He also shares his views on the decline of small family farms.

Keywords: Canning; Cattle; Chores; Clark Equipment; Farmer; Farming; Food preservation; Future; Gardening; Gardens; Georgetown (Ky.); Grandfather; Industrialization; Job opportunities; Jobs; Katie Green; Land; Manual labor; Marriage; Onions; Options; Real estate; Tomatoes; Urbanization; White Sulphur Baptist Church; Wife; Work; Younger people

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

GPS: White Sulphur Baptist Church (Georgetown (Ky.))
Map Coordinates: 38.206516, -84.703493
01:29:22 - Future of farming / government agricultural agencies and programs

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Partial Transcript: You don't see the small farm surviving much longer in Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the changes he has seen in farming tobacco. Specifically he touches upon the difficulties of producing tobacco and selling it to companies. He also describes his experience with government agricultural agencies.

Keywords: Advantages; Advice; Agricultural extension; Auction; Big business; Childhood; Children; Corn and grain subsidy; Difficulties; Employees; Family farms; Farmers; Farming; Government programs; Grading tobacco; Growing up; Hiring; Hogs; Labor; Land; Land ownership; Lifestyle; Livestock; Mixing tobacco; Morals; Part-time work; Price; Purchase; Quality; Sales; Sharecropping; Tobacco; Tobacco companies; Urbanization; Work ethic

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African American parents; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment; Childhood