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
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
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
Map Coordinates: 38.044321, -84.494928
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
POSTON: So let's start with a really broad question. Painting with the broadeststrokes, tell us about yourself and your early memories, and what are your connections and thinking about that to the Commonwealth of Kentucky?
JONES: I'm not so sure I can tie it to the Commonwealth of Kentucky because Iwasn't conscious of the Commonwealth of Kentucky really until I was much older. My world was very small. I was born in Bourbon County, which is Paris, Kentucky, in 1958. I am the youngest of ten children, two of whom have passed. My first memory, I was about three years old and I had learned to climb out of the baby pit, not over the rail, but up under the mattress. I don't know how I figured it out, but from there I thought, I must have been a pretty sharp kid. (laughs) Let's see. Just moving forward here: graduated from Paris High School, originally went to the colored school, before they integrated, for two years. My 00:01:00third year of elementary school, the schools integrated. From there I graduated from Paris High School in 1976. Did not come directly to UK. I worked off and on. I had my daughter in high school, and the reason I came to UK is because I was working with the federal government agriculture department, and the job I had was being phased out. And the woman that I work with who had known my family for the past two generations suggested that I go to school, and she thought that I should go to art school because I was always drawing in the office. That didn't quite work out. Art drawing in the office, and being prepared for art school; two completely different things. So I came on to UK. I ended up, started out in the College of Business, switched to the College of, uh, Communication, graduated in three years, and there was a librarian here named Karen Cobb. She, uh, she was killed, and she kept saying, "Go into library school. They don't 00:02:00have very many blacks in library school. Matter of fact, I'm the only one." And I thought, Those people are weird. And I say this anytime anybody'd ask me about how I got into library science, but it was her. And I thought, These people are really weird. She said, "Yes, they're weird, but there's money for you to go to school. It's a very viable career and you can stay with it a lifetime." And I thought, I'll take one class. And I did and I loved it. It was Bookmaking before, I think, 1850 or something like that, that Doctor Cast then taught. I loved it, loved it beyond my wildest dreams. So from there I did a library degree. I took more time finishing at the master's degree, and there was some money, some minority money. And Paul Willis came up, he was the director then, and said, "Would you consider working here at UK?" That was not my plan. My plan was to go to Phoenix, where one of my sisters lived, and she had been working with some of the colleges there for me, um, to consider different positions, and 00:03:00I thought I wanted to go to Phoenix.
But Paul Willis was a little more persuasive than my sister, and so that salaryof, I think it was about seventeen, eighteen thousand dollars, which was five thousand dollars more than I was making at the time, was more enticing than going to Phoenix and earning maybe fifteen thousand. So the financial part of it, plus the cost of moving and it just, it didn't pan out. So I stayed. And this is where I have been.
I believe this is my thirty-fifth year.
POSTON: All in UK libraries?
JONES: Oh, well no. I started out in financial aid. I did the work studyprogram, and I had been in financial aid for five years. But once I finished my degree, then I - my library degree - I came into the libraries. It really wasn't until I got to UK that I had some understanding of Kentucky as a state, as a commonwealth, because my world was pretty small. It was Paris, it was Bourbon 00:04:00County. And it was, uh, going outside the state to visit family in Detroit, uh, to Phoenix, or just taking trips somewhere. But it wasn't the state of Kentucky. And actually I got well grounded in the state of Kentucky when I started working on the Notable Kentucky African-Americans Database and realized the contributions that African-Americans had not only made to the state of Kentucky, but to the United States and to other countries. Then I got a better idea about what the state's about, how it was, um, developed, where African-Americans fit into this picture. And it's not always a fit. Sometimes it's a blend. It's not a nice, neat, put-a-square-into-the-square-peg type fit.
POSTON: So 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, 00:05:00partners you've had you or your partner, um--
JONES: Yeah, let's stick to the present. (laughs)
POSTON: --um, and a lot of that begins with coming out as a significant part ofsomeone's life. So can you tell us something about your coming out experience or one of your coming out experiences and how your understandings of, of coming out and who you are have changed over time.
JONES: I came out when I was in my thirties. Uh, my daughter had just finishedhigh school and she went off to college, and I had made this bargain with myself that once she went to college, that I was going to start living my life the way that I wanted to. And I wasn't going to hide anymore. And it was scary. I was about, let's see, sixteen, -------(??), I was about thirty five when I came out. And I had taken about three years of just trying to figure out who I was, how I 00:06:00was going to do this and how it was going to impact various people who say that they loved me or at least liked me. And one night I thought, Tomorrow is going to be the day I must start telling people I'm a lesbian, I'm coming out. I'm going to call them up. I'm gonna go see them. And I started out real brave, Lance. Let me tell you. Hm. And the first person that I told was my best friend and I just ended up crying all over the place. And she said, "Well, we're still best friends." And it makes me tear up still because it was such an emotional time. And then I told my second best friend and she hugged me and said, "I don't care. I don't care. You know, we best friends." And we had been best friends forever, no, from grade school on. And then I started telling family, and oh, boy. Whew, it was easier telling my friends, coming out, to say that I'm a lesbian than it was for my family. It didn't go so well. Even though I was in my 00:07:00thirties, it was a very vulnerable time. One of the most vulnerable times in my life. And I knew I couldn't go back. I had to go forward. And I just kept trudging forward. One of my cousins that I told, her husband came out and said, "Is that all you had to tell us? We've been knowing that forever."
And I was mad. I want to tell you, I thought, Why didn't somebody tell me?
It's like we'd been on a trip. She'd be making up the highway and not comingback for two or three days. I was like, Oh, I didn't know he even knew about it. I didn't know he even knew about those trips going off to friends and going off to Canada.
