Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joseph Early, September 13th, 2012

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: So, um, we, um, at UK, we've had an oral history program since 1973. Um, and, uh, which is what I direct now.

Segment Synopsis: An introduction to the oral history is given. Early introduces himself, and describes his family, career, and education. He talks about how his engineering experiences influenced his teaching career. Early speaks about Miller's role as a school administrator.

Keywords: Career; Education; Experience

Subjects: Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Ky.); School management and organization.; Teachers--Kentucky.

00:10:01 - Early as a student when Miller was principal

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Partial Transcript: So let's rewind back to the beginning. And, and talk about, you know, you're in second grade and you see this, this educator, you know, in the hallway.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about elementary school and Miller serving as a mentor for Early's mother. He talks about Miller's athletic skill and describes how Miller handled fighting at school. Early describes an incident where Miller sat in a chair Early had just painted and another incident where Early left a mud ball on Miller's desk.

Keywords: Disciplinarians; Mentors; Mothers; Williamsburg High School

Subjects: High school principals; Teachers--Kentucky.

00:18:21 - Miller as a disciplinarian / desegregation in Williamsburg

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Partial Transcript: The other thing about how he did things was that he couldn't stand you not to have something to do.

Segment Synopsis: Early describes how Miller conducted detention, where students had to sweep or march. He talks about his mother's involvement in the desegregation of schools. Early discusses Miller's role in the desegregation, and how black and white students got along.

Keywords: Detention hall; Discipline; Racial desegregation

Subjects: High school principals; School discipline.; School integration--Kentucky.

GPS: Williamsburg, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 36.736667, -84.164722
00:23:52 - Miller's family / consolidation of Williamsburg schools

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Partial Transcript: Had a lot of, uh, activities with the Miller family because they were members of Main Street Baptist Church, where we all grew up and went to church.

Segment Synopsis: Early speaks about Miller's mother. He talks about the food in the school cafeteria and the proposed consolidation of Williamsburg schools.

Keywords: Church; Mothers; School consolidation

Subjects: Families.; School lunchrooms, cafeterias, etc.; School management and organization.

00:28:37 - Early's career / Miller's influence

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Partial Transcript: Because I, I, uh, when I graduated from the junior college in 1959, I went to Goshen, Ohio, and taught sixth grade math, science, and geography for a year.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about his education and first teaching job. He talks about working for L&N Railroad and deciding to pursue a degree in engineering. He talks about Miller influencing him as an adult as well as a teenager. He tells a story about one of Miller's employees resigning.

Keywords: Cumberland College; Employees; Engineers

Subjects: Career development.; Influences; School management and organization.

00:34:35 - Miller's military background / Early as a teacher

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Partial Transcript: So he continued to manage, you know, at the administrative level, in some ways, the way he coached football, the way he coached basketball.

Segment Synopsis: Early discusses Miller's leg wound and how Miller's time in the military shaped Miller as a person. Early talks about his role as a teacher and tells a story about not allowing students to wear caps.

Keywords: Military service, Navy; WWII; World War Two

Subjects: Teachers--Kentucky.; Veterans--Wounds and injuries

00:40:14 - Desegregation in Mt. Sterling

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Partial Transcript: But I want to talk about integration at Mt. Sterl--at Mt. Sterling.

Segment Synopsis: Early describes Miller's truancy work and his relationship with black teachers. He discusses the opposition in Mt. Sterling to desegregation, including the burning of the black school. He talks about Miller allowing black students to reconstruct their high school transcripts by acknowledging which textbooks they had used. Early describes how Miller handled the press during segregation, having black teachers share classes with white teachers, and purchasing clothes for students to wear during school hours.

Keywords: Montgomery County (Ky.); Racial Integration; School Desegregate; Truant officers

Subjects: Blacks--Segregation; School integration--Kentucky.; Teachers--Kentucky.

GPS: Mt. Sterling, Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.056667, -83.944444
00:51:34 - Miller as a leader

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Partial Transcript: But now he could be, he could be, if he needed to get after you, he could get after you. We were in a faculty meeting at the beginning of one school year and we had a couple of first grade teachers that were sitting back there with my wife.

