GRIMES: My name is Le Datta Denise Grimes, and today is October twenty-ninth,
2021. I'm here today with Pastor Louis Alexander Newby in his home in Lexington,
Kentucky. The name of the project is the 1964 March on Frankfort Oral History
Project. This is a project sponsored by the City of Frankfort with funding from
the National Park Services Preserving African American Civil Rights History
Grant, and is produced by Joanna Hay Productions. The interviews will be
archived at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of
Kentucky Libraries and exhibited at the Capital City Museum in Frankfort. How
are you doing today, Mr. Newby?
NEWBY: Doing very well.
GRIMES: Could you introduce yourself, state your name and your age?
NEWBY: I am the Reverend Dr. L.A. Newby, Lexington, Kentucky. I'm eighty-eight
GRIMES: Wow. Where were you born and raised?
NEWBY: I was born in Keene, Kentucky. But I was raised just about all
00:01:00over Kentucky. I left--my parents left Keene when I was about five years of age.
GRIMES: So, where is Keene located?
NEWBY: Keene's in Jessamine County.
GRIMES: So, Nicholasville area?
GRIMES: That direction?
GRIMES: Talk about growing up. Who were your parents? Who were your siblings?
And what was life like for you growing up?
NEWBY: Growing up as a child, it was fun. We lived in Keene, Kentucky, before we
moved. And I ran around with my brother, who's older than I, and two uncles, who
were just like my brothers, and then all the other little boys in Keene. And we
were running and doing things like boys do. And we'd go to the quarry up on the
hill and swim and fish. And then, the man that owned the--a farm
00:02:00there, we used to go out there and pick worms off the tobacco and trade them in
for candy at the store.
GRIMES: Who were your parents?
NEWBY: My parents were reverend--not reverend--my parents were Charles--Amanda
and Charles Newby.
GRIMES: Where were they from?
NEWBY: Jessamine County and Bourbon County.
GRIMES: And what did they do for a living?
NEWBY: They were sharecroppers.
GRIMES: Okay. Would you consider your life--do you think you all were poor,
working class, or--
NEWBY: Well, we certainly were working class. I guess you might say we were
poor, so to speak.
GRIMES: What was life like sharecropping? Do you remember that at all?
NEWBY: Yes. I can tell you precisely. We moved to these farm[s] that are owned
by rich white people, of course. And we would work on the farm, and
00:03:00we raised tobacco and things of this nature. The farmer had no--the owner has no
money--into our--an investment, and my dad, you know, had to buy all,
everything. And we worked on the farm and did things that farm people do. And
then, of course, we raised tobacco, and we raised corn, and we raised hay. And
we--and had animals on the farm. And then, when we raised the tobacco, we'd
strip it, and we sold it. And then, the owner of the land got half of what we
sold. And we got the rest of it.
GRIMES: How did that make you feel? Or how did your parents talk about it?
NEWBY: We thought it was great. We didn't have any investment in the farm,
except we'd raise the crops and everything. In that particular time,
00:04:00I'm sure they thought it was just wonderful that they could do it.
GRIMES: Did you--do you think they thought it was fair?
NEWBY: I never heard them complain about it.
GRIMES: So, you said you all moved around a lot. Where all did you live?
NEWBY: Well, we started out in Jessamine County. And from Jessamine County, we
went to Fayette County. And from Fayette County, we went to Mercer County. And
from Mercy County, we came back to Fayette County. And then, we wind up in Woodford--County.
GRIMES: So, was all of that sharecropping?
GRIMES: What did you do for school?
NEWBY: That's the part that broke the camel's back. We didn't stay long enough
in one place that I'd be able to graduate. And so, therefore, when I did
graduate from Versailles, Kentucky, I was two years behind.
GRIMES: When did you learn how to read?
NEWBY: Probably later on in the years, I mean, when I got to eighth and ninth,
GRIMES: So, did you have a desire for education? Or were you more prone to work
so that you could help support the family?
NEWBY: You know, I wasn't too much interested in education at that time. I went
when we had available time, but when my parents needed me on the farm, then
that's where I was, on the farm. And I sort of enjoyed the work.
NEWBY: In fact, to be truthful about it, I was more energized in doing the work
than my brother and my dad were because dad would have the guys there
00:06:00working on the farm, and he'd sit down with them to smoke cigarettes and talk.
And I'd say, "Let's get up in here. Let's get this work done." And dad
said,--"you shut up, boy, you running my hands away." I said, "No that I'm doing
everything--might as well not be here." You know? But I'd motivate them, kept
GRIMES: Who was your brother?
NEWBY: Fred. He deceased now.
GRIMES: Was he younger or older?
GRIMES: Older brother.
GRIMES: So, what schools do you remember attending?
NEWBY: Jessamine County off of Nicholasville Road, called Vineyard. From
Vineyard, I went to Fayette County schools. And then, from Fayette County, I
went to Mercer County, and from Mercer County, back to Woodford County.
GRIMES: Were these segregated schools?
GRIMES: What was that like?
NEWBY: Well, it was nice.
GRIMES: How so?
NEWBY: Well, we didn't think about it because it was just part of our nature.
And not until I got older that I saw the difference and I'm trying to make a difference.
GRIMES: When did you see the difference? Or when did you understand race? Or how
did you understand it as a child?
NEWBY: I think, perhaps, when I went to Europe. I went to Europe. The Army sent
me, first, to Germany. Then, while I was in Germany, I bought a camera, and then
I toured a lot of the places in Europe. And I traveled first class. I lived
first class. I ate first class. And I thought this was just the way life should
be. When I came back to Kentucky, I was put back in the Jim Crow area, and I
resent it. I get upset. And the--the governor down there in the South
00:08:00was mistreating our people. I wrote them letters and told them I didn't
appreciate it. And I went to a--a restaurant here in Lexington, and they were
segregated. And I sat at the counter to order my meal, and the ladies told me I
had to leave. I said, "I'm not going to leave." And I said, "I want--but I want
to eat." And she went to--got the telephone, and I saw her talking on the
telephone. Having looked to my right, and I saw two policemen run up the--to the
door. So, I jumped up and left, and went out the back--went out the back side,
down the alley.
