Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Walter Bradley, Jr., April 16, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Introduction / Pilgrim Baptist Church's establishment

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Partial Transcript: --on April 16th, 1991, at Midway College.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about the building he lives in, which used to be Midway Elementary School, and the reasons he bought the building. He discusses the building's history, which includes serving as Pilgrim Baptist Church. He talks about Pilgrim's early history including its construction by a man named J.K. Polk, named after the U.S. president. Pilgrim Baptist Church became the first Black Baptist church in Midway, Kentucky in 1872 and remained in the original building until 1892. Bradley also talks about people such as his grandfather and another woman whom he knew attended church at Pilgrim.

Keywords: 1800s; African American churches; Apartments; Black Baptist churches; Black history; Black history in Kentucky; Buildings; Buying buildings; Churches; Custodians; D. Lehman and Sons; Deeds; Horse and buggies; Horse-drawn carriages; J. K. Polk; Kentucky history; Laundromats; Midway Elementary School; Nineteenth century; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Schools; Sunday schools

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; Baptist church buildings; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Mortonsville (Ky.); Religion; Winchester (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Mortonsville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.971944, -84.756389
GPS: Winchester (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.994722, -84.184167
00:05:48 - First African American churches in the Midway area

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Partial Transcript: Wh-what, uh, year were the other Black churches built?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses some of the first African American churches in the Midway area including St. Matthews, from which J.K. Polk recruited people for Pilgrim Baptist Church. He also discusses African American churches in the Midway area established before the Civil War, Pleasant Green and First Baptist in Lexington, which are currently fighting over a deed. He says one of them is the oldest Black church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Keywords: African American churches; African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Allegheny Mountains; Black churches; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Churches; Civil War; First Baptist Church; J.K. Polk; Lewis Letig Pinkerton; Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Pilgrim Baptist Church; Pleasant Green Baptist Church; St. Matthew AME Church; St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Church; Willis Polk; Woodford Sun (Newspaper)

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Nineteenth century; Religion; Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
00:09:59 - Clarification of years churches were established

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Partial Transcript: So after the Civil War, then, uh, it was possible for people to have more religious diversity and establish this Pilgrim Church and then the--

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses Dr. Lewis Letig Pinkerton, who established Midway College and created Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Bradley disputes a claim by a telephone book saying a certain church is the first Black church west of the Allegheny Mountains by saying it was either Pleasant Green or First Baptist in Lexington. Bradley confirms that Pinkerton founded a second Christian church in 1852 because Midway Christian Church moved buildings. Bradley says Pleasant Green was founded in 1798, which was earlier than other churches.

Keywords: African American history; Allegheny Mountains; Black churches; Black history; Church buildings; Civil War; Eighteenth century; First Baptist Church; Kentucky history; Lewis Pinkerton; Methodist A.M.E.; Methodist African Methodist Episcopal; Midway Christian Church; Midway College; Nineteenth century; Photographs; Pleasant Green Church; Robert Botkin; Telephone books

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Religion

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Allegheny Mountains
Map Coordinates: 38.699722, -79.532778
Hyperlink:
00:13:13 - Black population in Midway in the nineteenth century

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Partial Transcript: Still, it's been interesting to me that such a little town as Midway would have three Black churches.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley explains the Black population in the nineteenth century in Midway must have been large because Pilgrim Church had nine hundred members. Brighttown, Zion Hill, and White Sofa are small towns people might have come from to go to Pilgrim Church. He also says that Pilgrim Church began a mission in White Sofa called Abuela that lasted until the mid-forties.

Keywords: Abuela Mission; African American churches; African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black churches; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Brighttown; Midway (Ky.); Pilgrim Church; White Sofa; Zion Hill

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Religion

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
00:14:23 - Split fellowship / Church building history / Church building comparison

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Partial Transcript: And this was the church that your family belonged to.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says his mother was Baptist while his father belonged to the A.M.E. church. Bradley says he partly bought the Pilgrim Baptist Church building due to wanting to protect part of history. He talks about how people before him had used the building. He compares his building to one in Mortonsville.

