Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alicia Bonita Fletcher, April 15, 1994

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Family background--Grandfather and mother

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Partial Transcript: --(laughs)--Okay.

Segment Synopsis: Alicia Fletcher describes her miner grandfather, her mother, and other relatives. She grew up in a family of coal miners. Her husband also works for a coal company, in the lab analyzing coal samples.

Keywords: Coal miners; Divorce; Tuberculosis

Subjects: Coal miners; Families.; Genealogy; Grundy (Va.)

GPS: Grundy (Va.)
Map Coordinates: 37.277, -82.098
00:07:59 - Views on poverty

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Partial Transcript: Uh, when you said that you were--that you grew up extremely poor, what do you attribute that to?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher describes her views on the reasons for poverty in her family and in her town. She thinks that the fact that coal industry did not require education meant that people were not prepared for other jobs after the decline of the industry. She also talks about her siblings.

Keywords: Coal industry and poverty; Education; Education and poverty; Poverty in Virginia; Reasons for poverty

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Education--Appalachian Region; Poverty--Appalachian Region

00:12:39 - Growing up in poverty

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Partial Transcript: So, well, you're, uh, you're an attractive young woman, what was it like dating?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher discusses growing up poor. She describes the difficult times in her youth, including her dating life. She now credits her financial success to her being a Christian.

Keywords: Christianity; Christianity in Appalachia; Dating; Poverty; Social conditions; Women in poverty

Subjects: Childhood; Christianity; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Religion

00:15:34 - Views on boom and bust in the coal industry

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Partial Transcript: How did you, uh--so you're saying tha--what year did the--what, when do you remember the bust arriving?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about people who became rich from the coal industry in Buchanan County, Virginia. She talks about how the fortune made from coal was not properly invested and therefore easily lost with the bust. However, it was the owners and operators of coal mines who became affluent, not the miners. She thinks that their poverty, compared to miners in West Virginia and Kentucky might have to do with the lack of unions.

Keywords: Coal industry bust; Fortune from coal industry; Millionaires in Appalachia; Millionaires in Buchanan County (Va.); Unions and poverty

Subjects: Buchanan County (Va.); Coal miners--Labor unions; Millionaires

00:19:57 - Personal life after high school

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Partial Transcript: What, what happened after high school? What--

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher describes her life after high school, working at different places, and finally establishing her own jewelry business. She talks about her experience doing business, and how she gives credit for her success to her religion.

Keywords: Bluefield (W. Va.); Christianity; Entrepreneurship; Jewelry business

Subjects: Christianity; Jewelry

00:26:43 - Views on poor people / alcoholism and drug abuse in her family

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Partial Transcript: How do you, how do you, uh, how do you comport yourself when you see somebody come in that you know is, you know, is you know they are poor, you know they don't have much money?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher describes her lack of pity for people who are poor. She thinks that there is a personal responsibility for coming out of poverty. She points to her own example and also credits God for her success. She also talks about drinking problems and drug addiction in her family.

Keywords: Alcoholism; Christianity; Drug abuse; Education; God; God's love; Personal responsibility; Personal responsibility of being in poverty; Sympathy for the poor

Subjects: Alcoholism--Appalachian Region; Drug abuse; Drug addiction; Poverty--Appalachian Region; Responsibility

00:31:04 - Views on religion and misfortune

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Partial Transcript: You're, you're a deeply religious person, you attribute your success to God.

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about how she sees the responsibility of misfortune falling on the individual - not on God or Satan. She talks about social beliefs on these issues.

Keywords: Christianity; God; Individual responsibility; Misfortune; Responsibility; Satan

Subjects: Christianity; Religion

00:34:18 - Views on the influence of various churches

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Partial Transcript: I guess what I am saying is, is that--or trying to get at--is how do you feel like--do you feel like the churches here have helped mold the people?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about her understanding of the various churches in the area. She discusses her views on the influence of these churches on people.

Keywords: Church's influence; Fundamentalist churches; Religious experiences; Types of churches in Virginia

Subjects: Church; Presbyterian Church; Religion

00:37:10 - Views on gender relations / views on people of Buchanan County, Virginia

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Partial Transcript: What's it like for--I know you're married, but what's it like for a young woman here in the mountains?

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about chivalry and how it is still alive in her area. She talks about wanting to live in Buchanan County her whole life because she likes the people there.

Keywords: Buchanan County (Va.); Characteristics of people in Buchanan County (Va.); Chivalry; Gender issues; Gender relations; Gender roles

Subjects: Chivalry; Gender issues

00:40:09 - Views on family dependency

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Partial Transcript: So, now that gets us into, uh, family dependencies and, uh, the extended family is still big here.

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about how young people in her town are dependent on their parents for housing. She also talks about lack of housing and minimum wage jobs that contribute to this situation.

Keywords: Dependence on parents; Economic conditions in Buchanan County (Va.); Extended family; Family dependency; Housing in Buchanan County (Va.)

Subjects: Housing; Housing--Appalachian Region

00:42:57 - Personal conversation not relevant to the interview

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Partial Transcript: We're always, we are kidding each other with...

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer Randall Norris tells a story about his friends which is unrelated to the rest of the interview.

Keywords: Automobiles; Cars; Friends; Funny stories; Humor; Lawnmowers; Trades; Transmission; Trucks

00:46:40 - Becoming a Christian / views on having children

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Partial Transcript: Funny stories, sad stories.

Segment Synopsis: Fletcher talks about becoming a Christian, having an unhappy childhood, and her plans not to bear children. She also talks about helping the poor.

Keywords: Charity; Childhood; Christianity; Donation to charity; Inequality; Social services

Subjects: Charity; Childhood; Christianity; Families.; Religion