GRIMES: Did you get away?
NEWBY: I did, indeed.
GRIMES: What did that feel like for you?
NEWBY: A victory. I got away from the policemen. Yeah.
GRIMES: Did you graduate high school at all?
NEWBY: Yes. I graduated from--in Woodford County.
GRIMES: You remember the high school?
NEWBY: Yeah. Simmons College of--Simmons College of Kentucky. Simmons High
School. We do have a school in Louisville, and I have to name it: Simmons
College of Kentucky. And that's a--it's a religious school.
NEWBY: Um-hm. Seminary.
GRIMES: So, talk a lot--talk about what it was life [like] in the different
towns that you lived. Talk about the teachers, the schools themselves, the
quality of them, those kinds of things.
NEWBY: The schools that I attended were, as I say, segregated schools. And I
remember vividly when I was in Mercer County. I was in the fourth
00:10:00grade. It was a one-room school. One teacher taught eight classes. And I was in
the fourth grade. There was one other boy in fourth grade with me. And we sat
over next to the window, next to the wall, and we just socialize. We drew
pictures and things, this nature. And we really had fun. And so, I stayed in the
fourth grade for two years. I didn't pass. But that's just the way life was
because she was busy, particularly with the seventh and eighth graders,
preparing them ready to graduate.
GRIMES: So, you graduate high school. When do you go overseas?
NEWBY: Immediately after I got out of high school. I tried my best not to go
to the Army. I wanted to go to college. I had got that in mind, I
00:11:00want to go to college. And I wrote the hospital--well, let me back up. I was
working on the farm with the horses. And I got a bullet in there. I got shot.
GRIMES: How'd you get shot?
NEWBY: I'm going to tell you that.
NEWBY: I got shot. As I was getting ready to turn the horses around, I felt this
pain, boom, hit me. I said, "Oh!" And of course, my father, my mother, and my
brother were out there chopping the weeds that the cultivator missed. And my dad
said, "What's wrong with you, boy?" I said, "Something hit me." My brother heard
the shot. Now, he was kidding, he said, "Haven't been shot, have you?" I look
down and I saw blood coming out, I said, "Yes!" And I jumped out the cultivator
to run. My daddy caught me right quick, and they took me to the hospital, Saint
Joseph's Hospital here in Lexington, that was before they moved down
00:12:00where they are now. And I stayed there, and then they dismissed me. They said
that, "We couldn't get the bullet out because if we take out, it would cause
more damage than to leave it in." And my parents thought--because we thought
that, if we could get the bullet out, we could trace it back to these white boys
that were shooting. And my brother said they were shooting at some frogs in the
pond. But since the hospital said they could not get the bullet out, we could
not trace it back to their gun. And so, that's one thing I had in mind when I
was drafted to the Army. They said, "If anything that wrong with your body, or
if anything's going on with you, let us know." I said, "I got it. I got a bullet
in me." And so, I went to the hospital to get proof that the bullet
00:13:00was still in me. And the hospital said, "Yes, you were admitted to the hospital,
but a bullet was removed." I said, "Oh, goodness." And so, they drafted me right
into the Army.
GRIMES: Do you remember what year this is?
NEWBY: Oh, my goodness. You could ask me the most intelligent questions. But, I
can't remember that far back. It was in the fifties, I think.
GRIMES: So, were you in service during the war?
NEWBY: Vietnam--War, I think it was.
GRIMES: Oh, was it?
NEWBY: But it was calmed. And so--so, when I wrote the--I called the hospital
and they said that the bullet was--wasn't removed, then I said, "My goodness."
Then, when I was drafted into the Army down to Fort Knox, they took
00:14:00video--not--X-rays of it and said, "Did you know you got a bullet in you?" I
said, "What?" They said, "You got a bullet in you." He brought the film out and
showed me that the bullet's still in there. And so, what happened was the
hospital was trying to say that the bullet was removed so it could not trace
back to these white boys who did the shooting.
NEWBY: Yeah. But that's the way life was at that time, you know. That's--
GRIMES: So, you were in the Vietnam War?
NEWBY: Korea conflict. [Korean War]
GRIMES: Okay, Korea conflict.
NEWBY: Yeah, Korea conflict, I think it was.
NEWBY: I tell you, I'm 88 years old--
NEWBY: --so I can't remember.
GRIMES: Right. I'm trying to do the math in my head to kind of figure this out,
too. So, you said you were treated first class there.
NEWBY: Excuse me?
GRIMES: You were--you said you were treated first class while you were overseas.
NEWBY: Oh, yes, indeed. Indeed. Like I said, I traveled down to
00:15:00Italy, and I had a meal on the Orange Café, sidewalk café. And this lady came
and asked me, said, "Are you somebody famous like Nat King Cole?" I said, "No."
And I thought about it after. I said, I should've said yes. (laughs) But I was
honest, and I said, "No." But they fed me well, and I ate well, and I traveled
well. So, I went to Italy. I went to England and several other places. Germany,
of course, that was where I was stationed. But I traveled around quite a bit,
and I made color slides while I was there. And as I came back to--to the United
States, I showed these slides to my family, and they all enjoyed them and said,
"Just like being there." And then, I took it to my high school I
00:16:00graduated and showed it there, and the kids, and the professors, and the
teachers all enjoyed them. And then, I made a--living out of it. I went around
different places, and they asked me to bring the slides to the church, and I'd
show them at church meetings and things like this. And that was just quite fun.
I got--in my home over here, on the other side over there, I got a whole wall of
slides--not slides, but films. And so, it was a--it was quite fun.
GRIMES: When did you meet and marry your wife?
NEWBY: I was at a church at a conference. And I had tried several young ladies,
but we just didn't get along. And I decided I'm through with women.