And it's like, I didn't, I didn't think anybody was paying attention. I washaving a good time. And then I met Kat one night at the bar. There was a group of friends called, uh, Psycho Friends, LGBTQ folks. And she was a part of the group, but I hadn't met her. And so we were out on the floor dancing. And she 00:08:00came up just like, "Hey." And I kind of freaked out. Had on a cute little green dress. And I think I about danced the tail out of that dress. Because I was so nervous. She was so bold. I had never met anybody quite as bold as her. You know, her being white. I've never been approached like that. And it wasn't, um, an unappreciated approach. It was sweet and determined, and she just freaked me out. She did. She really did. And that was right before I went off to France. And she had lived in Libya. Her father worked for Exxon and other places. And I was talking about going to France because I'd never gone beyond Canada outside the US or Mexico. And this was a really big trip for me, and I asked her to go with me. And she said, "No, I think you need to do this on your own." I thought, Now what kind of a girlfriend is she gonna make, that says, "No, you need to do 00:09:00this on your own?" I went anyway and we didn't see each other for a while after that. And then when she came back and I came back, we started to date in a more serious manner. She set the rules down. "This is gonna be me and you, monogamous, and we're going to be out." And I was like, Who is she to be telling me what these rules are going to be? And then I thought about it. I thought they weren't bad rules, but there were things that I hadn't considered being out as a black lesbian across the board, regardless of the community. It was scary, but if she said we could do it, we did it. -----(??) how crazy we were, Lance. And I'm gonna go off on a tangent. These stories--
POSTON: --Oh, no, no--
JONES: --Bourbon County, 8th Street. 8th Street's in the black neighborhood.It's kind of like the happening street. And she says, "Let's walk to your mother's house. We're gonna walk up 8th Street." And I'm thinking, Oh, that's not a good idea. Maybe we need to take Seventh Street. Maybe we need to get in the car. She's like, "No." So we start up 8th Street and she holds my hand and 00:10:00I'm thinking, We're gonna catch a brick, a bottle of beer, every kind of cuss word you can think of. It was such a bold move that all the people on the street just stared.
Nobody said anything. They just couldn't believe that I was being so bold as towalk up the street with this white woman in this black neighborhood, uh, one of the busiest, uh, I'm ------(??) busy in quotes, streets in the neighborhood and we just kept on walking. Nothing happened. So when we coming back, I'm sorry. When we coming back, I said, "OK, Kat, I really think we need to take 7th Street. We were lucky nothing happened." She's like, "No, we're gonna walk down 8th Street again." And I thought, Oh, Lord, do, uh, is my insurance paid up? This could be fatal. We walked back down the street and everyone is looking at us. Even more people out because they've got on the phone. 00:11:00
"You got to see what Reinette's got going on."
Even more people are out. And they're going, "Ay, girl." Hey, I'm thinking,Please don't throw any rocks, please don't throw anything at us. Don't say anything. And it didn't, they didn't. A lot of people were smiling. OK. That was a fluke. And I know it was. I would not do that again. And Kat, after I talked to her, I was like, "Do you realize what we just did?" And she's like, "What? We just walked down the street?" Well her being from Texas and not understanding a lot of the segregation rules. And they have segregation, had segregation in Texas. The segregation rules in Paris, in Kentucky, and the segregation within a race, intra racial segregation in terms of LGBTQ. She didn't have a clue. And I thought, I blindly let her lead me up 8th Street when she didn't even have a clue. So I started telling her about what possibly could have happened. And she said, "Oh, I didn't know." And I thought, Mmhmm. Anyway. 00:12:00
POSTON: So you, you said you met at a, a dance gathering?
JONES: No, it was at a bar, a bar downtown. It was this group of friends who gottogether every weekend called Psycho Friends. And it was men and women, folks who identified in all kinds of ways. But I had the security of that group, and I was the only black in that group. And I got hell for that sometimes at the bar. It's like, "Why're you hanging out with all these white people? You know, why don't you hang out with us?" And I actually hung out where I was comfortable. Because there's rules regardless. I found that there were rules regardless of where I was hanging out. I didn't particularly like the rules of either group sometimes, but I liked Kat. And I was sticking with wherever Kat was. I've come to, um, I've grown. Let me say that I have grown to where I'm more comfortable, regardless of the color of the individual's skin in terms of groups. But it took 00:13:00me a while to get there. I don't know if that's attributed to coming out late or my discomfort.
POSTON: And you, you, so it was at a bar downtown or The Bar downtown?
JONES: The Bar.
POSTON: The Bar.
JONES: The Bar.
POSTON: Uh, was, um, was The Bar, in your experience with this group of friendsand at other times, um--
POSTON: --a space that had, were there different racial groups in the bar? Orwas it a mostly white space, or how did that feel in those early days?
JONES: I had not gone into The Bar before. This was new to me. I'd peek throughthe window. I'd watch people go in, but never was brave enough to actually go in. Um, the spaces seemed to be segregated to me. There was some, um, bleeding over depending on who you were dating or I guess what you liked. But for me, I found The Bar to be very segregated during that time, and we're talking about 25 00:14:00years ago. I haven't gone to The Bar much since then, and I don't know how that has changed or if it has changed.
POSTON: So the, the group of friends, um, that you met Kat through and that, um,brought you to the bar, how did you initially connect with that group of friends?
JONES: It was a coworker, Mark Rhorer (R-H-O-R-E-R). He's not here anymore. He'sa professor now down in Florida. And he invited me--
POSTON: -- in Fort Lauderdale.
JONES: Yes. You know Mark. Ok.
POSTON: I've met Mark, yeah.
JONES: So he invited me one night. And I was like, "Hmmm, Mark, I don't know."He's like, "Oh, come on, it'll be fun." And he never said, you know, what the race of the group was. And then I get there. And I'm like, Uh, they're all white. OK. Let's see how this goes. But while I was there, I saw that there were these black groups that pretty much stayed together. There were the white groups that stayed together. And then there were the divisions within these race groups 00:15:00that stayed together. The trans group, the lesbians, the gay men. And sometimes there was some bleeding over, but there was a lot of pockets. And at that time, I didn't realize that there were pockets. I just thought, this is really different in here. But, you know, like I said, it was, it was new to me. I was just coming out. I felt raw and very vulnerable. And I didn't explore too much to try to figure out why those groups were where they were in terms of the spaces within The Bar.
POSTON: So something else maybe that pre-dates The Bar a bit that you mentioned,uh, was your trips up the road. You want to tell us a little more about those?
JONES: No. (laughs)
JONES: No, I really don't.
JONES: That's past.
POSTON: All right. Fair enough.
JONES: These were closed spaces, very, very closed spaces. It was not me being00:16:00with someone going to any place or event or anyone's home. It was you coming individually. There was nothing that said we were together in any way.
POSTON: Interesting. But in a Kentucky landscape, then?