Keywords: A.M.E. Church; African American history; African Methodist Episcopal Church; Baptist; Baptist Church; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Bluegrass; Church buildings; Kentucky history; Midway (Ky.); Mortonsville (Ky.); Waldens

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; African Methodist Episcopal Church; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Mortonsville (Ky.); Religion

GPS: 38.150556, -84.683056
Map Coordinates: Midway (Ky.)
GPS: Mortonsville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.971944, -84.756389
00:16:39 - Buying the church building / Turning the previous church building into a school

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Partial Transcript: Now you say that some time about 1892, uh, thereabouts, the church then built its present building--

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses Pilgrim Baptist Church purchasing its present building, which happened in 1892. He says Woodford County's authorities might have contacted the church to help them establish the school by purchasing the original church building and turning it into Midway Elementary School.

Keywords: African American history; Black churches; Black history; Illiteracy; Kentucky history; Midway Elementary School; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Woodford County (Ky.)

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; Religion; Woodford County (Ky.)

GPS: Woodford County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.04, -84.74
00:19:23 - Education in Midway and surrounding area

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Partial Transcript: Where did Black children go to school before that building was purchased?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses the options the African American population in Midway had for school. He talks about a school on Smith Street that children attended before Midway Elementary School's establishment. He says other people went to a school in Simpsonville called Lincoln, which was a boarding school of which Whitney Young, Sr., was the headmaster. Bradley explains that Black children had to leave town to get an education past elementary school and if they did not get into the boarding school, they had no other options. He says Kentucky State University used to be a high school, so some people attended there, but people had to have a degree of wealth to attend there. Bradley says he had wanted to attend Kentucky State University for pharmacy, but his parents could not afford it.

Keywords: African American history; Black history; Boarding schools; Buildings; Church buildings; Civil War; Elementary schools; Frankfort (Ky.); High schools; Illiteracy; Kentucky State University; Kentucky history; Lexington (Ky.); Lincoln Institute (Kentucky); Mandatory education; Midway (Ky.); Pilgrim Baptist Church; Post-Civil War; School buildings; Schools; Simpsonville (Ky.); Smith Street; Versailles (Ky.); Whitney Young, Sr.; Youths

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Boarding schools; College students--Economic conditions; Education; Education--Study and teaching; Elementary schools; Families.; Frankfort (Ky.); High schools; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Middle schools; Midway (Ky.); Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Simpsonville (Ky.); Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:24:58 - Advancement for the Black community in Midway / Electricity installed in the elementary school

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Partial Transcript: Well, then, you know, that must have meant quite a, uh, lot to the Black community here in the turn of the century while we're talking about in the 1890s sometime when this building became available to become Midway Elementary, that was a big step up in opportunity, then, for Midway children.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses the impact Midway's elementary school had on the Black community. He thinks education became mandatory around when the 20th century began. He remembers when they first put electricity in the school building and says installing electricity was conducted by people who may not have been certified technicians. Bradley says he might have had an interest in electricity as a child due to toys his father gave him and observing the school obtain electricity.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Batteries; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Electricians; Electricity; Elementary schools; Johnson and Smith Catalogs; Kentucky history; Lights; Midway Elementary School; Nineteenth century; Schools; Technicians; Twentieth century

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Education; Elementary schools; Kentucky State University; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Nineteenth century; Schools

GPS: Kentucky State University
Map Coordinates: 38.2, -84.858333
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
Hyperlink:
00:28:38 - Description of the Midway Elementary School

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what did the school look like when you were a little fellow?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says Midway Elementary School was a large frame building with weather boarding, which looked the same when he had purchased it. He discusses changes he made to the building and how it looks different from the past. He also talks about how the building's construction was funded and how many grades, teachers, principals, and students the school had.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Buildings; Classrooms; Coal stoves; Education; Elementary schools; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Kentucky history; New Deal; Principals; Roosevelt Administration; School buildings; Teachers; Works Progress Administration (WPA)

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Education; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
00:31:36 - E.W. Bates' teaching and activities at the school

