Interview with Lucius Ross, November 23, 1997

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Childhood and family life

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Partial Transcript: --uh huh. Lois and them are supposed to be coming.

Segment Synopsis: Lucius Ross is introduced. He describes his childhood in Lexington, Kentucky. He says that his father passed away before he was born and he was raised by his mother alone until she remarried when he was ten.

Keywords: Community; Death; Family; Fathers; Modest; Names; Parents; Remarried; Siblings; Socioeconomic background

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood

00:02:38 - Racial climate in Lexington, Kentucky during his childhood

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Partial Transcript: Um, can you remember what the racial climate of Lexington was like when you were growing up as a child?

Segment Synopsis: Ross describes the racial climate in Lexington during his childhood, saying that the races were separated but there was not much hostility. He talks about living in the Pralltown neighborhood across from the University of Kentucky. He talks about not being allowed to attend the white school which was much closer than the black school, which they could only access by crossing the railroad tracks. He talks about selling snakes to a professor at UK, and about attending UK football games as a child.

Keywords: Black schools; Bleachers; Busing; Carver Elementary School; Dr. Funkhouser; Football games; Grass; Hostility; Instructors; Police; Pralltown; Prejudice; Professors; Racial climate; Railroad tracks; Segregated; Separated; Snakes; Train tracks; White schools

Subjects: African American neighborhoods; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Discrimination in education.; Lexington (Ky.); Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:07:23 - High school

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Partial Transcript: Okay, so, uh, where, where did you go to high school?

Segment Synopsis: Ross describes his high school experience. He talks about his grades, his lack of participation in extracurricular activities, and says that his high school education prepared him for college.

Keywords: Academics; Dunbar High School; Extracurricular activities; Extracurriculars; Grade point average (GPA); Grades; Graduation; High schools; Jobs; Preparation; Prepared; Segregated; Separation; Work

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; Discrimination in education.; Employment--Kentucky; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky

00:09:42 - Decision to attend the University of Kentucky and initial expectations

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Partial Transcript: Um, why did you choose to attend UK?

Segment Synopsis: Ross talks about his decision to attend UK for financial reasons and because his family lived across the street in Pralltown. He talks about his expectations prior to attending UK.

Keywords: Advice; Choice; Close; Decisions; Expectations; Family; Fears; Finances; First class; Locations; Money; Mothers; Support

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; University of Kentucky

00:11:16 - Faculty and student attitudes about UK's integration

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Partial Transcript: Uh, c--uh, what was your major?

Segment Synopsis: Ross talks about his grades at UK. He says that he did not experience any racial incidents, even when a professor said to the class that black people were the first race on earth. He talks about a shocking moment when another professor claimed that "Shakespeare was a better man than Jesus Christ."

Keywords: Attitudes; College majors; English; Grade point average (GPA); Grades; Instructors; Jesus Christ; Policies; Policy; Preparation; Prepared; Professors; Racial incidents; Reactions; Religion; Religious background; Segregated; Shocking; Stacey; Stacy; Treatment; William Shakespeare; Zoology

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Segregation; 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

00:15:35 - Social activities at UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, uh, what, um, were your housing arrangements like when you--were you still living at home?

Segment Synopsis: Ross says that he did not participate in many social activities at UK due to working while in school. He says he attended a few football games and operas. He says he had a typical college student experience.

Keywords: African American students; Concerts; Football games; Home; Housing; Jobs; Operas; Participation; Programs; Social activities; Typical; Welcome; Work; Working

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--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; College students--Social networks; Employment--Kentucky; Integration; Race relations--Kentucky; University of Kentucky

00:18:23 - Experiences as one of the first African American students at UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, so the reason why--you know the reason why that I'm doing this is because we're, we're trying to write a history--an oral history of the first African Americans who attended UK.

Segment Synopsis: Ross says that he does not often think about his status as one of the first African American students at UK. He again says that he did not experience any racial incidents and that his experience was typical.

Keywords: Alone; Awareness; Better; Classmates; First class; History; Pioneers; Racial incidents; Reactions; Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC); Status; Typical; Worse

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. Reserve Officers' Training Corps; University of Kentucky

00:20:54 - Leaving UK

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, you did not graduate from UK, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Ross says he left UK for financial reasons. He felt like a burden upon his mother and siblings so he left to live on his own.

Keywords: Dropping out; Family; Finances; Home; Leaving; Manhood; Maturity; Money; Mothers; Resources; Siblings

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Economic conditions; College students--Social conditions; University of Kentucky

00:22:23 - Career

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Partial Transcript: Um, do you mind, uh, my asking you what you did--what you do professionally or what you did professionally?

Segment Synopsis: Ross says that his career is too long and varied to explain and says that he lived all over the United States and in other countries. He retired from the U.S. Post Office.

Keywords: Careers; College majors; Columbus Community College; Jobs; Overqualified; Professions; Retired; Retirement; United States Post Office; Work

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Employment--Kentucky

00:24:36 - UK today

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Partial Transcript: Um, if--would you recom--this is, uh, the last question.

Segment Synopsis: Ross talks about why he would recommend UK to African American students today.

Keywords: Master's degrees; Masters degrees; Recommendations; Recommending; Sisters; Top schools

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

00:26:00 - Fellow classmates

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Partial Transcript: So, uh, do you know of any of your other classmates, uh, that--do you keep in touch with anyone else who went to school with you at UK back in '54?

Segment Synopsis: Ross recalls some of his fellow African American students at UK.

Keywords: Classmates; Contact; Doris Wilkerson; Doris Wilkinson; Frank Cannon, Jr.; Frank R. Cannon, Jr.; Instructors; Maureen B. Strider Abel; Maureen Strider; Nicholasville (Ky.); Professors

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 relations--Kentucky; Universities and colleges--Faculty.; University of Kentucky

00:28:50 - More on career and marriage

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Partial Transcript: Uh, is there anything else that you would like to say or that you would like to, um, you know, contribute...

Segment Synopsis: Ross briefly mentions his military service, his marriage to his wife, and his daughter who graduated from Ohio State University. The interview concludes abruptly.

Keywords: Africa; Air Force; Azores; Careers; College majors; Daughters; Finance; Marriage; Married; Ohio State University; Spanish; Wife

Subjects: African American college students.; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Employment--Kentucky; United States. Army--Military life