00:17:00And I was at this conference down there in her church. And the service [was]
over--not over for that--for the morning service. And then, downstairs, they had
dinner for us. And I was playing on the piano, and this little woman come
through there with an apron and said, "How's school?" I said, "Fine." I kept on
playing. And she said, "Well, I graduated from--Kentucky State." I--Whoops, "you
did?" So, I stopped playing, and I got interested, and I started talking to her.
And I said, "Would you like to sit with me in the service this afternoon?" She
said, "Yes." So, I went upstairs, and we sat together. And the church was
crowded. And so--and she asked one question that really jogged my
00:18:00intention to her. She said, "Have you ever felt like--be in a crowd of people,
and still feel like you're all alone?" And I said, "Yes, yes, yes, yes." I put
my arms around her and pulled her close to me, and our court was on. (laughs) Yeah.
GRIMES: So, you served time overseas. You spent some time as a photographer.
Compare and contrast life when you were overseas to what you came back to America.
NEWBY: There's a big difference. I had a lot more freedom over there. I felt
free. I felt--I don't know. I just felt important. And, I came back
00:19:00to Kentucky, I didn't feel that before I got over there. When I came back
Kentucky, I felt a difference between the two people. And there are some people
here in Kentucky or in United States that was nice. We've had some nice people,
and I ran around with some nice white people, you know. Boys, that is. And we
lived on the farms and everything. But it was--something was missing. We just
wasn't close enough. We just wasn't congealed enough. This is supposed to be a
melting pot. And so, it wasn't quite melting. And so, that's why I got a little
interested in trying to improve our segregation here in our country. And I wrote
a letter to the governors down in the South about how they're
00:20:00treating our people. And of course, I heard Dr. King preach in the various
places and things of this nature. And we saw him on television. And when
he--heard he was coming to Kentucky, and I said, I got to march with this man.
And so, we marched down in Frankfort--in March, I think was, 1964, I believe it
was. My memory doesn't hold me too tight. And we marched up Capital Avenue there
in Frankfort. And I was a--my pastor was there, and the--I can't think of the
other people there. The other pastor was there. And as we was marching, going
toward the Capital Avenue, there were about 10,000 people. There were
00:21:00a couple girls in the march that were running towards the front in the crowd.
They bumped me, and I bumped Dr. King. And I--when I fell down like this, I
grabbed oup Dr. King's coat, and I pulled myself back up. He turned around. If
you notice, the picture with him, he's smiling. And he said to me, "Are you
falling?" I said, "You're the first to know." And so, we both smiled, you know,
about that. But that's how I got the--and I didn't know the picture was taken.
But I think what happened is that the security people and the camera people,
when they saw the struggle in that crowd, they took a picture right quick. And
so, while I was pastoring there in--while I was--yes?
HAY: Can you hold that up for us?
NEWBY: Oh, yes. And while--
HAY: There it is.
NEWBY: --and while I was pastoring there in Frankfort, one of my members worked
at the state capitol. And she said, "Reverend Newby?" Said, "Did you know you
got a picture with Dr. King?" And I said, "No." She said, "Well, there is one,"
and I said, "I will get you a copy." And so, she brought me this copy down. It's
out there in the hall out there now. She brought it down there for me. And so, I
GRIMES: So, I'm going to back up just a little bit, before you get to the march.
GRIMES: Had you participated in any other acts of civil disobedience? The
incident that you recounted about the counter, going to sit at that counter in
Lexington, was that before or after the march? And were you a member of like the
NAACP, [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] CORE
[Congress of Racial Equality], any of those kinds of groups?
NEWBY: Yeah, I was a member of the NAACP. I can't really recall if it was before
the march or after. I think that was shortly after I came from Europe, when
I--when I went to the restaurant and--to order food and test them out. And they
refused me, and they called the police. I think that was before the march, I
believe, yes. Indeed, it was before the march, yes. Because the march was
after--I was a pastor then. I was a pastor. Yeah.
GRIMES: What compelled you that day? What were you feeling that day?
NEWBY: When I was--
GRIMES: Going to that counter.
NEWBY: I felt that I would be resisted or denied. But I just came
00:24:00back from the Army, where I had--had a right to do anything I wanted to do, eat,
travel, sleep. I felt a little more free. I felt a little more wanted. I felt
more like I belong. When I came back to Kentucky, I didn't have this same
feeling. And so, at that time, a lot of--a lot of racial problem going on in the
South, and King was there. But I went to the restaurant in Lexington just to see
if I could get service. And I didn't really think--I didn't think I was going to
get service. But I thought that I would try it out and see. And that's what
happened. I went there, and I didn't get served.
GRIMES: Was that an individual effort? Was that a part of a group?
GRIMES: Were you trained or--
NEWBY: No, that was me personally.
GRIMES: What gave you the courage to go in there by yourself and just sit down?
Seem like that would've been terrifying.
NEWBY: Well, it was terrifying and--but it just was part of my inward bringing
up that I got used to doing. You know, what you get in you wants--has to come
out. I had the experience of freedom. I've had that experience, and I want that
when I got back home. And so, I went to try it out and see.
GRIMES: Were there any other acts like that?
NEWBY: Oh, yeah. Here in Lexington, there were several other acts, I think,
several other people that were doing things here in Kentucky, in Lexington. But
I think that's a little bit more after my encounter.
GRIMES: How did your family feel about what you did, when you went and sat at
that counter? Did you tell them, or did they know?
NEWBY: I didn't boast about it. I'm kind of wondering if--indeed, if I was
married to me at the time. I don't think I was even married at that time, when I--
GRIMES: Did you do other things like that, as well?
NEWBY: No, except trying to be the individual that I need to be, you know.
You're--you're going back in history with me, and I'm 88 years old. I can't remember.
GRIMES: Got you.
NEWBY: I kind of put all that stuff in the trash can.
GRIMES: Yeah, I understand.