JONES: But in a Kentucky landscape. Very private spaces. And I've come to learnthat in the African-American community there are still those very private spaces.
POSTON: Well, maybe that's a really natural transition into, um.
Tell us a bit about your, what you see as those private spaces, how you'veencountered them, either for yourself or as a, as someone, you know, observing as an observer and particularly sort of how you see a broader, uh, set of 00:17:00experiences in in Kentucky at the intersection of race and LGBTQ identity.
JONES: When you ask that question, I think you're making the assumption thatthere's one. There are many, many, many varied spaces.
Um, becoming a member of Bluegrass Black Pride, because I had never belonged toan LGBTQ group before, and now as co-chair, one of the things that we stress, that I stress, is you respect people where they are, whether they're in, whether they're out, whatever kind of closet they're in, how do they self-identify, whether you use the word transgender, transsexual, how ever people define themselves, you respect that. Wherever they are in their life, you respect that. Uh, when I'm talking about private spaces, I'm talking about, um, maybe two or three individuals getting together at a private home. Maybe it's a party of just gay African-American men or a party of just lesbians and making the distinction 00:18:00based on how people identify. Because there's individuals probably all across the board who don't include LGBTQ thing. They say, "I'm just being myself and all that other stuff, I don't know what the hell that's about. I'm just being me and don't put labels on me." That's what I'm talking about. So before I came out, before I got with Kat, who insisted on us being out, that was new to me. That was brand new. I wasn't really sure I could do that, but I really liked her. So I was one I was willing, I was willing to give it a try. So when you, when you asked me about the whole state of Kentucky, also, I really can't speak to the whole state of Kentucky. I cannot. When we go to table at the various fairness events that have taken place, and there's been more of them around the state, I'm never quite sure how things operate in that particular region. So we go with whatever the flow is. 00:19:00
I'm learning, I'm still learning. I am fifty nine years old and I don't thinkI'm ever going to stop learning.
POSTON: I can certainly share that perspective.
POSTON: Ongoing learning. So a, another piece you mentioned in, um, in that laststory, was your role in Bluegrass Black Pride.
POSTON: Um, so I wonder if you would tell us a bit more about, you know, whatBluegrass Black Pride is, how, uh, how and when you became involved and how that's changed over time.
JONES: Bluegrass Black Pride Incorporated is about four, going into our fifthyear. I became involved about three years ago. The organization was actually started by Mark Johnson. I think John Bentley, uh, Ilea Adams Jones, I'm trying to think, Sean Bumpus might even have been a part of the group. Thomas Talbert 00:20:00and probably some individuals that I don't know. Uh, still, I'm just meeting a lot of the folks who started this group. And it's to advocate, to educate, and to stand up for the rights for African-American LGBQ, LGBTQ plus folks to be a part of, of not only the African-American community, but the LGBTQ community as well. And to be out if you're out, to be in if you're in, and not have to split hairs about well, I'm a black today, I'm a lesbian tomorrow. Um, for me personally, I'm first and foremost black because that's what I encounter most often in life. I'm seen as a black woman. When my hair was shorter, I was seen as a black man. The lesbian part doesn't come until much, much later for me. So first and foremost, I'm black. For individuals who are younger, that may not be 00:21:00true. They are all things combined in who they are. And I wish I could say that I can do that. But I haven't, I haven't figured out how to finesse that.
So what does Bluegrass Black Pride do? We educate. We have programs, um, such asHIV AIDS, especially in straight African-American women, which is where the numbers are the highest right now. But across the board with African-Americans, also looking at, I'm trying to think of the various programs that we've done. Domestic violence, the same sex couples. What that looks like. What happens if the police are called? What happens if you go to court? That's one of the programs that we will be doing this spring, looking at how to sustain organizations because there have been African-American LGBTQ organizations in Kentucky and Lexington since forever, long before that 1901 case down in Caldwell County. They don't tend to last. And maybe that's the way it's been 00:22:00meant for it to be. But what we've done with Bluegrass Black Pride Incorporated is become incorporated. So hopefully we can stick around a little longer. About five years is usually the run, and hopefully we can stick around a little longer. And now there's the two organizations. Kentucky Black Pl- Kentucky Black Pride. And they're also becoming incorporated. Um, for some people, that's intimidating. And I've been asked, "Why do there need to be two black organizations?" I said, "Why do there need, why does there need to be more than one organization for white LGBTQ folks, or for lesbians, or for gays?" It's like, "It's not the same thing." Hm, check yourself. Check yourself before you make that statement again. Next year there might be a third organization or fourth African-American organization as long as there is a need and the constituents to sustain it. There will be these groups. You don't have to be in hiding. And I'm glad that there are two groups. I hope that these two groups 00:23:00will be around for a very long time because we do quite a service. With the other group, Kentucky Black Pride, they tend to serve a younger group, which we haven't been able to reach in th---, if you look at our membership, we are an older, um, group of members in Bluegrass Black Pride, and that's who we have tended to reach. They can reach the younger group, um, so much better than we ever have been able to. And this year we're going to be doing some projects together, like for Black History Month, which is just right around the corner. We're gonna be profiling African-American LGBTQ folk, folks in Lexington and having those post, reposted on the Notable Kentucky African-Americans page, and the on the UK African-American Studies page, and hopefully others will pick them up to say, "This is what we look like. This is who we are. And it's not just about our sexuality or our gender. We're doing quite a bit to contribute to, um, the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth as a whole, to Lexington. We work, we have families, we pay our taxes. We do the same things that most other people do." 00:24:00
POSTON: So you, you mentioned in, um, in the last couple of minutes, the, uh,predo-, the, the large number of, uh, or certainly larger than two, number of, of predominantly white LGBTQ groups in Lexington.
Have, how, what have your experiences been either personally or, or seeingothers find supportive spaces and ways to engage in those groups and maybe ways that's been more difficult?
JONES: I don't know that I'm the expert on this, but based on my personalinteractions, I have found all of the groups in Lexington to be open, meaning you're welcome to come. You're welcome to be a part of this organization. The 00:25:00problem comes in when it's the issues that they're tackling. OK. So, yeah, we're talking about HIV AIDS, but you need to narrow it down because when you're talking about African-Americans, it's a different thing. It's about having, um, the resources to take care of yourself, having the resources to get to the resources to take care of yourself.