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Partial Transcript: That was, uh, one of the high moments, especially when I come out of the eighth grade.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about E.W. Bates, one of his teachers who also coached many sports and ran a May Day celebration. He talks about Bates' background living in Harrodsburg, being a Kentucky State University student, moving to Midway, marrying one of Bradley's cousins, and becoming a minister. Bradley says though Bates was energetic when he was young, he is less mobile now as he has experienced strokes.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Basketball; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Choirs; Discus throwing; E.W. Bates; Elementary schools; Football; High jumping; High schools; Javelin throwing; Kentucky State University; Kentucky history; May Day celebrations; Midway High School; Ministers; Schools; Simmons High School; Sports; Table tennis

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Ball games; Elementary schools; Harrodsburg (Ky.); High schools; Jeffersonville (Ind.); Kentucky State University; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Minorities in sports; Schools; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Sports; Teachers; Teaching; Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Jeffersonville (Ind.)
Map Coordinates: 38.295556, -85.731389
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Harrodsburg (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.763889, -84.846111
00:35:51 - Descriptions of educators Ruby King, Rose Irene Black, and Jesse Bean

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember anything about the other teacher?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about the other teachers at Midway Elementary School, Rose Irene Black and Ruby King. He says Jesse Bean was the principal at the time. He talks about King's return to Lexington to become a pianist at Shiloh Baptist Church and Black's accomplished artistry, which she used to help Bradley and his brother decorate Pilgrim Baptist Church. He also talks about Bean's brother.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Art; Artists; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Churches; E.W. Bates; Education; Elementary schools; High schools; Jesse Bean; Kentucky history; Musicians; Pianists; Pianos; Rose Irene Black; Ruby King; Schools; Shiloh Baptist Church; Simmons High School

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Education; Elementary schools; High schools; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Schools; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Teachers; Teaching

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
00:40:06 - E.W. Bates' contribution to the school

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Partial Transcript: Now you told me that, that Bates uh, Mr. Bates, had, uh, organized, um, Negro History.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about his teacher, E.W. Bates, who did things for Midway Elementary School such as teaching and organizing sports, teaching Black history, and organizing chapel service. He talks about the "Bradley Trio," which consisted of Bradley and his brother and sister, and how they helped Bates. He talks about the speakers Bates would have come in and the spirituals they would sing. He describes how Bates impacted the students through the sports and history they learned about.

Keywords: A.M.E. Churches; African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; African Methodist Episcopal Church; Basketball; Black history; Black history education; Black people in Kentucky; Carter G. Woodson; Chapel services; Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s; Classrooms; E.W. Bates; Education; Integration; Kentucky history; Mammoth Insurance Company; Midway (Ky.); Midway Elementary School; Reading; Religious services; School integration; Schools; Spirituals; Table tennis

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Civil rights; African Americans--Civil rights--Kentucky; African Americans--Civil rights--Southern States; African Americans--Race identity.; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions--1964-1975.; African Americans--Social conditions--To 1964.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; African Americans--Southern States.; Civil rights movements--United States; Kentucky--History; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Woodson, Carter Godwin, 1875-1950.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
00:52:22 - E.W. Bates' career / Changes in schools due to integration / Church building history

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Partial Transcript: Let me see, he stayed here, let me see, throughout the time I was going to high school, he was still at, at Midway, here at Midway.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about his teacher, E.W. Bates' life after Bradley left to attend Simmons High School in Lexington. He talks about how integration affected the schools the children in Midway attended. He then talks about how he acquired the church and the parts of Pilgrim Baptist Church's history that he possesses. Bradley mentions final thoughts such as how he saw people install the first water fountain into the school and how the children would have to leave the school periodically for dynamite blasts across the street.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Blasting; Church buildings; Church conventions; Dynamite; E.W. Bates; Education; Elementary schools; High schools; Kentucky history; Midway Elementary School; Preambles; School buildings; Schools; Simmons High School; Water fountains

Subjects: African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Social conditions--To 1964.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Integration; Kentucky--History; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Progress.; Race relations--Kentucky; Race relations--Kentucky--Lexington; School integration--Kentucky; Segregation in education--Kentucky; Segregation in education.; Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
00:58:38 - Celebrations at the school as fundraisers