NEWBY: You know what I mean?
GRIMES: I understand.
NEWBY: But, the main thing is try to--trying to live a life that is
00:27:00equivalent to your life, anybody else's life, you know. And I believe in that
that's a thing that I should do and I could do. And maybe one person doing
something that's necessary for them to do can inspire other people to do some
things of [that] nature. I hear what you're saying. I can't remember the precise
days because I just dropped them.
GRIMES: I understand.
NEWBY: If it wasn't good, I just dropped them.
GRIMES: I understand. Do you remember the name of the restaurant, by any chance?
NEWBY: Yes. It was a restaurant in the--I don't know the name of it, but it was
in the--what was it in--the bus station, I believe it was. Yeah. I believe it
was in the bus station.
GRIMES: Okay. Talk about your life in the ministry for me.
NEWBY: You know, my life in the ministry has always been part of my life. My
grandfather was a pastor, and I think it's just part of my upbringing. My mother
was a--an extremely good missionary. And when I was a young person, I played the
piano at our church. I was a musician. And I was instrumental in getting it--the
church to buy an organ. At one of our church meeting[s], I wanted to get an
organ for the church, and I got up and I--in the church meeting, I said,
"We need a church organ. We need an organ." And the folks just said,
00:29:00"What do we need an organ for? We don't need no organ." And there was one man,
he stood up and said, "Pastor--Reverend Newby--Mr. Newby--no, I wasn't--brother
Newby," he said, "I got twenty dollars on that organ." And when he said that,
the church just opened up. And I had a--an assistant musician working with me.
She was Evelyn Perkins. And I told her how we're going to get this organ. I
said, "You get a certain number of people, and I'll take a certain number of
people, and we're going to raise funds to get this organ." She said, "Okay." I
think she had about ten, and I had about ten. And those ten people
00:30:00had folks working with them. And I went to Shackleton music store here in
Lexington. I saw this organ that I thought would be nice. And so, we raised
enough fund to put down the organ. And then, she raised enough fund to put on
the organ. And then, they delivered the organ to the church.
GRIMES: What church was this?
NEWBY: The Macedonia Baptist Church in Keene, Kentucky.
GRIMES: Was that the first church you pastored?
NEWBY: I didn't pastor. I was the musician there.
GRIMES: Oh, okay.
NEWBY: Yeah. And so, the organ's still there. And so, I think we paid that organ
at--organ off in about a year and a half, a year or so, you know, because people
just got excited. But I would play it, you know. They liked the sound of it.
And they'd say, "Oh, yeah, this is fun." And that just--that
00:31:00stimulated them to really get to work and raise funds to buy this organ. And so,
we got it paid for, and it's still there, and they like it.
GRIMES: Talk about your call to the ministry.
NEWBY: Okay. Now, I think other folks saw the ministry in me before I did,
before I realized it. Although, I know the Lord was doing something in my life.
And one Sunday, after the church service was over, I was standing there outside,
with a friend of mine. We were talking. And the pastor came out, with the name
of L.C. Cushenberry (??). He was the pastor then, from Versailles. He came out
and put a hand on my shoulder and grabbed back and said, "Son, God's got a job
for you to do." I wanted to say to him, "get away from me, old man."
00:32:00I didn't, but I was very gentle, and just I smiled. I said, "Okay." And--but he
didn't plant the seed in me, but he motivate the seed. He cultivate the seed.
And I kind of knew something was going on that had to happen to me. But I
continued to play the piano. And then, I had married my wife at that time. And
one day, she's in the choir. And I came in the choir stand. I told her, I said,
"Today, I'm going to announce that I've been called to preach." She said,
"What?" (laughs) Now, she's back there. She can tell you. And I told my
assistant musician, I said, "I'm going to--at the time they open the door of the
church, I'm going to stop playing the organ, but you continue to play
00:33:00the piano." He said, "What you going to do? If you keep (??) preacher, I'm going
to throw a book at your head." And we both laughed at that. And so, at the
invitation of discipleship, I stopped playing the organ, and I went up, and I
announced that the Lord was working with me, and he'd been calling me to preach.
GRIMES: Can you name the churches that you've preached at and pastored at?
NEWBY: I only pastored two churches. Now, the church that I talked about, where
I used to play the musician--a musician there, I was just--I grew up into
pastoring because I did a lot of leadership work in the church, and Sunday
school, and things like that. And I organized things for the preachers, and I'd
get them to get things together. But the first church that I was a pastor, was
over near Danville. The church was First Baptist Church, Davistown.
00:34:00It's about, oh, seven, eight miles from Danville. It's a country church. And my
cousin was the pastor of that church. And when I--when I acknowledged my
ministry, he was at my--at my service when I preached my first sermon. And I
preached forty-five minutes. (laughs) and some people said, "I think he never
going to stop." But, anyway, he came and sat down. (??) "How about come to my
church next Sunday and preach?" I said, "I can't come to your church and preach.
I got to play the organ here." He was--"the Lord call you to preach or--did he
call you to play the organ or he called you to preach? And he called
00:35:00me to preach. I said, "I'll be there next Sunday." But he was not there. He had
to preach somewhere else. And I went over there and preached for him at my first
church in Davistown. And--and the folks liked me. My wife went with me and
everything, my kids. And so, they asked me to come back. I went back and
preached again. Every chance they'd get, they had me come back. I'd preach--I
went back again. And the pastor there, who's my cousin, had got a call at
another church. And that set me up, anyway. And then, when he left, then that
church was vacant over in Davistown. And so, I stayed over there quite a while,
you know, preaching for them. And they decided they liked me, so they called me.
And--excuse me. So, I stayed there six years, and I did a lot of
00:36:00modest work, organized--I rearranged the church inside, put plastic--put the
boards on the walls, air conditioning units, built a back part of the church,
and remodeled these parsonages and all this other stuff. So, after six years, I
got a call down to Frankfort.
GRIMES: And the name of that church?
