Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Frank R. Cannon, Jr., April 7, 1997

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Childhood and family life

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Partial Transcript: --let's see.

Segment Synopsis: Frank Cannon, Jr. describes his childhood and family life in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He talks about his parents' education at Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University). He talks about growing up on a farm, his brother and sister, and his father's work as a teacher.

Keywords: "Farm boy"; 1960; Army; Breckinridge County (Ky.); Brothers; Fathers; Home; Jessamine County (Ky.); Kentucky State University; Land; Lexington (Ky.); Master's degrees; Mothers; Nicholasville (Ky.); Parents; Siblings; Sisters; University of Kentucky

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Teachers; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

00:03:21 - Racial climate in Lexington and Nicholasville, Kentucky during his childhood

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Partial Transcript: Um, how would you describe the racial climate of Lexington when you were growing up as a child?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon compares the racial climate in Lexington and Nicholasville, discussing racial tensions and how he was very aware of segregation and inequality.

Keywords: Awareness; Buses; Fathers; Inequality; Racial climate; Racial tensions; School principals; Schools; Segregated; Separate; Unequal; Work

Subjects: African American families; African American teachers.; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Discrimination in education.; Lexington (Ky.); Nicholasville (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Teachers; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

00:05:17 - High school

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Partial Transcript: Um, what were your high school days like?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about his high school experience. He says that there was only one high school in town and students from the surrounding areas all went there together. He was valedictorian in a graduating class of six students. He talks about how he was not adequately prepared for college due to the lack of proper courses and materials provided at his segregated school.

Keywords: Adequately prepared; City; Class size; Classes; Closeness; Coaches; County; Disadvantaged; Disadvantages; Distance; Dropping out; English; Fathers; Grade point average (GPA); Grades; Graduation; High schools; Home economics; Labs; Lacking; Mathematics; Pregnancy; Preparation; Quality; Small schools; Subjects; University of Kentucky; Valedictorians

Subjects: African American families; African American teachers.; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Discrimination in education.; Nicholasville (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Teachers; Teachers--Kentucky; Teaching

00:10:50 - Decision to attend University of Kentucky and initial expectations

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Partial Transcript: Uh, why did you choose to go to UK?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about how his decision to attend UK was mostly financial, since it would be more expensive to go away to college at Kentucky State. He talks about his expectations of the classes, students, and faculty at UK prior to his arrival.

Keywords: Advice; Classes; Counselors; Decisions; Expectations; Fathers; Finances; Jobs; Kentucky State University; Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC); Room & board; Schedules; Siblings; Tuition; Work

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College choice; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Economic conditions; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race relations--Kentucky; United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:14:46 - Racial incidents at UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, when you were first enrolled at UK, what kind of grades did you make that first semester?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon describes his experiences with discrimination in his classes at UK. He says his papers were graded more harshly than the white students and that he was refused help when he asked for assistance in class. He says he did not have any racial incidents with other students.

Keywords: Algebra; Assistance; Chemistry; College majors; Contact; Effort; Electrical engineers; English; Explanations; Grade point average (GPA); Grades; Grading; Help; Home; Instructors; Marks; Mathematics; Mississippi; Off campus; Papers; Policies; Policy; Preparation; Prepared; Professors; Racial incidents; Refused; Spanish; Teachers

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:19:01 - Social life at UK

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Partial Transcript: And, um, what about--so did you have any social life at all while you were on campus?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about how the African American students congregated in the Student Center between classes. He compares his experience to what he believes he would have experienced at an all-black school like Kentucky State.

Keywords: All-black colleges; Card games; Concerts; Congregating; Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Kentucky State University; Playing cards; Programs; Reactions; Siblings; Sports; Student Center; Student Union; Transfers; Uncomfortable; White students

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Integration; Race relations--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:21:34 - Experiences as one of the first African American students at UK

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Partial Transcript: Okay, um, so y, so you really are part of history.

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about being one of the first African American students at UK. He talks about whether the racial climate changed during his two years at the school. He talks about whether his fellow classmates had a better or worse experience than he did.

Keywords: Better; Brothers; Changes; Classmates; Experiences; First class; Individuals; Lexington (Ky.); Off campus; Personalities; Personality; Pioneers; Preparation; Prepared; Status; Veterans; Worse

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:24:46 - Leaving UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, um, do you mind my asking why did you leave UK?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about why he left UK after two years due to academic probation. He discusses some of the factors that may have led to his academic probation, including discrimination by the faculty. He talks about how he later earned his associate's degree while in the army.

Keywords: Academic probation; Army; Associates degrees; Attitudes; Cameron (Okla.); Chemistry; Computer science; Courses; Dropping out; Engineering; Experiences; Grading; High schools; Instructors; Leaving; Mathematics; Preparation; Prepared; Professors; Subjective; Teachers

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; United States. Army--Military life; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:29:03 - Racial climate in Lexington around the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Um, let's see. At the time, um, that you left UK, uh, can you remember what the racial climate was like in Lexington?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon describes the racial climate in the 1960s in Lexington and says that it became worse during this era than it had been in the 1950s.

Keywords: 1954; Establishments; Fights; Protests; Racial climate; Restaurants; Schools; Tensions; Worse

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Integration; Lexington (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:30:19 - UK today

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Partial Transcript: Um, would you recommend, uh, to an African American--another African American student now to attend UK?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon discusses whether he would recommend African American students attend UK today. He says his father earned his master's degree from UK in 1956.

Keywords: 1956; Bad image; Fathers; Kentucky State University; Master's degrees; Problems; Quality; Recommendations

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; University of Kentucky

00:32:41 - UK as a learning experience

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Partial Transcript: Well, uh, is there anything that you would like to say Mr. Cannon?

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks about how attending UK was a learning experience for him, coming from a school with a graduating class of six students. He talks about how the social environment at UK differed from all-black colleges.

Keywords: Academics; All-black colleges; Children; Class size; Different; High schools; Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Learning experiences; Personal attention; Social environment; Wife

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Integration; Race relations--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:35:09 - Racial climate in schools then and now

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, my wife said tell you about marred up books in high school.

Segment Synopsis: Cannon talks more about the inequality between white and black schools during segregation. He talks about the job prospects for African Americans when he was in high school. He discusses how the racial climate has changed since his childhood and how he encouraged his children to attend any college they wanted. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Army; Asbury University; Attitudes; Books; Changes; Children; Christians; Eastern Kentucky University; Farming; Fathers; High schools; Jobs; Kentucky State University; Lawyers; Medical schools; Nicholasville (Ky.); Off campus; Outdated; Quality; Racial climate; Racial problems; Racial tensions; School principals; Secondhand; St. Francis School; Teachers; Teaching

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Discrimination in education.; Integration; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Segregation in education--Kentucky; University of Kentucky