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Partial Transcript: Back to the, the school for a, a minute, did--were there other functions that could be held in the school, like some dancing or parties or anything?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley describes the musical revue during the night of May Day, which included an orchestra, joke-telling, and folk songs. He explains part of the purpose for these celebrations was to raise money for a school fund. He says since there were no custodians, the students cleaned the school, repaired windows, and made fires in coal stoves.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Celebrations; Churches; Comedy; Community activities; Elementary schools; Folk songs; Jokes; Kentucky history; May Day; Musical revues; Orchestras; Raising funds; Raising money; Repairing; Schools

Subjects: African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Education; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Neighborliness; Schools

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:02:45 - Bringing lunch to school or going home for lunch

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Partial Transcript: Did--in, in through the thirties, then, did, did you children always go home for lunch, or did you bring lunch?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says most children at his school brought their lunch but some, like Bradley and his siblings, would go home to eat lunch. He notes that most mothers were at home during that era until World War Two.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Food; Gender roles; Great Depression; Kentucky history; Lunches; Midway (Ky.); Sexual division of labor; World War II

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Depressions--1929; Education; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Schools; Sexual division of labor.; World War, 1939-1945.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:03:55 - E.W. Bates' oratorical contests

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Partial Transcript: Today is April twenty-third.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses the oratorical contests that E.W. Bates would lead, which involved memorizing a passage and performing it with gestures. Judges would determine the winners, and the winners would win prizes.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Contests; Debates; Debating; Debating clubs; Julius Caesar; Kentucky history; McGuffey Readers; Oratorical contests; Orators; Prayers; Scripture; Shakespeare; Speeches; Stages

Subjects: African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Education; Elementary schools; Kentucky--History; McGuffey Reader Collection (Library of Congress); Midway (Ky.); Oral communication; Religion; Schools; Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:12:24 - Attending Pilgrim Baptist Church / Building and funding the church building

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Partial Transcript: Should we move on now to the, uh, Pilgrim Baptist Church?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley discusses how his mother, sister, and brother would go to Pilgrim Baptist Church and would attend Sunday school. He talks about how the current church still looks modern today. He says the church originally had service every other Sunday because its pastor, J.K. Polk, also served the Baptist church in Mortonsville. He talks about how the congregation had to do what they could, including selling their possessions, to create the new church.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Church services; Churches; J.K. Polk; Kentucky history; Sunday schools; Woodford Sun (Newspaper)

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Families.; Family histories.; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Mortonsville (Ky.); Religion

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Mortonsville (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.971944, -84.756389
01:17:18 - Pastor J.K. Polk and the establishment of Pilgrim Baptist Church

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Partial Transcript: What, what other stories have you heard about the early church?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about J.K. Polk's history as pastor of the church in Mortonsville and the creator of Pilgrim Baptist Church in 1871. Bradley mentions seeing horse-drawn carriages at the church when he was young. He talks about how the land the church was built on was called Haydensville because a man named Hayden purchased land from the railroad company and sold it in tracts.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Baptist churches; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Churches; Deeds; Haydensville (Ky.); Horse-drawn carriages; J.K. Polk; Kentucky history; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Railroad companies; Railroads

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.); Religion

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:23:49 - Changes in the church building / Children's events / President of the church convention

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Partial Transcript: Do you know much about it from its beginning there in 1872 down to the time you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about how Pilgrim Baptist Church's congregation decreased in size and how services were upstairs while repairs were made. Bradley talks about how his earliest memories are of the present building, how his parents belonged to different churches, and how Pilgrim conducted a children's play for Christmas and a church convention. Bradley served as president of the convention and talks about the changing role of the convention's president. Bradley describes the impact of the church convention on helping Black Baptists in the United States.

Keywords: 1800s; A.M.E. Church; African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; African Methodist Episcopal Church; Baptist churches; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Church conventions; J.K. Polk; Kentucky history; Nineteenth century; Pastors; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Split fellowships

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Baptist church buildings; Kentucky--History; Midway (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:33:31 - Sunday school, Children's Hour, and other activities

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Partial Transcript: Well, I assume that as a child, you went to Sunday school every Sunday then, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about Sunday school, which took place before church and included adults as well as children. He describes how children were expected to read books and answer questions as a quiz during Sunday school. He mentions other events such as Sunday evening programs for the choir, church picnics, and a Children's Hour during the church convention.