NEWBY: It was named Corinthian Baptist Church. And the reason why I knew about
that church, I --Iwas in Danville--the pastor that used to--the pastor there was
pastoring somewhere else in Danville, I think it was. And they had a service
there. And so, I kind of took over the First Corinthian Church--not
00:37:00First Corinthian, but--yeah, the Davistown church. But then, I went to Frankfort.
GRIMES: And that was First Corinthian Baptist?
NEWBY: It was named Corinthian Church. And I told them down there that I would
accept them. But they finally changed the name of the church to First Corinthian
because I asked somebody--a group to go out and find out if there another church
in that area that was named Corinthian. And they could not find another church
that was named Corinthian. I said, "Well, there's no church in the bible named
Corinthian." Not that I knew of, at that time. I said, "We'll call it the First
Corinthian Baptist Church." And I said, "We name it the First Corinthian Baptist
Church." And there were several other things going on that I--I told them about.
Oh, they were building a sanctuary, but you walk off the street into
00:38:00the sanctuary. And I said, "You need to put a balcony in this church." And so,
they said, "Oh, really?" Said, "We don't have the money for that." I said, "Go
ahead and put the balcony there. I'll get the money for you." So, they stopped
the contractor, and they--we designed it and put a balcony in there and a little
vestibule outside. So, when you walk off the street, you don't walk immediately
into the sanctuary. And the balcony could hold almost as much as the floor. And
that's why we called it the First Corinthian Baptist Church. And so, it was
10,000 dollars addition to do this. And I used the Shepherd Project, helping to
pay for that balcony.
HAY: I have a question, if you don't mind. So, Corinthian Church was
00:39:00in north Frankfort, I think, during the era of--in the sixties, during the era
of the March on Frankfort. And then, it is now in south Frankfort. And is that
the church that you pastored, the one in south Frankfort?
HAY: Okay. Do you have any memories or knowledge of that--the change when the
old church was demolished and why?
NEWBY: I don't know about that old church. I know, when I got there, they
had--what that man's name--Keene (??), Reverend Keene. They had built the--let's
see--the--they built the--I guess it's in the basement part of it, the Sunday
school part. And upstairs, they had service up there, but it wasn't the--was not
the sanctuary. It was the family place or the--where they served
00:40:00lunches and things like that. So, we worshipped back there. Yeah. And so, when
they--they had started on the sanctuary, but they didn't have the money to put
the balcony in. And so, I went along with them, with that, until I told them,
"Just put the balcony in." And I organized the group to get the money to do
that. And they enjoyed the--the work to do that.
GRIMES: How long were you pastor there?
NEWBY: I was there for 36 years.
GRIMES: What was the role of the Black church in protest in the Civil Rights
Movement, you think? And was First Corinthian--were they--was your church
involved in any protest or activism?
NEWBY: You know, I--as far as I know, I don't remember that they were involved
in it at all, except when I went there. I had (laughs) the first
00:41:00Martin Luther King celebration. Bruce--not Bruce--Charles Pearls came up there,
and he filmed it. And so, he asked me, he said, "Who was the first to have the
Martin Luther King celebration?" I said, "I did." But I didn't realize that
the--I was talking about the church, the first celebration. But when--the first
celebration in the--in the country, I don't remember when that--when it started.
But I think they probably started before I started it at the church.
GRIMES: So, in 1964, at the time of the March on Frankfort, were you
00:42:00pastor at First Corinthian?
NEWBY: No, I wasn't pastor then.
GRIMES: Oh, okay. So, where were you at that time?
NEWBY: Where was I?
GRIMES: Yes. Were you still at Davistown?
NEWBY: --Now, you got me mixed up again on the time. I can't remember if I was
there. I don't think I was at Davistown at that time. I don't believe I was.
GRIMES: Okay. So, the March on Frankfort was in 1964.
GRIMES: How did you end up attending that? Did you go with a group at all? Did
you go individually or--
NEWBY: Individually. I had one friend to go down with me. And I said, "This is a
good opportunity for us to meet Dr. King." Because he had been doing this in
other places, and I heard him on television, and saw him on the news, and all
that sort of stuff. And we went down there. We met him then, and
00:43:00marched with him. But I don't know what happened to my friend. He didn't show
up. We went down together, but he got lost in the crowd. (laughs)
GRIMES: Did you drive down or--
NEWBY: Yeah, we drove down.
GRIMES: From where? Do you remember?
NEWBY: From here, Lexington.
GRIMES: Why did you want to be there?
NEWBY: I just wanted to be with Dr. King. He was going to come to Kentucky, and
I wanted to be there and part of this march. And that's been part of my life all
along, is to innovate--or not to innovate--but desegregate us, you know. I
wanted that. Although, now, getting back to the old farmers that we lived on, we
had white kids we played with and everything. And we had--we didn't think too
much about it. They would invite us to the--I know, one time, they invited us to
their house for a Christmas dinner. And I said they'd give gifts to
00:44:00us. And they--there were two other white boys there. And pardon me using the
term 'white' and 'Black,' but two white boys there. They gave them basketballs, and
they gave my brother and me gumballs. And we felt we was doing something fine.
But afterward, later on, we just got--hey, we just got gumballs. (laughs)
GRIMES: So, what other encounters with racism did you have in your life?
