Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Bill Richardson, August 14, 2015

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


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00:00:00 - Parents, education, and childhood

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this is Jeff Keith, I'm here with Rayna Gellert interviewing Bill Richardson on August 14th, 2015.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about where he grew up, and his parents' backgrounds. He talks about his mother working in preschool education and her involvement in starting the Preschool Education Association of Indiana.

Keywords: Colleges; Fathers; Indiana; Kentucky; Kindergarten; Mothers; Parents; Preschools; Schools

Subjects: Education, Higher; Educational leadership; Families.

00:07:44 - DePauw University / Study abroad

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Partial Transcript: Looking back on it, when it--when you went to DePauw, was there something about the experience that was particularly meaningful for you as a student?

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about his undergraduate experience at DePauw University in Indiana and his study abroad trip to Germany. He talks about being in Berlin during the Cold War.

Keywords: Architecture; Berlin; Berlin Wall; Colleges; DePauw University; Europe; Germany; Italy; Russians; Study abroad; The Cold War

Subjects: College students; Education, Higher; Foreign study.

00:15:57 - Graduate school for architectural design

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Partial Transcript: And that's, then, uh, in the context of '64, you, you went back to DePauw and graduated from--

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about his work in graduate school and the professors from whom he learned the most. He talks about being involved in a housing project in rural Kentucky. He talks about some of his social justice-oriented design projects.

Keywords: Bob Swinson; Charles Moore; Deans; Deferments; Design workshops; Eastern Kentucky Housing Development Corporation; Filming; Graduate schools; Group 9; Hazard (Ky.); Housing projects; Kentucky; Master's programs; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Pat Gish; Professors; Vietnam War; Vincent Scully; Yale Architecture School; Yale University

Subjects: Architectural design.; Education, Higher; Universities and colleges--Graduate work

00:29:18 - Politics and the arts / Building projects

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Partial Transcript: That's incredible as well.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson discusses the political climate and how the arts were involved. He talks about a building project to help poor communities.

Keywords: Appalachia; Arts; Building projects; Claes Oldenburg; Community Action Program; Ed Stafford; Film; Housing projects; Lipstick Ascending on Caterpillar Tracks; Phillip Johnson; Photography; Politics; Vincent Scully; War on Poverty; Yale University

Subjects: Universities and colleges--Graduate work

00:38:05 - Important professors and lessons / How Richardson met his wife

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Partial Transcript: Next thing I wanna ask about is, uh, you mentioned that Sony gave this incredible equipment and you were learning about moving pictures, but I'm blown away and didn't know that you took a class from Walker Evans.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about learning photography from Walker Evans. He talks about some of the things that he learned from other important mentors in his life. He tells the story of how he met his wife.

Keywords: Changes in photographic technology; Harry Caudill; Italian food; Josephine Richardson; Modernism; Parties; Professors; Teachers; Walker Evans; Whitesburg (Ky.); Wife; Yale University

Subjects: Education, Higher; Marriage; Photography; Universities and colleges--Graduate work

00:47:30 - Working with AFI and OEO / Media, poverty, and representation

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Partial Transcript: How did you establish a relationship with the American Film Institute and the Office of Economic Opportunity in terms of, uh, employment in '69?

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about how he got a job with the American Film Institute right after he married. He talks about how he feels media production can improve conditions in rural areas. He talks about all different kinds of media, from theater to film to photography, and encouraging the arts in Appalachia.

Keywords: "Rich Land, Poor People"; Aeroflex cameras; American Film Institute (AFI); Filmmakers; Fogo Islands; Hugh O’Connor; Interdisciplinary art; Jack Willis; Media; Moving; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Photography; Poverty; Theater; Tom Gish

Subjects: Mass media and technology.; Motion picture producers and directors

00:59:40 - Appalshop media opportunities and training

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Partial Transcript: Fantastic a, answer, but it, it also sort of got us sprawling forward into all of the things that occurred.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about development of media types, including photography and theater, though originally he was interested in film. He talks about learning about filming as he went.

Keywords: Big Sandy; Community Action Agency; Dave Adams; Downtown; Film workshops; Green Amendment; Harlem; Josephine Richardson; Kentucky; L.K.L.P. Community Action Council; Media workshops; Mountain Motor Speedway; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Photography; Pike County (Ky.); Shelby Lee Adams; Steve Edwins; Training programs; Whitesburg (Ky.)

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Mass media and technology.; Motion picture producers and directors.

01:12:45 - Richardson's friends and relationships

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Partial Transcript: This is interesting that you, you--so you, you were living, uh, there eventually, but I, I, I read somewhere, and it could have been exaggeration, that you had, uh, your honeymoon on the Gishes' couch.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about staying with friends for the first few weeks after getting married. He talks about his friendships and relationships with the mountain people.

Keywords: David Hopp; Friends; Honeymoon; Mountain people; Moving; Pat Gish; Tom Gish

Subjects: Appalachians (People)--Kentucky--Social conditions; Appalshop, Inc.; Friendship

01:20:13 - Beginnings of Appalshop, Inc.

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Partial Transcript: Well, once you had equipment and space, as you've described--

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about how people got involved in Appalshop when it was getting started. He talks about the first few films that he made, and the people who were involved in the workshop.

Keywords: Bill Collins; Carl Banks; Children; Dave Adams; Documentaries; Filming basketball; Herb E. Smith; Kids; Marty Newell; Movie theaters; Movies; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Pike County (Ky.); Politics; Sedition trials; Students

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Friendship; Mass media and technology.

01:29:02 - Teaching editing / Producing "Woodrow Cornett: Letcher County Butcher"

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Partial Transcript: You, uh, um--my next question you've already answered with one story, I'd like to hear more though.

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about how they helped their workshop students learn about editing. He talks about the production of "Woodrow Cornett: Letcher County Butcher," one of their first films.

Keywords: "Woodrow Cornett: Letcher County Butcher"; Adult education; Arthur Penn; Ashland Fouts; Ben Zickafoose; Black Mountain College; Coal Miner: Frank Jackson; Editing; Films; Frank Majority; Fundraising; Larry Silk; Markessi; Maxine Kenny; Morehead State University; Music; Sound; Training; University of Kentucky; Workshops

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Motion picture producers and directors; Motion pictures--Editing

01:44:38 - Relationship with OEO and CFWC / Changing to a community workshop / Funding from grants

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Partial Transcript: Well th--you were mentioning that the Community Film Workshop Council, um, was under--sort of, had its own umbrella for all these different projects--

Segment Synopsis: Richardson talks about why things didn't work out with the OEO or CFWC. He says that he was not in charge of production of films after the first film, and coming up with the name "Appalshop." He talks about getting funding from grants.

Keywords: 16mm film; AFI; Appalachian Genesis; Appalachian Regional Commission; Community Film Workshop Council (CFWC); Grants; Humanities grants; Jim Branskin; Lilly Foundation; Movies; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Projects; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Mass media and technology.; Motion picture producers and directors; United States. Office of Economic Opportunity

01:57:51 - More about relationship with OEO / Appalshop today

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Partial Transcript: Um, I wanna understand a little more about the, uh, pull away from OEO and, and--

Segment Synopsis: Richardson goes into more detail about the fallout with OEO. He talks about how he describes what Appalshop does when he is asked.

Keywords: Appalshop, Inc.; Buffalo Creek Flood: An Act of Man; Coal industry; Community; Films; Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster; Media; Media design; Mimi Pickering; Nonprofit C3 corporations; Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO); Projects; Radio; Theatre

Subjects: Appalshop, Inc.; Mass media and technology.; Motion picture producers and directors; Motion pictures; United States. Office of Economic Opportunity