Keywords: African American history; African Americans in Kentucky; Black history; Black people in Kentucky; Children's hours; Choirs; Church choirs; Church conventions; Church picnics; Kentucky history; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Sunday schools

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; African Americans--Religion.; African Americans--Societies, etc.; Church choirs, gospel singers, and preachers; Church choirs, vocal groups & preachers; Sunday schools.

01:40:55 - Pastors at Pilgrim Baptist Church

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Partial Transcript: By the time you were, oh, in grade school--in elementary school did, did the church have its own pastor?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says the current Pilgrim Baptist Church has always had its own pastor, some of which he says were stronger than others. He names a few such as Keene, T.H. Smith, S.W. George, Oriel Brey, M.L. Jackson, and S.W. Fletcher. He says the parsonage was next to the church.

Keywords: African American churches; Black Baptist churches; Keene; M.L. Jackson; Oriel Brey; Parsonages; Pastors; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Preachers; S.W. Fletcher; S.W. George; T.H. Smith

Subjects: African American churches--Kentucky; Clergy.; Midway (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
01:43:47 - Baptisms / Revivals / Relationships with other churches

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Partial Transcript: Well, how did you do your baptisms?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says baptisms took place in Lee's Branch, a river where he himself was baptized. He says seventy or more people would be baptized at once, and the whole congregation would go to watch. For revivals, Bradley says special ministers from other places would come to speak. He describes how revivals would last a week and attract people from other towns. He mentions a sermon a pastor from the Green Street Baptist Church in Louisville gave. He says that Pilgrim Baptist Church got along well with other churches for the most part.

Keywords: Baptisms in rivers; Congregations; Green Street Baptist Church; Lee's Branch; Louisville (Ky.); Ministers; Pastors; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Preachers; Revivals; River baptisms; Rivers

Subjects: African American churches; African American churches--Kentucky; Baptism

01:50:00 - Brass ensemble / City Council member experiences and African Americans in office

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Partial Transcript: Well, anything else about Pilgrim Bap-Baptist Church you want to talk about that you think is important for the record?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley mentions that the Baptist State Musical Convention visited and Pilgrim Baptist Church entertained them with a brass ensemble. Bradley also says he has been a city council member for fourteen years and has overseen street repair, building of houses, and Habitat for Humanity. As a council member, Bradley says he likes seeing changes in Midway. He had a small campaign to become councilman and was elected at-large. He says he is the first and only African American council member, although others have tried to become one. His wife was Deputy County Clerk for Woodford County.

Keywords: At-large; Baptist State Musical Convention; Brass ensembles; Campaining; Citizens' Bank; First National Bank; Habitat for Humanity; Kentucky history; Midway (Ky.); Midway Commercial Bank; Pilgrim Baptist Church; Railroad Avenue; Road repairs; Street repairs; United Bank; Woodford County (Ky.)

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; City councils

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Woodford County (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.04, -84.74
02:03:11 - Distillery incident

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Partial Transcript: Um, Mr. Bradley, oh--can you assess the, the Bl--as a council person, what, what has the Black community meant to the town of Midway?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley remembers an issue between the Black community and Midway involving a distillery in which some citizens, both Black and white, stole goods and killings happened, although he cannot remember many of the details.

Keywords: African American communities; Black communities; Businesses; Distilleries; Midway (Ky.); Murders

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Business.; Distilleries.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
02:06:25 - Black-owned grocery stores in Midway

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's move on, uh, now to, uh, Black businesses in, uh, Midway.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley remembers two Black-owned grocery stores in Midway, one being owned by J.B. Lampkins and the other owned by LeGraham Lee's grandfather. The grocery stores typically served Black people, and Bradley said children at his school would visit Lampkins' store during recess. Bradley recalls Lampkins serving as a trustee and church treasurer for Pilgrim Baptist Church and doing well financially. He discusses Lampkins' background and family. Bradley also recalls men gathering at Lee's general store.