NEWBY: Like I said, I grew up on a--on the farm, and they all was owned by white
people. And we got along very well. There was one other encounter when I went to
Central State College in Ohio. Had an encounter with racism. I would
00:45:00drive up there, and then drive back home, drive up there and drive back home for
at least three years. And that fourth year, I decided I wasn't going to come
back to Kentucky. I went to Springhill, Ohio, and I went to the YMCA because the
post office, back on--trying to get a job, was right across the street from the
YMCA. And I went to the YMCA to get a room, and the man, okay, he signed me up
for a room and he said to me, "You got to pay your membership fee." I
00:46:00said, "Okay," And I said, "What does the membership fee cover?" He said, "The
membership fee covers eating in the restaurant, going to the swimming pool, and
going to the weight room. So, you can't go to these places." I said, "Then, I
will not pay the membership fee." He said, "You want to live here, you pay the
membership fee." And I got to thinking. My, goodness. What are people trying to
do? And I just met him--I got on the phone, and I called the president at the
Central State, Dr. Wesley--Dr. Charles Wesley was the president there. I called
Dr. Wesley because I worked in his office while I was in college. And
00:47:00so, I knew him very well. And he said--I told him what's happening. I said, "I
didn't want to pay the membership fee if I cannot benefit from what the
membership--what it covers." And he said, "Well, stick to your guns. You got
a--good point." And, so, I came back, and I wanted very much to be in the YMCA
because I got a job at the post office, and I wanted that closeness. So, I went
on, and I paid the membership fee, and I stayed in the YMCA that whole summer
before I went back to Central State. And I think that very last week
00:48:00that I was going to stay there, or a few days before, I had to go back to
college, the guy at the desk said, "Oh, by the way--" As I was leaving, going to
the post office, he says, "Oh, by the way, you can go to the restaurant and eat
your meal." I said, "What?" He said, "You can go to the restaurant and eat your
meal." "And what about the waiting room and the serving food?" "You can use
those, too." I got so indignant about it. I went on, across the street, working
the post office, and I came back. I didn't go to the waiting room. I didn't go
to the swimming pool. I didn't go to the restaurant. But the very last day,
, the very last day, when I'm gonna eat my last meal--eat the meal
00:49:00there, I went to the restaurant and I ordered their food. And I felt so relieved
sitting in there. And all them other folks in there, were looking at me like
this. Everywhere I looked, they looked at me. I ate my meal, and I took my time
eating it. I ordered hot apple and ice cream on it. It took me about thirty
minutes to eat that. And by the time I finished the hot apple pie had melted my
ice cream (laughs) they didn't give me no spoon to soup it up, but it melted,
and I took my time and ate it. Then, I got up and left. So, when I got back to
the-- --excuse me, my nose is running. When I got back to school, I
00:50:00was sharing with my fellow friends at the--at Central State about--excuse me,
ma'am--I was sharing with my--you know how guys do--I was sharing with them at
the--at Central State about what happened. He said, "I wouldn't have eaten that
food." He said, "Man, you should--you got--might've got yourself shot." And they
just had--went on, and on, and on, and on about what could've happened to me
after that. I said, "But the Lord is on my side." You know, but I was--I
integrated that--the YMCA restaurant. Yeah.
GRIMES: Wow. Talk about who and what Dr. King represented to you.
NEWBY: Dr. King represented to me as a dynamic, God-sent leader. And
00:51:00I love a person like that. And he is--he is one of the four idols of mine: my
principal at the high school, Dr. King, my--my--president at Central State, and
Dr.--wait a minute, did I name (??) Wait a minute, let's see. My principal at
the high school, my president at Central State, and Dr. King, and my Black
president back there.
GRIMES: Barack Obama.
NEWBY: Barack Obama. Those are my four idols. In fact, I got them in my book.
GRIMES: What is it that you admire so much about them?
NEWBY: The strength that they had and their ability to lead. And I just
wanted--I want a part of that, you know? I--I liked their dignity that they had
and how they got things over--the principal at my high school, when I graduated,
he and I were great buddies. And I was kind of slow in my classes, and he would
bring me to his office and kind of help me out with some of the things that I
was going through because I missed so much, being on the farm, you know. And he
helped me out and everything. Then, he'd send me downtown, and--to buy some ice
cream. I'd ride into town, buy a pint of ice cream, come back, and we'd sit in
his office and share ice cream together. (laughs)
GRIMES: So, he was an encourager, as well?
GRIMES: He was an encourager?
NEWBY: Oh, yes, indeed, he was an encourager. Yes. Yes, indeed. And like I said,
that those four are--that's really kind of helped me to keep on keeping on.
GRIMES: Okay. So, let's concentrate on the March on Frankfort at this point.
GRIMES: Do you remember what that day was like, the weather?
NEWBY: It was good weather that I can recall. I don't think it rained or
anything like that. I think we had a nice weather. Crowded by 10,000 people or
more. And I just felt so lifted that we had this kind of a going on in Kentucky.
I don't think King had--he may've been here before, but I'm not that sure I
remember. But that was the first time that I remember him being here,
00:54:00and I wanted to be with him.
GRIMES: Why was that so important to you?
NEWBY: Because he was doing something that I was interested in doing. It was
part of my makeup. I wanted this to happen. I couldn't do it by myself, but I
thought that he came here, I was going to help him--be part of the movement.
GRIMES: So, do you remember, like, where you parked, where you marched from, and
how you got up front with Dr. King?
NEWBY: I cannot remember the parking. But I do remember that I wanted to be
right beside him. I was a little bit--oh, about, what, two, three people behind
him. But those two girls was running, and they bumped me, and I bumped him. So,
I got right behind him. And he was very friendly and he said, "You
00:55:00falling?" I said, "You're the first to know." And so, we both laughed. And so,
we marched on together.
GRIMES: Where were you standing when he gave his speech?
NEWBY: I was in the audience with the rest of the people.
GRIMES: Were you close to the capitol or back in the crowd or--I mean, because
you were right there with him. So--
NEWBY: Yeah, I was probably on the front line there, and watching him speak.
GRIMES: Do you remember anything about what he said that day?
NEWBY: You know, I cannot remember what he said. But we were talking to--excuse
me--we were talking about--he was mostly, mainly, talking about Ned Breathitt
was the governor, I believe. I can't remember who the governor was at the time.
But we were trying to get him to pass an ordinance for--oh, good
00:56:00grief. I got some stuff--what's that? I can't remember now.
GRIMES: He was trying to pass the civil rights bill in Kentucky.