Those disparities in housing and income and, um, socioeconomic access, theystill exist in a more detrimental way when your skin is black than when your skin is white. So just to say, "Yeah, we've got these resources." It takes more. An individual may not have a car, may need to take the bus. And it's not just with African-Americans. As for your lower income individuals, some of those same difficulties will be challenged. So, yes, having those resources, being welcoming, welcoming is great, but you got to dig down to the layers that still exist. We'd like to think that everything's wonderful. It's not. Those same 00:26:00prejudices, racisms, um, inter-sexuality difficulties. They still exist on top of all these other layers.
POSTON: So in a similar vein, uh, whether you're thinking specifically aboutyour, uh, um, part of your identity as a black woman, part of your identity as a lesbian, or just Reinette broadly. What spaces have you found most supportive in, in your life and perhaps in your time, even here at UK, and what spaces have you found maybe more challenging or most problematic?
JONES: Actually, the private spaces are still the most welcoming for me as ablack woman, lesbian, single mother now, and married to a woman. The private 00:27:00spaces are still the most welcoming. And I must say that that's probably true because I'm meeting people in similar circumstances and similar relationships and, uh, they have similar goals and ideas about life and what they want out of life. Hm. Ask your question one more time, please.
POSTON: So, the spaces here you found most welcoming and supportive and thespaces you found more challenging.
JONES: The spaces I have found more challenging. There's still issues betweenlesbians and gays. Um, it's real. The sexism is real. Depending on how you identify, um, challenging. I don't know that I've been around long enough to say that the challenges are pervasive across the board, but these are just my 00:28:00challenges. At UK, I enjoy the programs that your office puts on and I try to make at least two of them every semester. And that isn't necessarily a race or a gender challenge, it's, you have your programs in the afternoon. And if I come to work in the morning, I'm ready to go home by five o'clock and I'm not willing to stay after that. And I know your programs are for the students. Um, it's, as far as the faculty or staff or professional employees here. There's a big disconnect. Um, I don't know that we recognize each other and I don't know that we want to recognize each other. Like, can you actually name the number of African-American lesbian faculty on campus? I can't.
POSTON: It would be a small list for me.
JONES: It would be a small list. And I know there's more than the two or threethat I know. But why is that so? Or name the African-American gay men on campus. Or gay men, nonwhite gay men? I, I don't know who they are. Is this done on 00:29:00purpose? I don't think the university does it. I think we as individuals do it. It's who we feel most comfortable with.
POSTON: Some very poignant observations.
JONES: But I see those individuals and I know those individuals when I see them.And it's never been th-, th-, only one, one instance where it's been, "No, no, no, no, no. Don't. Don't. Like. I know that you're out and you're going to out me if you speak to me." And there's only been one incidence where I thought the person just freaked the hell out. I was like, "OK. You know, I'm not gonna speak to you. But, you know, you're pretty obvious here." (laughs) Anyway.
POSTON: So, uh, in your, in your time, and this doesn't have to be LGBTQ focusedthrough the lens through which you're, you're answering this, though it can be. Uh, tell us more about your time as a, as a student and now your time as a 00:30:00faculty member in the libraries.
JONES: My time being my experiences or just, OK.
I had a mission when I was an undergraduate here. I was going to get through theprogram. I took summer classes so that I could graduate early. As I said, I graduated in three years because I felt like I was older than a lot of the students. I had a child. I was working. I had things to do. So I missed out on a lot in terms of classroom gatherings. I didn't socialize a lot with the individuals in the class because I was taking classes during the day and I had to get to the class and then get back to work. And I didn't want to be late because I'd have to make that time up. So at the end of the three years, um, some of the things that they were talking about when it got close to graduation, and with me graduating early, most of those students were not, because they had a different kind of support. I was supporting myself. They had parents' support so they would stand another year or two. Um, I realized there was a lot that I 00:31:00had missed out on. Missed out on. Maybe that's not the right word. A lot that I had not participated in. And when the professor would say, "You know, you're in group studies and you're going to do this, this, and that." It was difficult for me to figure out, okay, how am I gonna meet with these students and get out of work and get a babysitter and, you know, participate in this group project? That was, that was tough.
Uh, once I started in the master's program and I was working full time at thatpoint, I had started in financial aid. My time was again tight, uh, even tighter, because I had to make sure that I got my daughter from the babysitter because I didn't have any extra money if she had to stay late. So it was a similar experience other than there were more mature students. And you tend to find older students in the library science program than some of your other master's programs. That was good, but it also was, um, being able to meet people who were in the same situation I was. They were taking classes in the middle of 00:32:00the day. They were working. They had families. They were older. Um, a lot of folks who worked for the government was in the program at that time. And I mean the state government. So I learned a lot more. The thing that I really appreciate about UK during those years was the ability to meet people from other places, to meet different kinds of people. And I'm using the word "kinds." But I met gays. I met lesbians, not only from the United States but from other countries, people who had completely different life experiences. That was probably the best part of my education. Um, having a babysitter who was from Indonesia and feeling comfortable leaving my daughter with her, who was a wonderful person in addition to being a really good babysitter. Having friends downstairs from, um, not from Saudi Arabia, but the other country south of Saudi Arabia that I'm blanking on right now, and trying to understand the rules that 00:33:00when my daughter had a birthday party, the boys couldn't attend. It was a girl's birthday party, but it was OK to send some of the food down for the boys. Just, it was wonderful. I cannot say that enough. UK opened my eyes to there being a much larger world than I had ever known before. Taking the different language and cultural classes which I didn't have to take, but I wanted to. Um, I don't know, I wanted to do a whole lot of things after that. I really did. As far as the classes, I enjoyed the classes. They got easier the longer I was at UK. And I learned that I can actually tell her what I did in the classroom and what I did in life based on what I was learning as a student here in the classroom as well as outside the classroom. We lived over in Shawnee Town, and it was like international city over there and they would have the potlucks that, you know it wasn't a UK organized thing. It was the people who lived there. And I remember the foods. Oh ho, there was a pasta salad, a pasta dish that the lady from 00:34:00Korea, a lady from Korea made that, I ate the whole bowl. I had never tasted anything like that, but it was actually a rice noodle. But that's the thing that I cherish from my years as a student at UK, was that learning experience and learning experiences outside the classroom, learning about people's country and cultures and why they do what they do.
