Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Reinette Jones, January 26, 2018

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


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00:00:00 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: So let's start with, uh, a really broad question. Painting with the broadest strokes, tell us about yourself and your early memories, and what are your connections in thinking about that to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Reinette Jones is introduced. Jones briefly shares about her upbringing in Paris, Kentucky, her daughter, and her work history leading up to her enrollment in the University of Kentucky's library science program. Jones also discusses her historical research and learning, and the contributions that African Americans living in Kentucky have made to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and, more broadly, the country as a whole.

Keywords: Childhood; Commonwealth of Kentucky; Higher education; Master of arts degree; Paris (Ky.)

Subjects: African American single mothers; African American women in higher education; African Americans--History; African Americans--Social conditions.; Kentucky--History; Library science; Race relations--Kentucky; Sexual minority college students; University of Kentucky

00:04:51 - Coming out

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Partial Transcript: So a, a part of, um--certainly a significant part of your life story, um, as it would be for anybody's life story, is your own identity and your, um, you know, partners you've had, or, or your partner.

Segment Synopsis: Jones shares her experience coming out as a lesbian during her 30s. She describes the difference in reactions to her lesbian identity between her friends and her family.

Keywords: Closeted; Family; Friendship; Gay bars; In the closet; Lesbian bars; Visibility; Vulnerability

Subjects: African American lesbians--Identity; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Lesbians; Lesbians, Black; Lesbians--Identity; Monogamous relationships

00:13:14 - Segregation within LGBTQ spaces

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Partial Transcript: And you, you--so it was at a bar downtown or The Bar?

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses the divisions she has observed within the LGBT community, particularly along racial lines, but also among different sexual and gender identities. She particularly focuses on racial segregation at The Bar in downtown Lexington during the 1990s.

Keywords: Intra-community issues; Intracommunity divisions; LGBTQ community; Racism in the LGBTQ community; The Bar Complex (Lexington, Ky.)

Subjects: African American lesbians--Identity; Black, lesbian; Gay men; Lesbians; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation; Sexual minorities; Transgender people; Whites--Race identity

GPS: The Bar Complex (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.044321, -84.494928
00:19:18 - Bluegrass Black Pride and Kentucky Black Pride

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Partial Transcript: So, a, a, another piece you mentioned in, uh, in that last story, was your role in Bluegrass Black Pride.

Segment Synopsis: Jones details her involvement with Bluegrass Black Pride Incorporated, describing the individuals who founded the group, what the group does, and how the group has changed overtime. She also discusses Kentucky Black Pride.

Keywords: AIDS; African American community; Black history month; Black identity; Bluegrass Black Pride, Inc.; Education; HIV; Kentucky Black Pride; LGBTQ pride parades; Outreach; Resources; Support; Sustaining organizations

Subjects: AIDS (Disease)--Patients; Black, lesbian; Gay pride parades; HIV-positive persons; Lesbians--Identity.; Same-sex partner abuse

00:24:32 - Experiences finding LGBTQ supportive spaces / Relations between faculty and staff on campus with regard to sexual identity

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Partial Transcript: How--what have your experiences been, either personally or, or seeing others, uh, find supportive spaces and ways to engage in those groups and, and maybe ways that that's been more difficult?

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses her experiences with LGBT groups in Lexington. She also discusses the racial and socioeconomic complications of the issues various LGBT groups choose to focus on.

Keywords: LGBTQ community; Lower income individuals; Private spaces; Programming; Resources; Welcoming

Subjects: African American lesbians--Identity; Gay men; Lesbians; Lesbians, Black; Lesbians--Identity.; Racism; Sexism; Single mothers

00:29:51 - Time as a student at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: In your, in your time--and this doesn't have to be LGBTQ focused or the lens through which you're, you're answering this though it can be--um, tell us more about your time as a, as a student and now your time as a faculty member in the libraries?

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses her experience as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky. She describes the logistical issues she faced as a single mother student. Jones also discusses her enjoyment of the cultural exchange between students of different cultures, and how much she learned from that.

Keywords: Babysitting; Cultural exchange; Cultural relations; Learning outside the classroom; Lower income individuals; Resources; Undergraduate

Subjects: African American single mothers; African American women college students; Education; Learning; Library science; Nontraditional college students; Sexual minority college students; Single mothers; University of Kentucky

00:34:35 - Experiences to be proud of as a faculty member / Proud to be out

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Partial Transcript: As a faculty member what have been--you know, if there are two or three most significant or proudest moments you've had as a professional here, what would those be?

Segment Synopsis: Jones shares a few of her proudest accomplishments as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky. She discusses her involvement with the Notable Kentucky African Americans database and the NKAA's importance. Jones also talks about the book she published, "Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky from the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s," and the national librarians' conference she helped to put on in Louisville, Kentucky.

Keywords: Accomplishments; American Library Association (ALA); Being out; Conferences; Faculty; Kentucky pride; Lost history; Migration; Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA); Pride; Public libraries; Unwritten history

Subjects: African American librarians; African American women librarians; African Americans--History; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Databases; Kentucky--History; Libraries; Library science; Race relations--Kentucky; Segregation; University of Kentucky

00:53:29 - Role of religion in personal life

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Partial Transcript: A, as a part of these co, conversations, either that you're having with yourself or that people are, are having with you, and, and you know as you, you are coming out and being more out and creating a relationship, did religion play any role in that at all?

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses how religion has not played into her life or her life decisions.

Keywords: Secularism

Subjects: Religion

00:54:14 - Future hopes and aspirations

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Partial Transcript: So as we think about Reinette in 2018, um, you've told us, uh, several, uh, rich stories about your proudest moments, but either in, in your professional life or your personal life, um, what excites you? What are you up to now and what excites you about that?

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses what she is excited about in the future, particularly focusing on the future of LGBTQ activism. She also expresses hope for student organizations and activism.

Keywords: Being out; Bills; Legislation; Pride; Protests

Subjects: African American lesbians--Identity; Black, lesbian; Lesbians; Race relations--Kentucky; Sexual minorities

01:00:03 - Divisions among LGBTQ people within the community

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Partial Transcript: So as we, as we wrap up--

Segment Synopsis: Jones discusses organizations and meetings among LGBTQ people, and the divisions she senses between people. Jones emphasizes the importance of trust, and speculates if that is perhaps the source of the divisions she sees. Jones also shares more about her childhood as a lesbian, and her daughter.

Keywords: Animosity; Childhood; Childhood crushes; Daughters; Divisions; Emotions; LGBTQ; LGBTQ community; Lesbian childhood; Prejudice; Trust

Subjects: African American lesbians--Identity; African American single mothers; Lesbians; Lesbians, Black; Lesbians--Identity