NEWBY: Yeah. Yeah. Precisely. I--
GRIMES: That's okay. It's okay. You remember anybody else who was there, who
spoke or sang that day?
NEWBY: Were you?
GRIMES: No, no. Wasn't even born.
NEWBY: I can't remember precisely, but I have some papers with them on it. I can't--
NEWBY: There was a--oh, good grief. See, you all got me sweating up here, now.
GRIMES: That's okay. We're fine.
NEWBY: I got some material in my office, of all the people who spoke.
GRIMES: Oh, okay.
NEWBY: Yeah. I got a thing there. I'm going to bring it and show it with
you--show it to you.
GRIMES: What did the city of Frankfort represent to you?
NEWBY: The state capitol. I'm not too sure that it--well, I know I shouldn't say
this, but it's a small city. State capitol's there, and the--the Black college
is there. What's the name of that college? What is--I know it.
GRIMES: Kentucky State?
NEWBY: Kentucky State, yeah. Kentucky State University there. I'm a very--I
didn't go there. My dad tried to get me to go there. And he said, "I'll buy you
a car if you go to Kentucky State." I knew what he talking about. I can drive
back home, and he'd keep me on the farm, like he did when I was in
00:58:00high school. Nope. I said, "No, thank you. I'll buy my own car." But, yeah, he
wanted me to go there. And yeah, it's--Kentucky State--I thought it was a fine
school, but I didn't want to go there. I have some friends who went, but I
wanted to go out of the--go out of the state.
GRIMES: So, you got your bachelor's from Central State?
GRIMES: Talk about the crowds that day, and maybe the music. Do you remember any
NEWBY: At Kentucky State?
GRIMES: Well, at the march.
NEWBY: No, I can't remember it.
GRIMES: Do you remember anything about Senator Georgia Davis Powers?
NEWBY: Yeah, she was part of that leadership. Yes.
GRIMES: What'd you think about her?
NEWBY: I thought she was a fine lady. She was on the-- a senator, I
00:59:00believe it was. Yeah. She was fine. She was a great leader. I think she and Dr.
King were pretty good buddies.
GRIMES: Yeah. To say the least, yeah.
GRIMES: To say the least, yes.
NEWBY: I didn't say that, now.
GRIMES: Okay. (laughter) Oh, me. Do you remember any legislation she might've
passed or what difference she made in the state, or--
NEWBY: Yeah, she's--she's at the senate, I believe it was, and she did some--I
can't remember it all now because I got some records of it. But she's quite a
great leader. Yeah.
GRIMES: So, while you were at first--when you were pastoring First Corinthian,
did you all participate in any civil rights activism at all, or did
01:00:00you use the church as a vessel to talk about social justice or any of those things?
NEWBY: Yes. We participated in all the marches they had when I was down there at
the First Corinthian. And we had several things going on at the church that
pertained to racial discrimination and things of this nature. I can't recall
them all right this moment because I wasn't thinking about them, you know. If I
had written down this is what you're going to ask me, I'd remember them. But
I--we had several things going on there. And I was quite--King was a good
pastor, my predecessor, but I thought I was a better pastor. (laughs)
NEWBY: I think he went along with the--what went on down there. But I was--I
think I was a pretty good pastor.
GRIMES: So, talk about the role of the church in social justice. Or, what did
Jesus say about social justice? Did you ever preach about that in front of the
NEWBY: I didn't use political stuff in the pulpit, except I may sound a little
bit more political than I did preach. But I was strictly preaching about Jesus
Christ and what he was about, and this nature.
GRIMES: Okay. Okay. Were there any female members or female leaders of the civil
rights, local people, activists, that you remember? Any women and the role of
women that you remember in the civil rights movement, or the march, specifically?
NEWBY: Where? Here in Kentucky, or anywhere?
NEWBY: Oh, I can't remember.
NEWBY: I'm sure there were some, but I can't remember.
GRIMES: What would you say to youth today about activism and the marches that
are taking place right now, Black Lives Matter? Could you compare Black Lives
Matter to the movement back then in, '64?
NEWBY: You know, I'm not too much--I've heard of Black Lives Matter, and I see
signs all over the place. I wouldn't put one in my yard, for some reason. I
wouldn't do that. I--I think that where these signs are, that there might be
Black people living there, and I don't want no people who know who living here.
But I wouldn't put one in my yard.
GRIMES: Oh, okay. Got you.
NEWBY: They try to keep us from coming here, and moving here, and building,
because they said that they're gonna keep their--their property clean, that
they're going to do this and they're going to do that. But then, I think my
property's just as clean as theirs, or better.
GRIMES: There was also some--you mentioned earlier that there was some legal
action taken because you wanted to provide a daycare here in your home and--
NEWBY: Um-hm, yeah. This part here we're in now was supposed to be station to my
house over there. And my wife was teaching at the time. And I thought that, when
she came home, she'd be bored. And I wanna add onto my house over here, and put
up a daycare. In fact, this wallpaper on the wall was for kids because I know
they like-- and--but then, they went downtown, and stopped us from
01:04:00doing it because they said that monstrosity, they called it, up there, "if they
can't keep it or can't pay for it, then who going to buy that big monstrosity?"
You know. But my wife and I talk about it every so often that we're glad that we
got it to use what it is now, as compared to a daycare, you know, a daycare
would've been a little bit more strict, and we would have to be here all the
time. Now, we don't have to be here. We call this our mission home now, over
here. And we do have guests who live here. We got--have three
01:05:00upstairs, and they all got their private rooms and private bath. They got the
basement. The basement run from this side over here. They got a room, and they
got a living room, and they got the weight room, and they got the bath, and they
got the bedroom. It's a larger place down there. And so--
GRIMES: And is this for people who are having a hard time or down on their luck or--
NEWBY: Yeah. This is why I call it the mission house. We call it mission, so we
doing mission here. And we help people that--who are struggling. And--
--so, that's why we call it First Missionary. I think--it's just our
01:06:00same church up there. But it's--
GRIMES: Part of your mission in life.