POSTON: So as, uh, after your student years, as a faculty member, what havebeen, you know, if there are two or three most significant or proudest moments you've had as a professional here, what would those be?
JONES: First and foremost, the Notable Kentucky African-Americans Database,which actually took ten years to do because it was thought of as unnecessary, that if people really want to know information about African-Americans, they will come and go through the catalog and do the other things that other people 00:35:00did when they were doing research. And it turns out that, um, that process doesn't work when you're talking about African-Americans in and from Kentucky, because the information is scattered. Or at that time it was. It's embedded and we didn't have a "look inside a book" like we have now with Google or the databases that you could go in and pull out keywords. We had the card cata-, we had a card catalog. So once, uh, Notable Kentucky African-Americans got started, I was actually told that I had to give it up. And I thought, No, this is my research. Why do I have to give my research up? And as it turns out, the persons who was, who were telling me that was misinformed. So when I went to the regulations and said, it said, this is what the governing and administration regulations say about individual's research, and it's like, oh, as librarians and as faculty members, we don't always know the rules about research because 00:36:00our main thing with the libraries is service. And I'm talking about research. So we had to reeducate ourselves. We all did about this database. And once we did, then I got more support from the libraries. And that's when we won the national award back in 2009. But this was a very valuable resource. And now, you know, we're talking about three hundred thousand hits a year with this database and it's going on, what'd I say, 2003? It's going on fifteen years old. Wow. It's going on fifteen years old, so that's that's one of my absolute proudest. Um, you said two or three things.
POSTON: Well, uh, before, uh, maybe before you--
POSTON: --move on. Um, tell us a little more about exactly what the resource is.
JONES: OK. It's called Notable Kentucky African-Americans Database, which gotnicknamed by the Internet. I didn't give it the acronym "NKAA," folks on the Internet did, but it's a listing of people, places, events, uh, sometimes hoaxes 00:37:00or disclaimers about people in and from Kentucky who are African-American and the contributions that they've made to the state, um, inventors, uh, cooks, chefs, military, LGBTQ folks - not a lot of them - people still getting used to being out, but that's going to change- uh, education, schools, or the fact that Kentucky had the first libraries for African-Americans in the United States, first Carnegie libraries let me say, not necessarily the first libraries, and why that happened and how that is, um, related to the non-European libraries in South Africa and their support from Carnegie. Just the history that, I won't say it hadn't been written, but it hadn't been tied together in a way that you can see a continuum of what's happening from Kentucky to other states, from Kentucky to other countries. Yeah, that's what it does.
And the hoaxes, um, like there was a, supposedly, a giant who was from Kentucky00:38:00who was in the circus. The man was actually from the island of Mayne. In, uh, in, uh England. But that was one of the stories getting told. Or George Washington's nanny, nurse, maid, slave, whatever. And that's another hoax. Just all kinds of stories. "Negrito" - um, a student came in to ask about the jockeys in Kentucky being negritos. And I didn't know what an negrito was. I thought, what the heck is that? And having to go and talk to people in the Spanish department and Anthropology department, and get a better understanding of what the word negrito meant and how it's used in academia, and to understand why the student thought the jockeys were negritos. They're, you're short in stature, dark skin, uh, afro type hair, individuals who are usually in the south east, um, south eastern countries and not necessarily in Kentucky. But what happened was this one gentleman who was a slave who's, I think had been slave in 00:39:00Tennessee, ended up in Kentucky. And the person who wrote the story about him called him a negrito. And so the student, which was really, really some some smart thinking on the student's part, thought, "Oh, that's why they had these jockeys in Kentucky, it's because there were the slaves who were descendents of negritos who were small in, uh, stature, who didn't carry much weight on the horses." And I thought, Oh, I almost wish it was true, but it wasn't.
POSTON: That's, uh, a pretty rich story.
JONES: Um, a lot of the story, most of the stories in the database are richstories. It's not about who did who wrong. I mean, I could write a book about it, but there's not really been books written about who did who wrong. And this is not about getting even. And I had someone at U of L say, "Why did you do this?" And that's-did you just read some of the entries? This is not trying to put shame on Kentucky as a state or Kentucky as a university, University of Kentucky. This is about bringing this history forward and saying there's 00:40:00another, um, another depth of history here that needs to be told about Kentucky. And there are many pockets of history that need to be told, do not get me wrong. This just happens to be the one that I am passionate about. Uh, ten years down the road, it may be somebody else's passion, bringing forward that history to be included in the history books. And this is what has happened when people write about Kentucky, especially if they want-wanting to talk about African-Americans. They're pulling from the database. And this hasn't happened since the end of slavery around the late eighteen hundreds when, um, African-American encyclopedias were being written. And it was folks from Kentucky who would help writing those encyclopedias, those articles. Um, it was folks from Kentucky who were being included. But once you get to the nineteen hundreds, we start to disappear. And the reason we start to disappear is because of the outward migration of African-Americans. Also, there was the, um, the bill that paid for 00:41:00African-Americans to get their higher degrees outside the state. So you've got the state of Kentucky sending the most talented, the most brilliant people outside the state to be educated. They're not coming back. So we have this out-migration, uh, a bang - a brain drain taking place in this state. So my point is to bring it back so that we get included in those history books, in those text books, in those folklores, in those stories that we're not. "Oh, there's not that many African-Americans in Kentucky, so there's not really a story," which was part of what happened when I proposed this database at the beginning of that ten year period of trying to start it. So, yeah.
POSTON: The, the, the idea that there aren't that many--
JONES: --there aren't that many, uh, there wasn't that much history. And even Iunderestimated how much history there actually was. Rob Akon was the, um, co-creator of NKAA, and he asked me, "how often are we gonna be updating this?" 00:42:00Because it started out as a Web page. And I said, "Oh, about once every six months." And I thought that's what it was going to be. The minute we launched in NKAA, we started hearing from people all over the United States, people related to people in Kentucky, "Um, here's this information." And the reason for that has to do with the early schools in Kentucky. It has to do with a program called, um, something like SLAK: Student Library Assistants of Kentucky, where they train students to do bibliography from junior high to high school, to do research, um, how to evaluate the text, how to evaluate the histories. And so you have this, this population of folks who are very well trained at how to collect this research. They're now dispersed all over the country. And so they're giving back.
