Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Erica Williams, June 13, 2014

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Childhood and family background

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Partial Transcript: Today is June 13th, 2014. This is an interview with Judge Erica Lee Williams as a part of the Legacy of African American Judges in Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Judge Erica Williams describes her childhood, family life, and what it was like growing up with a military family that moved around quite often.

Keywords: Berlin (Germany); Discipline; Fathers; Fort Knox (Ky.); Mothers; Respect; Sisters; Support

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood; United States. Army--Military life.

00:09:41 - Law school

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Partial Transcript: Um, you said you moved to Radcliffe and went to Radcliffe M--uh--

Segment Synopsis: Judge Williams discusses her experiences in law school and the type of discrimination she faced.

Keywords: Access; Attorneys; College; Communication skills; Disadvantages; Discomfort; Law school; Privilege

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American law students; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Discrimination in education.; Law--Study and teaching; Race discrimination.

00:19:24 - Discrimination

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Partial Transcript: And then I remember my husband and I were at, uh, Arby's. That was the local place to go, you know, for town.

Segment Synopsis: Judge Williams discusses the discrimination she faced as an African American in law school. She also discusses issues of merit, Affirmative Action, and her employment after law school.

Keywords: Affirmative Action; Cases; Classroom; Depositions; Diversity; Kentucky; Law firms; Law school; Limitations; Merit; Meritocracy; Peers; Prejudice; Professors; Racial strife; Socialization; Students; University of Kentucky

Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American law students; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Social conditions.; Law--Study and teaching; Race discrimination.; Racism; United States--Race relations.; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.

00:25:47 - Becoming a judge

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Partial Transcript: And when did you first aspire to become a judge?

Segment Synopsis: Judge Williams discusses her path to becoming a judge, her experiences as a lawyer prior to being appointed as a judge, and her campaign.

Keywords: Attorneys; Campaigning; Careers; Challenges; Damages; Defendants; Depositions; Election party; Elections; Encouragement; Lawsuits; Legal field; Litigators; Memorable cases; Mentors; Mistakes; Mock trials; Networking; Opposition; Plaintiffs; Questioning; Recognition; Voters; Votes; Work ethic

Subjects: African American judges; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Judges--Election; Judges--Selection and appointment--United States.; Practice of law--Kentucky; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.; Voting.

00:45:01 - Contributions to the community as a judge

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Partial Transcript: And so now five years later it's different.

Segment Synopsis: Judge Williams talks about her work as a judge and discusses some of her contributions to the community.

Keywords: Cases; Changes; Class; Community; Courts; Determination; Disadvantages; Election; Empowerment; Endorsements; Help; Helping; Lawsuits; Legacies; Legal system; Opportunity; Pleas; Poverty; Privilege; Recognition; Responsibility; Social status; Truth; Youth

Subjects: African American families; African American judges; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.

00:57:50 - Her legacy

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Partial Transcript: Well you've talked a little bit about, um, your daughter throughout this.

Segment Synopsis: Judge William discusses the legacy she wants to build for her daughter.

Keywords: Advantages; Children; Class; Community involvement; Daughters; Determination; Leadership; Legacy; Motherhood; Mothers; Opportunity; Parenting; Privilege; Purpose

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

01:05:25 - Community involvement

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Partial Transcript: You talked about being involved in Leadership Louisville, are there other community, uh, activities that you're involved in?

Segment Synopsis: Judge William discusses her level of community involvement and how representation can impact the lives of minorities. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Access; Accessibility; Boards; Children; Colorblind; Colorblindness; Community; Community involvement; Diversity; Duty; Empowerment; Law firms; Legal field; Meetings; Mentorship; Minorities; Racial politics; Recruiting; Representation; Retention; Role models; Students; Youth

Subjects: African American judges; African American law students; African American lawyers; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Community development; Law--Study and teaching; Practice of law--Kentucky