Keywords: African American businesses; African Americans in Kentucky; Black businesses; Black-owned businesses; General stores; Groceries; Grocery stores; J.B. Lampkins; LeGraham; Midway (Ky.); Pilgrim Baptist Church

Subjects: African Americans--Societies, etc.; Business.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
02:10:18 - Slaughtering business

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Partial Transcript: And also, uh, I can remember right down the street from me another fellow named Otis Lenore.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley remembers Otis Lenore slaughtering pigs for other people. He remembers this happening near his house before city ordinances forbade it. He thinks Lenore came from Chicago. He describes what he remembers of what slaughtering hogs was like. He says he worked at the Midway Ice and Coal Company where farmers would bring slaughtered animals that he would butcher. Frank Sutterland hired Bradley to work there. Lenore also worked as a sanitation worker for Midway.

Keywords: Frank Sutterland; Midway Ice and Coal Company; Otis Lenore; Sanitation workers; Slaughtered animals; Slaughtering; Slaughtering pigs

Subjects: Chicago (Ill.); Midway (Ky.); Sanitation workers; Slaughtering and slaughter-houses.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Chicago (Ill.)
Map Coordinates: 41.881944, -87.627778
02:14:57 - Jobs African Americans held in Midway

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Partial Transcript: Well what other Black people worked for the city or, or had jobs around the city?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley remembers other jobs Black people would hold for the city including snow removal, building a federal prison, building a veteran's hospital, and working in the tobacco fields. He says some worked in tobacco warehouses, grew hemp, and sold bluegrass and orchardgrass seed, the latter of which Bradley did for a while. Bradley describes the process of extracting the seeds. He says sometimes it could be difficult to get a job before the second World War.

Keywords: Bluegrass; Building; Businesses; Construction; Federal prisons; Hemp; Jobs for the city; Midway (Ky.); Orchardgrass; Snow removal; Tobacco stripping; Veteran's hospitals; WWII; World War 2; World War II; World War Two

Subjects: Business.; Civil service positions.; Occupations

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
02:20:02 - Other Black-owned businesses in Midway

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Partial Transcript: --we are with Walter Bradley again.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says that someone named Mr. Price had a cleaning and pressing shop. He also remembers someone else who had a shoe repair shop as well as several restaurants owned by Black people on Railroad Street. One was operated by Minnie Saunders and another was operated by George Anderson and John T. Young.

Keywords: Black-owned businesses; Black-owned restaurants; Cleaning and pressing shop; Dry cleaners; George Anderson; John T. Young; Minnie Saunders; Railroad Street

Subjects: Business.; Dry cleaning; Midway (Ky.); Restaurants.; Small business.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
02:23:26 - Traveling for work

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Partial Transcript: Well, um, it, it was fairly easy to catch the train to go into Lexington to get work. Do you remember Black men doing that very much?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says he does not remember whether people took the train to go to Lexington to work. He remembers that some people worked at the James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington and others worked at the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad. Bradley says that Black men buying cars in the thirties enabled them to travel more for work to an extent. He says his father worked on a farm until 1930 when he began working in private homes.

Keywords: Automobiles; Car transportation; Cars; James E. Pepper Distillery; L&N Railroad; Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Train transportation; Trains; Vehicle transportation

Subjects: Commuting.; Lexington (Ky.); Midway (Ky.); Vehicles

02:27:38 - High school graduation rate / Domestic work

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Partial Transcript: How many Black men in your own generation got a high school education?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley estimates that eighty-five percent of his peers graduated from high school but fewer graduated before then. A few people older than him had graduated from Simmons High School in Lexington. He says about the same amount of women graduated from high school. Bradley says that domestic work in which Black people worked for white families was common and describes what that type of work was like. He estimates that it became unacceptable to do this by the late sixties.

Keywords: Domestic work; Graduation rates; High schools; Lexington (Ky.); Simmons High School; Work

Subjects: Graduation rates; High schools.; Lexington (Ky.); Work.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
02:31:06 - Prince Hall Freemasonry Lone Star 19

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the, the Freemasons.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says he belongs to Prince Hall Freemasonry of Kentucky Lone Star 19. He describes his personal history with Lone Star 19 as well as the history of Lone Star 19 in general. He says Prince Hall was initiated into the Freemasons during the Revolutionary War. He talks about how freemasonry is supposed to be a group in which one's race does not matter.