POSTON: That is a pretty cool process.
JONES: It is. It really is. I really don't think the libraries, other00:43:00university, realizes the value and someone asked me one time, "What's the- what would you- if you had to put a price tag on this database, what would you say it's worth?" And I couldn't do it. And I asked the then dean about it. She said, "No, no, don't put a price on it." And I was like, why? She said, "Because when you start to put a price on it, then you're gonna get people wanting to purchase it. And it's a free source." And I'd say, yeah, it's free. It's going to stay in Kentucky. If it doesn't stay in Kentucky, I'm hoping that it goes to someplace like the African-American Museum in D.C. or to the Smithsonian. And unfortunately, so many of those-these types of histories have left the state. They're someplace else. So now we have to ask permission to use our own resources. But that's a story for another time, Lance. Yeah, that makes me tear up, too. The way we've given, given our history away and hopefully NKAA and 00:44:00anything that comes after this, we'll bring it back to, say, Kentucky-it's made me proud of Kentucky. Before I wouldn't tell people I was from Kentucky. You know, when I go to conferences and things, uh, unless they really asked me a pointed question of where exactly are you from, I did not say I was from Kentucky because I knew I was gonna get that, "Oh, yeah, that inbred state, shoeless, not real intelligent, state, um, ranks in the lower, what, five in terms of statewide education, um, uh, K-through-12."
And then I started to work on this database and I thought, Wait a minute.Kentucky has had a lot more going on than people know about. And if I know this in doing this database, then the state as a whole has had a lot more going on than we brag about. We don't brag about what we have or what we do. You know, if we were from Texas, which is where my wife is from, the sun would come up. We 00:45:00brag about it. Sun go down. We brag about it. You know? Well, we really don't. We're very, um, modest. I'm gonna use the word "modest" about the contributions from this state. Anyway.
POSTON: It's a special place.
JONES: It can be very special, but it is as valid and as valuable as any of theother states and has made as much of a contribution to this country as any other state. You know, uh, I'm not gonna get started. Go ahead--
POSTON: --no, no, no--
JONES: --what else you wanna ask--
POSTON: --go ahead--
JONES: --I was just gonna say, when you when you talk about the number ofAfrican-American servicemen during the civil war, Kentucky was number two behind Louisiana. So when you're talking about, "Kentucky hasn't done anything." Yes, we have. Anything that has ever happened in this country. Kentucky has been there. Um, Lottie M- Lottie, uh, Gee, I think was her name, was an actress. She's one of those people that when people talk about her, there's no mention of 00:46:00Kentucky. So many times that happens when someone's being recognized. If they're from, Kentucky, somehow it just doesn't get mentioned that they were born and raised in Kentucky. She actually wasn't born in Kentucky. She was born in Virginia. But she grew up in Kentucky, in Newport. And, I don't know, I think Kentucky needs to be mentioned each and every time, which is what I do. And you've seen some, some of my Facebook posts, and I say, "Aha, that person's from Kentucky. Did you know that? Ah, that person lived in Kentucky and did this in Kentucky," because I think it needs to be known. Yeah.
I love Kentucky. You -------(??)------- to say that, because Kentucky is as muchmine as it is anybody else's who lives here.
POSTON: Well, so that ended us on, on part, or your first example is-do you haveanother example of something that--
JONES: --oh, see, I can talk about NKAA for, all day, um--
POSTON: --that, that is a special special part of your life.
JONES: The book that I wrote, "Library Service to African-Americans in00:47:00Kentucky," back in 2000, I believe it was. Um, you know, I did a lot of crying when I wrote that book because when I went to Library Science School, I didn't learn any of that. I didn't learn about the Carnegie libraries and why there was segregated libraries and the impact that the, uh, Carnegie colored libraries in Louisville had, one of which is still open, the Western branch opened in 1905. Um, just learning what was going on and this whole idea of educating individuals, and the power, um, that you can take away from someone by not allowing, allowing them to be educated, to read, to, to do critical thinking, to, um, to do work with others, to share ideas, how detrimental that can be to an entire population. Um, and I didn't. Like I said, I did a lot of crying when I realized that individuals in the community were scraping together whatever they could: moneys to have schools and churches, to have schools wherever they 00:48:00could, to have libraries, to have library materials. And someone once asked me, "So, you know, were there black authors at the turn of the century?" Well, yes, there were. There really, really were. And, you know, I'm reading about Berea College and the whole thing with them having to become segregated after being, uh, desegregated. I don't know if that's the right term, but a school where you had blacks and whites learning together, and what the librarian tried to do in terms of, um, not only acquiring, but making sure that those books made it to the Lincoln Institute once the institution became segregated. And her role, which I don't think she's ever hailed for, that, that she played in making sure that there was a library and that those materials were in the library are to the, um, extent that she went, uh, went to to get those books that were written about African-Americans and by African-Americans at the turn of the century. Yeah. I dig deep, I-I dig real deep and I dig deep in terms of African-Americans 00:49:00in history. I'm not a historian in terms of my education or my degrees, but I think I'm one of the best historians when you talk, start talking about blacks in Kentucky.
POSTON: Uh, yeah. That-I-there's a lot of follow up here for me.
JONES: OK, so--
POSTON: --after the oral history.
JONES: So NKAA, the book. Um, oh, I forgot about this. And I forget the exactyear, but there had not been a national conference in Kentucky since 1917 when the American Library Association came to Kentucky, uh, right before we got involved in World War One. And I wish I could remember the year, but it's been a few years. I must say, in the 2000s, we brought the, brought a national conference to Kentucky and merged it with several other conferences and had our biggest librarians conference in Louisville. And I was a major player in making that 00:50:00happen. And I'm very proud of that. Hopefully we can do that again. And we don't have to wait another hundred years.
Yeah. So that's three things. Uh, two more. I'm proud to be out UK. I'm veryproud to be out. I never, ever in my life, Lance, thought that would happen. But it's allowed me to meet people. It's allowed me to gain access to spaces, some of those closed spaces that I talk about and maybe help somebody who doesn't want to be out or wants to come out or wants something different.