Segment Synopsis: Early describes Miller's relationship with other administrators and teachers. He talks about how Miller was received by the town.

Keywords: Administration; Reputation; Respect

Subjects: School management and organization.; School superintendents

00:56:33 - Desegregation of Cumberland College

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Partial Transcript: About the same time Williamsburg High School integrated, Cumberland College integrated. And, uh, I don't know how the college would feel about me revealing this.

Segment Synopsis: Early describes the desegregation of Cumberland College. He talks about Dr. Boswell and how black and white students interacted.

Keywords: J. M. Boswell; School Desegregate

Subjects: Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Ky.); School integration--Kentucky.; Segregation in higher education.

00:59:02 - Racial division in Mt. Sterling / Miller as a father figure

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Partial Transcript: So, at Mt. Sterling, as, as you're all going through that, you're a teacher. You now suddenly have African American students in your class.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about Mt. Sterling students adjusting to the desegregated school. Early talks about the difference between Mt. Sterling and Williamsburg, in terms of racial division. He talks about coaching a track team with both black and white students. Early discusses how he was influenced by Miller as an educator and describes the respect other faculty members had for Miller.

Keywords: Influences; Race relations; Respect; School Desegregate

Subjects: Blacks--Segregation; Coaches (Athletics); School integration--Kentucky.

01:10:22 - Early as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cumberland College

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Partial Transcript: Well talk about, talk about Cumberland. Let's talk about higher education just real quick, because, um, this is a wonderful opportunity.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about retiring from Cumberland College. He discusses how technology has impacted education, how teaching techniques have evolved, how it is necessary for teachers to constantly adapt their teaching to new classes, and how students and parents have changed over time. Early describes the financial obstacles of higher education.

Keywords: Administration; Education; Finances; Universities

Subjects: College teaching.; Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Ky.); Education, Higher--Administration.

01:28:20 - Changes in education

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Partial Transcript: I think it's interesting to hear you, you sort of go in this direction and talk about things that have changed, in the context of an interview about Jack Miller.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks more about witnessing changes in academia, and how to be an effective teacher. He talks about emphasizing the student's needs rather than the teacher's needs, and the learning process rather than the teaching process. Early discusses the responsibilities of a dean, and talks about his son's career in education.

Keywords: Education; Responsibilities; Teaching methods

Subjects: College teaching.; Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Ky.); Education, Higher--Administration.

01:38:30 - Miller as an administrator

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Partial Transcript: So, kind of, to wrap things up, and talk a little about--is there, is there anything you think we haven't talked about with regard to Jack Miller that you think would be important to put onto the record.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about Miller providing constructive criticism to teachers. He speaks about Miller's family. Early comments on his writing pursuits concerning being an administrator in higher education.

Keywords: Educators; Supervisors; Teachers

Subjects: High schools Administration.; School management and organization.

01:43:21 - More on Early as Vice President for Academic Affairs

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Partial Transcript: We had a committee, well we had a, uh, Honors Research Program. Still have it up there.

Segment Synopsis: Early talks about a faculty member demanding a hearing with the grievance committee. He discusses how cheating is defined. Early and the interviewer talk about Early's aunt.

Keywords: Academic honesty; Professors

Subjects: Cumberland College (Williamsburg, Ky.); Education, Higher--Administration.; School discipline.

01:50:55 - More on Miller as an administrator / Dr. J. T. Vallandingham

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Partial Transcript: He really addressed this, it sounds as though, the parallel Jack Miller here and Mt. Sterling, for us knowing his back story, he just was, from the outset, uh, recognized and did what he wanted.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewers speak about Miller's first experiences as a principal and Early draws parallels with his early career. The interviewers talk about the influence of Dr. Vallandingham, and Early describes Vallandingham's retirement, where hundreds of students sent letters expressing Vallandinghams' influence on their lives. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Cumberland College; Influential educators; Mt. Sterling (Ky.); Williamsburg (Ky.)

Subjects: College teachers.; School administrators.; School management and organization.