Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Mae Amburgey, Greg Amburgey, May 16, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:07 - Movie theater in Jenkins, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mae Amburgey on May the 16th, 2015 in her home, um, outside Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey recalls what it was like to see Jenkins for the first time. She recalls her first time visiting the movie theater there, what the movie theater was like, and traveling into Jenkins. M. Amburgey also discusses the types of people at the movie theater and how there were little to no people of color in attendance.

Keywords: Class differences; Class distinction; Movie theaters; Movies; Visitors

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Segregation--Southern States; African Americans--Social conditions; African Americans.; Gone with the wind (Motion picture : 1939); Greyhound buses; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); Segregation; Social classes; Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:05:10 - Childhood and family

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Partial Transcript: Um, would you just tell me a little bit about yourself, some biographical information, how your family got to Whitesburg, and--

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey talks about her parents' work and having a strict father. She discusses childhood entertainment. M. Amburgey also talks about going to college, her first job after graduating, and stopping work to start a family.

Keywords: Business colleges; Childhood entertainment; Childhood play; Grocery stores; Parenting styles; Pastimes; Post offices; Saw mills; Swimming holes; Working women

Subjects: Amusements.; Bowling Green (Ky.); Brothers; Business schools.; Careers; Childhood; Children; Cincinnati (Ohio); Families.; Growing up; Husbands.; Letcher County (Ky.); Loggers; Logging.; Parents.; Sons.; Timber; Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:10:02 - Traveling into Jenkins

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Partial Transcript: Back in the day, how commonly did people travel into towns like Jenkins from the outside?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey discusses preferring to shop in Neon or Hazard but also shopping in Jenkins. She talks about different methods of transportation into Jenkins.

Keywords: Clothes shopping; Neon (Ky.); Traveling; Visiting; Visitors

Subjects: Fleming-Neon (Ky.); Hazard (Ky.); Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Perry County (Ky.); Shopping.

00:12:04 - McRoberts, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What would you go to McRoberts for?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey talks about going to McRoberts mostly to visit family. She talks about coal camp houses in McRoberts and gives a physical description of her uncle's home. M. Amburgey also talks about the presence of and her attitude towards African Americans in McRoberts.

Keywords: Camp houses; Chopping Branch (Ky.); Coal camp houses; Commissaries; Company houses; Company housing; Ice cream; Movie theaters

Subjects: African American families; African Americans.; Dolls; Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Outhouses.; Plumbing; Race relations.; Shopping.

00:18:34 - Jenkins Community Hospital

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Partial Transcript: So Greg tells me that, um, you had both your sons at the Jenkins Hospital.

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey talks about her sons being born at the Jenkins Hospital. She gives a physical description of the hospital.

Keywords: Catholic hospitals; Jenkins Community; Jenkins Community Hospital

Subjects: Childbirth.; Hospitals; Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); Sons.

00:20:56 - Outsider impressions of Jenkins and Whitesburg, Kentucky / Norton, Virginia

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Partial Transcript: What else would you do in Jenkins, beside, uh, going to the movies and having babies?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey describes seeing Jenkins as an "elite" and "classier" town. She discusses why people from Jenkins and McRoberts would go into Whitesburg and Norton, Virginia.

Keywords: Attitudes; Class dynamics; Impressions; Social relations; Town reputations

Subjects: Jenkins (Ky.); Letcher County (Ky.); McRoberts (Ky.); Norton (Va.); Reputations; Shopping.; Social classes.; Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:24:34 - Family's first car

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Partial Transcript: When did your family get their first car, do you remember?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey talks about how and why her dad bought their first car.

Keywords: Car accidents; Cars; First cars; Logging businesses

Subjects: Automobiles.; Ford Motor Company; Logging trucks; Logging.; Pickup trucks; Trucks.

00:26:26 - College in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What was that like to go to college in Bowling Green coming from, coming from the mountains?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey discusses how she felt about going to college and living in Bowling Green. She discusses train rides from home to Bowling Green, walking to school, and living in rental houses.

Keywords: City impressions; College life; GI Bill; School transportation

Subjects: Adult education--Kentucky; Bowling Green (Ky.); Education; Education, Higher; Education, Higher--Kentucky; Rental housing.; Universities and colleges; Warren County (Ky.)

00:28:36 - Changes and hopes for Letcher County, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What are some of the biggest changes you've seen in Letcher County in your lifetime?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey discusses changes to businesses, shops, and impacts of the declining coal industry in Letcher County. She hopes more businesses would come to Letcher County. M. Amburgey and G. Amburgey also discuss what makes Letcher County special.

Keywords: Coal industries; Community dynamics; Community solidarity; Friendliness; Job loss; Small businesses; Town economies

Subjects: Coal trade; Communities.; Community relations; Economic conditions; Letcher County (Ky.); Unemployment.

00:34:08 - Memories from Whitesburg

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Partial Transcript: Do you have any Whitesburg memories you'd like to share?

Segment Synopsis: M. Amburgey talks about playing with neighborhood friends growing up. She talks about her brother setting off firecrackers.

Keywords: 4th of July celebrations; Childhood play; Christmas celebrations; Neighborhood children

Subjects: Childhood; Firecrackers.; Fireworks.; Hopscotch; Letcher County (Ky.); Marbles (Game objects); Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:36:28 - Family history / Italian stonemasons

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Partial Transcript: Greg, now you've got your grandmother here and you've got an audio recorder on her, what do you want to ask her?

Segment Synopsis: G. Amburgey and Komara ask M. Amburgey about family history, her grandmother, and family origins. M. Amburgey also discusses the history surrounding a creek in Kona, Kentucky, and Italian stonemasons in Whitesburg.

Keywords: Creeks; Family genealogy; Italian stonemasons; Kona (Ky.); Stonemason buildings

Subjects: Family histories.; Family history; Genealogy & local history; Genealogy.; Italian Americans; Italian Americans--Ethnic identity.; Letcher County (Ky.); Stonemasonry; Stonemasons; Whitesburg (Ky.)