And I'm sorry, there goes my nose again, I apologize for that. [sniffs] Well, Ihope she can cut this out. [sniffs] And it's not because I'm crying or because I'm sad, but because it's that time of year. And my apologies, please.
But, um, being able to be out on this campus, I was told, "Don't do it. Um,00:51:00it's, it's not gonna be safe." I have never, ever found it to be unsafe on this campus, to be out as an African-American lesbian. Then maybe that's just me. I cannot say that that would be the same circumstances for anybody else. But I'm really proud to be able to do that, to be able to give back to others regardless of what their race may be.
How many is that, four?
POSTON: I think that was four. I think you might have made up five, though.
JONES: OK, I'll say I made up the fifth one. Combined number four. That's that.
POSTON: So you just said something though that was, uh, that they'd beinterested in a different way. You said you're proud to be out on campus, but there were people who were telling you it's dangerous. It won't be safe at least.
POSTON: Um, can you tell us more about, about those voices and where you think00:52:00that was coming from?
JONES: Actually it was not African-American lesbians or gay men telling me this.It was the white lesbian saying, "Oh, no, you can't do that," that I met through Kat because I-I didn't really know any of them. And she was also warned, "You shouldn't date her. It-it could not be safe for you because she's black. And because she's let a rule of being straight. And you really need to find someone whose "out" is out as you are, and white and a lesbian." Now, I got that from my family. It's like, "Can't you just be bisexual?" I'm like, Hmm, no, I don't think so. "Well, can't you at least find a black lesbian? Why do you have to- and couldn't you just find somebody from Kentucky? Why'd you have to find this white woman from Texas?" And I thought, I don't know the answers to the "why." But I know what I feel in my heart. And I am madly in love with this woman. And she could be paisley with plaid hair, and I'd still be in love with her.
But I don't know that - they weren't friends who were telling me thisnecessarily about campus. They, they were people who thought that I needed to 00:53:00play by the rules to become a part of their clique. And if I was going to play by the rules, then I had to do these things, like not be so out or not be out at all. But I-I didn't know any other African-American lesbians on campus, and still don't know that many.
POSTON: So as a part of these conversations, either that you're having withyourself or that people or are having with you and, and you know, as you, you are coming out, of being more out and creating a relationship. Um, did religion play any role in that at all?
JONES: No. Religion has never been a big part of my life. Um, and I can also sayreligion has never determined anything that I wanted to do in life. And I'm not anti-religious. I don't mess with other people's religions. At the same time, I 00:54:00don't want people trying to layer their religions on me or their religious thoughts. That's a big no no for Reinette.
POSTON: So as we think about Reinette in 2018, um, you've told us, um, several,uh, rich stories about your proudest moments, but either in your professional life or your personal life, um, what excites you? What are you up to now and what excites you about that, about the future?
JONES: Hmm. I don't know if I can put it all in words because, um, what excitesme about the future?
The sun coming up.
Um, the-the, I tell you one of the things that really excites me, how people00:55:00come together when there are bills being proposed to put LGBTQ folks back in the closet or to say that they don't have to be treated fairly in terms of housing and employment, that there are people standing up saying, "No, you're not going to do this to me," that I can walk down the street with my wife and hold her hand. And people are screaming things at me because they think they have the right to treat me in any kind of way they want to or because me as a black person and as a lesbian; well, you know, I can hit you two times now instead of one, um, that I feel empowered to stand up and say, "Not only are you not going to treat me this way, but you're not going to treat others this way either." I haven't always felt empowered to do that.
My fight, first and foremost, was for black folks, equality for individuals who00:56:00were getting a bad deal because there was something different about him in terms of race, in terms of abilities, in terms of income. Because when we grew up in the projects, it wasn't just the black people in the projects, it was the poor white people in the projects as well. And you had to stick together because there'd be some crazy stuff sometimes jumping off. I don't know how much you know about projects. But it could be fun also in the projects. But as a lesbian standing up, that was brand new for me. Um, the first time I saw somebody stand up was in one of my social work classes. I, I didn't finish the social work program. And this woman, who was a lesbian and I don't know her name or I didn't finish the class, but she stood up and took on the whole class, like, "Wait a damn minute. Oh, no, no, no, no. We're not gonna have this." I was like, Oh, wow. She would actually stand up and say that for lesbians, for gay men? I'd 00:57:00never seen anything like that. I learned that at UK. And I thought, Who is she? And it was from that moment on that I learned that there were LGBTQ organizations on campus, which I didn't know that there was, um, these monthly meetings which I went to, um, a few of them, maybe two. But there were no blacks. To-the blacks did gatherings in other ways on campus. And someone told me there was actually an African-American lesbian organization on campus in the 70s. It was not a former-formal organization. And she didn't really remember the names of some of the students. I was like, So these groups have been happening all the time. And that's what I mean when I'm talking about the contributions that are being made that haven't always been recognized.
POSTON: Yeah. It's the first time I've ever heard--
JONES: --I didn't know that--
POSTON: --about that.
JONES: So there's been foundations being built. That's my hope. That's what I'm00:58:00hoping will always be there. If we're not making progress and we're standing still, then OK. The foundations aren't being torn down, that we can still build. Maybe next year, depending on who's in office, depending on, on what new bills come along in terms of healthcare or employment or unemployment even, and in terms of assistance for for families, whether it be a single parent, a two parent family, uh, respect, even in the church. And I'm not somebody who goes to church, but can I take my family to church? So far, I haven't found a church where I could do that. And let me explain something to you when I'm talking about the churches. Um, me being out is one thing. OK, so I can show up in black churches. "Don't be too out." That's OK. But when I bring my white wife to these black churches, then a whole something else happens like, "Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, what's what's going on here?" We have found the same thing with white 00:59:00churches. Oh, sure, she could come. But when I show up with her, hmmmm. OK. That's not real cool. There are those churches that are very affirming, confirming, and welcoming. But there are a lot that are not.
But I have hope. I have hope that something is changing because regardless ofwhat's said in those churches and those other unwelcoming spaces, you can still see that there are those ardent LGBTQ organizations. There are people who are out, the people who show the faces, the people who stand up. The people are not going away. You're not going to put us back in the closet. You're not gonna put us back into Jim Crow. You're not-you're not gonna make us disappear. LGBTQ folks have always been around. They've always been around in Kentucky. They've always been around in Lexington. And we're not going away.