Keywords: Freemasonry; Freemasons; Lone Star 19; Prince Hall; Prince Hall Freemasonry; Revolutionary War

Subjects: Freemasonry.; Kentucky--History; Revolutionary War, American, 1775-1783

02:37:44 - Joining the Freemasons

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Partial Transcript: Tell me how, how--did you make application to join or were you invited to join?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says that freemasonry attracts men without having to recruit them. He talks about Corinthian 32 in Midway, which is now defunct. He talks about the things freemasons do such as raising money for charity, giving out scholarships, and connecting men with each other. He also mentions other lodges in the area.

Keywords: Corinthian 32; Freemasonry; Lone Star 19

Subjects: Freemasons.; Midway (Ky.); Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
02:42:01 - History of Prince Hall Freemasonry / Bradley's positions at Lone Star 19

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Partial Transcript: Freemasonry, as, as I say, is universal.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says that the founder of Prince Hall Freemasonry was the first person of color to be a Freemason. He talks about Prince Hall's background as a citizen of Barbados who migrated to Boston and became a leader among freed Black people and a Methodist minister. He talks about how Prince Hall became a Freemason, formed his own lodge, and got his own charter. He also talks about the Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters and the chapters in the Midway area. Bradley lists the positions he held within Lone Star 19.

Keywords: Freed men; Freemasonry; Freemasons; Lone Star 19; Prince Hall Freemasonry

Subjects: Barbados.; Boston (Mass.); Freemen; Midway (Ky.); Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters, Inc.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Barbados.
Map Coordinates: 13.17, -59.5525
GPS: Boston (Mass.)
Map Coordinates: 42.35, -71.05
02:49:43 - Lone Star 19's impact on Versailles and Midway / Declining Freemason membership

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Partial Transcript: What, what has, um, Lone Star Number 19 directly done for, for Versailles and Midway, this area?

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says that Lone Star 19 awards a scholarship every year. He also lists other contributions that Lone Star 19 has made such as donations to libraries, nursing homes, and more. He mentions that the membership of Freemasons nationwide is declining.

Keywords: Donations; Freemasonry; Libraries; Lone Star 19; Memberships; Nursing homes; Prince Hall Freemasonry; Scholarships

Subjects: Freemasons.; Midway (Ky.); Versailles (Ky.)

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
GPS: Versailles (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.054722, -84.730833
02:52:02 - Bradley's memories of his family

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Partial Transcript: I want to talk now about your family because Mildred Buster tells me your family itself has been well known and really an important part of the Midway, um, community.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley talks about his father, Walter Bradley, Sr., who worked on farms and then did private domestic work. He talks about his father's lack of education past middle school but his resourcefulness and love of reading. Bradley's father also worked part-time for the Alexander Farm. Bradley's grandfather was born into slavery on a farm nearby. Bradley shares a few memories of his grandfather, including his time in the church choir and activities in the Baptist church. He also shares about his parents' illnesses with pneumonia and appendicitis and how his community helped them out.

Keywords: Alexander Farm; Appendicitis; Baptist churches; Books; Church choirs; Domestic work; Enslaved people; Enslavement; Farms; Harry Craig; Literacy; Midway (Ky.); Pilgrim Baptist Church; Pneumonia; Reading; Stories; Walter Bradley, Sr.

Subjects: Appendicitis.; Church choirs, vocal groups & preachers; Families.; Grandparents.; Literacy.; Parents.; Pneumonia.; Reading.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056
03:05:54 - Why Bradley has stayed in Midway

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me ask you one final question before we stop this--all this fascinating talk.

Segment Synopsis: Bradley says he has stayed in Midway because he likes it and thinks there is always somewhere new to travel to. He says he has traveled across the United States with his wife but has returned to Midway each time.

Keywords: Home; Hometowns; Traveling

Subjects: Midway (Ky.); Travel.

GPS: Midway (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.150556, -84.683056