Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with R.A. Edwards, Henry H. White, March 17, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Personal background / working on a cotton farm

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Partial Transcript: Okay. This is a, uh, Kentucky Farm Family Oral History Program interview being conducted on March 17th, uh, 1992 with Mr. Henr, Henry White and Mr. R. A. Edwards.

Segment Synopsis: R. A. Edwards and Henry White describe their early life and growing up in Hickman, Kentucky. They also describe the cotton plantations in the area, specifically the large group of African American sharecroppers.

Keywords: Acres; Cotton; Cotton farmers; Cotton pickers; Cotton picking; Cotton plantations; Farming; Farming practices; Fulton (Ky.); Helen Tyler; Herbicides; Hickman (Ky.); Housing projects; Lower Bottoms; Military service; Military veterans; Mules; Neighborhoods; Plowing; Post offices; Retirees; Rural communities; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping; Tractors

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Employment; Cotton farmers; Cotton growing; Rural communities

GPS: Hickman (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.567222, -89.186389
00:14:09 - Changes in the local community

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Partial Transcript: How many houses was between Sassafras Ridge and Miller?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White describe the changes that have happened in Hickman, Kentucky. They discuss how most of the Black community has left because of the decline in sharecropping.

Keywords: Absentee landlords; African American workers; Cotton chopping; Cotton pickers; Discrimination; Farming; H. B. Walker; Houses; Housing; Industrialization; Labor; Lower Bottoms; Machinery; Mexican American workers; Ms. Thomas; Prejudice; Rural communities; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping; Tractor drivers; Tractors

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Employment; African Americans--Relations with Mexican Americans; Cotton farmers; Mexican Americans--Employment; Race relations--Kentucky; Rural communities

00:31:21 - Race relations in Hickman

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Partial Transcript: Did he serve the, the Black people?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White discuss race relations in Hickman, Kentucky. They describe the prejudice and violence some of the Black sharecroppers experienced.

Keywords: Discrimination; Education; Friends; Friendship; Prejudice; Racism; Riverview school; School integration; Segregation; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; African Americans--Education; Education, Primary--Kentucky; Education, Secondary--Kentucky; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism--Untied States; Segregation--United States

GPS: Hickman (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.567222, -89.186389
00:45:50 - Living conditions of Black sharecroppers

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Partial Transcript: Now it was hard to get, for a pregnancy, to come to the doctor. There was a, a Black woman down there and she was just as good as she could be.

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White discuss the living conditions they observed of the Black sharecroppers in the area. Specifically, they share information about the health and medical care provided to the sharecroppers. They also talk about the race relations in town and prejudice held by some of the local population.

Keywords: Babies; Black community; Black women; County health nurses; Death; Dr. White; Fannie Booker; Health; Hickman (Ky.); Living conditions; Medical care; Midwives; Ms. Fischer; Pregnancy; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping; W. C. Nicholson

Subjects: African American children; African American midwives; African American mothers; African American women; African Americans--Employment; African Americans--Health and hygiene; African Americans--Mortality; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social life and customs; Midwifery; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation--Kentucky

00:58:00 - Black community's social events / local farming community

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Partial Transcript: Now here, August the eighth, is a great day for the Black community. And--but now within the last two or three years it's not as big here as it used to be.

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White describe the social events that catered towards African Americans. They also discuss the changes they have seen in the farming community over the years.

Keywords: Absentee landlords; Black community; Black farmers; Black history; Community leaders; Cotton chopping; Cotton crops; Education; Farming; Farmland; Finances; Greed; Helen Tyler; Hickman (Ky.); Inheritance; James Robinson; Land ownership; Landowners; Living conditions; Lower Bottoms; Murder; Museum; Renting land; School year; Schools; Sharecropping; Shooting; Trudy Mayberry; Violence; Wealth; Wealthy people

Subjects: African American farmers; African American history; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Employment; African Americans--Social life and customs; Cotton farmers

01:16:14 - Differences between urban and rural African Americans / Changes in farming

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Partial Transcript: Was there a difference in the number of Black children who would go to school, than--uh, rural Black children, farm, farm Black kids compared to the city Black kids?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White discuss some of the differences they perceived in the Black community. They describe in particular the educational differences between Black kids that lived in town and those that lived in the rural area.

Keywords: Black community; Black women; Changing; Children; Crappie fish; Custodians; Domestic workers; Downtown; Education; Employment; Farmers; Farming; Fear; Fishing; Hangings; Hickman (Ky.); Housekeepers; Kids; Leaving; Local economy; Moving; Night Riders; Prejudice; Racism; Relocation; Rural communities; Schools; Teachers; Teaching; Town; Violence; Whiskey; Wilford Lake

Subjects: African American consumers; African American educators; African Americans--Economic conditions; African Americans--Education; African Americans--Employment; Racism--Untied States; Rural African Americans; Urban African Americans

01:31:04 - Friendship and recreation / payment of the sharecroppers

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Partial Transcript: I'm gonna turn over the tape real quick, it's about to run out.

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White discuss their friendship over the years. They also describe how Black sharecroppers were treated on local cotton plantations, especially in regards to housing and payment.

Keywords: Acres; Chickens; Clothing; Cotton; Cows; Eating; Fish; Fishing; Food; Friends; Friendship; Gardens; Grandchildren; Helen Tyler; Hogs; Housing; Lower Bottoms; Memphis (Tenn.); Milk; Mosquitoes; Payment; Recreation; Restaurants; Sharecroppers; Slaughter; Smoking meat; Tin roofs

Subjects: African American farmers; African Americans--Employment; African Americans--Housing; Cotton farmers; Farming; Food; Interracial friendship; Race relations--Kentucky; Recreation; Sharecropping

01:45:27 - Family

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Partial Transcript: Your family didn't own land, they just rented it?

Segment Synopsis: Edwards and White discuss how their families came to live in Hickman, Kentucky.

Keywords: Cotton; Family; Farmers; Farming; Farmland; Fathers; Landowners; Lower Bottoms; Moving; Mud; Relocation; Renting land; Roads; Rural communities; Transportation; Wagons

Subjects: African American families; African American farmers; Rural communities

GPS: Hickman (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.567222, -89.186389