POSTON: So as we, as we wrap up--01:00:00
POSTON: --our conversation. What do you wish we'd asked that we didn't? What doyou want to share that we haven't talked about? It doesn't just have to be one thing.
JONES: I cannot think of anything right now. When I get back upstairs, I'llthink of a million things that you, that you didn't ask. Um, I'm sorry, Lance. I don't have anything right now. I just want to mention that I saw that there's going to be a meeting with the, um, diversity Provost with the faculty coming up.
POSTON: Uh, right.
JONES: I don't know if I've ever attended that. And when I read that thismorning, I thought, Why do I not go to these?
POSTON: Well, and a part of that is it's still developing. There, uh, that'sonly happened once before, at least in my time here.
JONES: Oh, okay, I didn't realize it had only happened once. We, we really don't01:01:00come together, with the main focus being LGBTQ plus, asterisk, whatever. We, we really don't.
POSTON: Yeah, I think that certainly in my experience is a--
JONES: --And when we do, it is a strange affair. It is a very strange affair.And I think probably 75 percent of that is trust. Uh, that's my interpretation. Why do we not come together more? And why are we so tense when we do?
POSTON: Yeah. I hope some of that just means, you know, practice makes it better.
JONES: I hope so too--
POSTON: --The more you do it more--
JONES: --I really, really do. And I, I don't know that it's animosity orprejudice. It's just trust. You know, who is this person, what what does he or 01:02:00she want? What are they about? You know, I've got the space where I'm feeling real good where I am and don't necessarily want you to evade it or muck it up, and I use the word ---(??)---- Muck it up, for me.
POSTON: We'll make sure we get that--
POSTON: --when we get transcribed. (laughs)
JONES: But no, I don't have any burning questions or answers that you didn'task. I love me. I love my family. Did I mention I have a daughter?
POSTON: You did a couple times, but you-do you want to tell us more about your daughter?
JONES: Oh, I had my daughter when I was in high school, um, still trying tofigure things out. But I knew after I had one child that I wasn't going to be somebody who was gonna be having a lot of children. That experience was one to always remember. (laughs)
I love my daughter. I do. I do. I've - was talking with someone on Facebook andshe had posted about this 16 year old mother. I think it may may have been one 01:03:00of those NPR Friday programs. And being unsure and all the things she had been told about, "You're this, you're that, you're this, you can't possibly be a mother." But if you look in the census records, there have been 16 year old mothers dating way back. So to say you can't be a mother - and maybe it's not the ideal time to be a mother - but once you're pregnant and you decide you're gonna have the child and keep it, there are a lot of possibilities. And that's one of the things I tell folks. I was 16 when I had my daughter. I was 15 when I got pregnant. I went to school. I got two degrees. I'm now a faculty member here at the University of Kentucky. And I'm not just taking, but I'm giving back in culture, bluegrass, black pride. I did- I do this database. There's more to me than some 16 year old who had a child. You grow. You develop. You're as much a part of this community as any other 16 year old mother or 17 or 18 or 19. You 01:04:00did things in a way that may have made it more difficult for you. But that balances out in the long run if you just stick with it, whatever you decide to do with it. You know, give the child up for adoption. You know, life doesn't end at 16. Life doesn't end at 16 for LGBTQ folks. And those were some, some tough times.
And I can remember just having these horrible crushes and thinking, I'm not evengoing to acknowledge that, that I have a crush. That's just a friend. I will not acknowledge to anything that is happening to me, happening to me physically. I'm just not claiming knowledge that, that, that girl is, "Oh, la, la." No, no, no. She's just a beautiful girl.
I mean, I psyched myself out and I'm looking back and and laughing now that Iprobably wasn't doing a very good job of hiding even then, because you know when it just comes out of you like, Oh, yeah! And you don't control it. It just, it just happens. And, and I think about when I was younger and, and, and my 01:05:00sister's friend who had the hips that were a gift from somebody's god. And I'm six years old and I just reach out and put my hands on her hips and think, This is heaven. And my sister is freaking out, like, "Will you stop that! Take your hands off of her!" And she was like, "Oh that little girl's funny." And I thought it was funny. You know, Can I just touch your hips one more time [laughs] and getting scolded, and schooled, and a whippin, like, "You don't do that. You don't put your hands on women. You don't touch women. You are a girl. Girls like boys." You know, I'd fallen hard for a little girl in the first grade that just, oh, she jumped up on the desk and flipped - I wrote a short story about this and actually won a short story prize - flips her head up over her dress and does this dance that she saw at a juke joint. I'm only in the first 01:06:00grade, but I think, "Oh my god, that is the most lovely sight I've ever seen."
And telling my brother, you know, because he had to pick us up after school,"You're not gonna believe what she did today! Oh, I love her." And my brother's like, "Stop it. Boys like girls and girls like boys. Girls don't like girls and boys don't like boys." I'm thinking to myself, He is so confused in the head. What is he talking this mumbo jumbo about? You know? I like that girl. (laughs) Just a few stories from childhood.
And she ended up leaving before first grade was out, and oh--
POSTON: --Oh, no--
JONES: --Yeah, I thought that, too. Lance. "Oh, no." And it was a segregatedschool. I'm glad the teacher didn't hear me say that because I probably would've got another whipping for just thinking that this girl doing this dance on top of the desk just, when her dress flipped up over her head is, Whoa! (laughs)
POSTON: Wild first-- JONES: --She got a whipping for that. Hmm?01:07:00
POSTON: --wild first grade classroom.
JONES: Yeah. The piece is called um, "Wild Love First Day" or something likethat. And that was the first day, I mean, you know, in those segregated schools like in Paris, all the black kids in the city went to one school in one classroom. So you had a classroom with 45 children, one teacher. And, you know, she was audited. She actually taught my mother. That's how long this woman had been teaching. So by the time we got there, she was a little long in the tooth. And probably didn't have the same control as she had had forty years before. So D.A.'s up on the desk doing the dance and I'm like, (makes an awestruck noise). (laughs)
Okay, Lance, I'm , uh--
POSTON: --I think that's a perfect way to end. (laughs)
JONES: Oh, OK. I think so too. (laughs)
POSTON: Thank you.
JONES: Thank you.