Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mrs. Sidney Bell Johnson, March 5, 1998

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Moving to Charlotte Court in 1941

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Partial Transcript: --March fifth--

Segment Synopsis: Sidney Johnson talks about where she and her husband lived before moving to Charlotte Court in 1941. She describes applying for an apartment and moving in before Labor Day. She talks about her children's reactions to their new home and describes drying clothes on lines in the yard.

Keywords: Apartments; Bathtubs; Charlotte Court; Children; Clotheslines; Crowds; Housing projects; Income; Labor Day; Moving; Mr. Faris; Pralltown; Rent; Washing clothes

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.

GPS: Approximate former location of Charlotte Court
Map Coordinates: 38.068381, -84.500941
00:10:14 - Changes to Charlotte Court

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Partial Transcript: And it was a beautiful place, Charlotte Court.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about how Charlotte Court has changed over the years, saying that it has become more dangerous since she moved away.

Keywords: Apartments; Changes; Drugs; Staying

Subjects: African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Neighbors

GPS: Approximate former location of Charlotte Court
Map Coordinates: 38.068381, -84.500941
00:12:39 - Family dynamics

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Partial Transcript: But they had three bedrooms upstairs. And bath upstairs.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about her family and her role in the household. She talks about why her family did not have money to pay the rent and had to leave Charlotte Court. She talks about the sports her children played in school.

Keywords: Alcoholism; Athletes; Children; Household dynamics; Jobs; Money; Moving; Rent; Schools; Working

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Housing.

GPS: Approximate former location of Charlotte Court
Map Coordinates: 38.068381, -84.500941
00:18:04 - Working for the Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity

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Partial Transcript: I started working for a fraternity.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about working as a cook for the Alpha Chi Omega fraternity and how she was treated by the house mother and members of the fraternity, who let her sons borrow their tuxedos to attend prom.

Keywords: Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity; Children; Cooking; Housemothers; Prom; Sports; Treatment; Tuxedos; Working conditions

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Lexington (Ky.)--Race relations.

00:22:03 - More on changes to Charlotte Court

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Partial Transcript: And, um, on down, then I had--then the third son, he was very quiet. That was Dickey.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks more about the changes that have occurred on Charlotte Court since she moved away. She talks about the deterioration of relationships between neighbors and the increased danger.

Keywords: Booker T. Washington School; Changes; Charlotte Court; Children; Crowded; Discipline; Douglass Park; Fear; Friends; Great grandchildren; Locking doors; Sons

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Neighborliness

GPS: Approximate former location of Charlotte Court
Map Coordinates: 38.068381, -84.500941
00:26:28 - Relationships between neighborhoods

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Partial Transcript: Now did your chil--did your children play mainly with other children who lived in, in Charlotte Court?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about the dynamics between residents of various streets in the area who would fight with one another, but would also become allies when confronting outsiders. She talks about how the various groups eventually came together.

Keywords: Baseball; California; Charlotte Court; Children; Douglass Avenue; Douglass School (Lexington, Ky.); Dunbar School; East End Lexington; Fights; Florida; Friends; Outsiders; Prices Road; Relationships; Reunions; Schools

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Social conditions.

GPS: Approximate former location of Charlotte Court
Map Coordinates: 38.068381, -84.500941
00:32:59 - Dance halls / family in Detroit, Michigan

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember, um, I may not have the name right.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson describes the dance halls in the area around Charlotte Court. She talks about some of her family members who moved to Detroit and talks about the relationships between family members.

Keywords: Barr Street; Brothers; Children; Dance halls; Fathers; Georgetown Street; Ladies Hall; Palm Garden; Relationships; Sisters

Subjects: African American families; African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Genealogy.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Detroit (Mich.); Family histories.; Family--history; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.

GPS: Barr Street (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.046175, -84.494192
00:39:33 - Main Street flood

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Partial Transcript: Um, d--do you remember when Main Street flooded?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about a flood that occurred on Main Street in Lexington in the late 1920s, and describes driving down the street during the flood.

Keywords: Cars; Driving; Improvements; Main Street; Ohio Street; Storm sewers

Subjects: Floods--Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.)--Buildings, structures, etc.

GPS: East Main Street (Lexington, Ky.)


Map Coordinates: 38.040360, -84.490225
00:43:34 - Snow storm

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Partial Transcript: Now this year was about the worst that I've seen of snow.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson describes a snow storm that occurred in Lexington.

Keywords: Snowstorms; Street cleaning

Subjects: Snow.; Weather

00:49:06 - Visiting family and surprise parties

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Partial Transcript: Honey, you want something to drink? Pop or something?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about family reunions and tells stories about several surprise parties thrown by her family, including one for her 65th birthday.

Keywords: Baking cakes; Birthdays; Children; Deaths; Family reunions; Relationships; Surprises; Visiting home

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Genealogy.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; Family histories.; Family--history

01:04:11 - Pastors

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Partial Transcript: --right then, behave yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about her pastor's children, and talks about various ministers that have served at her church over the years.

Keywords: Behavior; Children; Discipline; Ministers; Pastors; Preachers

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; African American families; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions.

01:08:49 - University of Kentucky basketball

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Partial Transcript: But you know, it's been so nice meeting you.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson talks about the UK basketball team at the time of the interview. She talks about coach Tubby Smith and some of the players on the team, and discusses games they have lost and won. She talks about her son's attitude while playing basketball. The interview ends abruptly.

Keywords: Basketball games; Basketball players; Basketball tickets; Church; Friends; Selfish; Sons; Tubby Smith; University of Louisville basketball

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social life and customs.; College sports.; Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball team); University of Kentucky