NEWBY: Yes, indeed.
GRIMES: So, I saw on one of your plaques on the wall that June fifteenth, 2013
was declared Louis A. Newby day.
NEWBY: Where you see that?
GRIMES: It was on one of your certificates, one of your awards.
NEWBY: June what now?
GRIMES: June fifteenth, 2013. Was it down in Frankfort?
NEWBY: That was down [at] First Corinthian, wasn't it? Yes, I think it was down
[in] Frankfort. Yeah. And they had all kinds of celebration down there for us,
and that--that was real nice. I--
GRIMES: You also got an award from the NAACP?
GRIMES: Do you remember what that was for at all?
NEWBY: I was a participant, and the boy died. Can't think of his name. What's
his name, baby? NAACP president down there, just recently died. His--
SARAH NEWBY: [William] Cofield.
NEWBY: Cofield. You remember Cofield? No? Okay. He and I were good buddies. He
was--he would have me to come out. He was on the--he would do the radio station
in Frankfort, and he would have me come up and talk to him and--about what's
going on and everything. And so, I was on the radio just about every week down there.
GRIMES: So, once the bill passed and things were desegregated--I think the bill
passed in 1966, and public accommodations were desegregated. Do you have any
memory of that, at all, when it became legal for you to eat at the same counter,
or use a fitting room, or drink from the same water fountain, go to the same
schools, the same movie houses? Do you have any memory of that?
NEWBY: I do remember it, but I don't specifically remember the dates and things
of this nature. I apologize for that.
GRIMES: No, that's okay. That's okay.
NEWBY: I didn't--it wasn't part of me to keep in my mind.
GRIMES: Right. Right. But I'm asking, do you remember what it felt like when
desegregation took place?
NEWBY: It felt like that we are overcoming. I use the word I-N-G. We have not
yet completely, but we are overcoming. And that's what I felt like.
GRIMES: Do you feel like we've overcome at this point?
NEWBY: That we have?
GRIMES: Why not?
NEWBY: I think, as long as we have some racist people in our country, we still
going to have this problem. But I guarantee you, we are doing so much better.
Let me say this to you, that we were having Martin Luther King's
01:09:00celebration every year, down to the arena in Lexington. And several years ago,
with him--I can't remember who the speaker was, but he spoke very well, and
there was both white and Black in there. When it was over, we came out, and I
was in the crowd. And I felt somebody knock me on my shoulder, and I turned
around, and there's a white man. I turned around, and he said, now, he obviously
got converted, but he said, "Do you Blacks have a feeling that we are--have
mistreated you all?" And I said, "No. I don't think they mistreated us, per se.
But they could just move over a little bit and let us have part of the pie,
or a part of the street, or a part of the community. They could do
01:10:00that a little bit more. You know." And yeah, I--I don't have no problem with
other races. I just think we just need to get along. We talk--here, United
States as being a melting pot. Why can't we melt? Why can't we live together?
You know, I'm talking about the preaching now. I don't want to talk preaching.
But Jesus didn't separate us. Why should we be separated? If we all going to go
to heaven, got to go one place. And we just need to come together and act like
people who are citizen--got some sense. I talk about it in that book.
01:11:00I got a copy for you.
GRIMES: Thank you.
NEWBY: But maybe it's in the other book. I don't know. In one of the books I
talk about it.
GRIMES: So, you've written how many books?
NEWBY: With my education, I print two, for my master's and my doctorate. And
then, I wrote this one. Then, I wrote another one called King While I Was Born.
And it's ready, but my daughter got it. She's going through it. And as soon as
gave it--get done--I--we can send it out to the printer--out to the publisher.
GRIMES: Where did you get your master's degree?
NEWBY: I got my master's from the Lexington Theological Seminary.
NEWBY: It used to be out there on--
NEWBY: Nicholasville Road, yeah. But they moved it, and I think the university
bought the property.
GRIMES: Where'd you get your PhD?
NEWBY: I got my doctorate from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
GRIMES: Wow. Do you feel like there's anything that I have not asked you that
you want to talk about, or as it relates to the march, or your life, or just
anything you feel like you need to say or want to say, before we wrap up?
NEWBY: I just thank the Lord that he allowed me to come this far, and I'm a
little bit complacent right this moment. I'm not too energetic, as I used to be.
And I try to live the life that other people can respect. I keep my yard clean.
They said I wouldn't. And I--every five days, I got to mow it. Some of my
neighbors, the grass grew up this high, you know. I try to represent
01:13:00what I want my life to be and what I want other people to recognize me as a
Black person. And I think that's one of the greatest things that we could do in
our racial problem is to be what God has given us to be, and to be what our
country expect of us, regardless of who you are. Our country has some
expectation. And I think we should be the best that we can be.
HAY: If you were talking to a young person today, what would you tell them was
significant about the March on Frankfort? What was the most
01:14:00significant thing about it, if you were telling a young person today?
NEWBY: Well, I think we accomplished what we was after. I'm not too sure what I
would tell a person, except the fact that I was part of that movement. And
anything that's good, anything that's important, anything that bring us together
as a people, I think you should be part of it, that movement. And I can't see
any different between Black or white. I never know--never even thought anything
it. I just think that we all are human being. God made us all. And ain't nothing
we can do about it. But one thing we can do about it, is learn to
01:15:00live together as one. Be the nothing part that we claim that we are. I'm Black
as I want to be and you white as you want to be. You didn't make yourself. I
didn't make myself. I can't do a thing about it. I love you, and there's nothing
you can do about it. I love her. Nothing she can do about it. I wish she'd love
back, and we can feel good about it.
HAY: Thank you.
NEWBY: I'm not sure I answered your questions, but you know, that's the best I
GRIMES: Amen. Good job.
HAY: Thank you so much.
GRIMES: Thank you.
NEWBY: Thank you.
GRIMES: Thank you.
SARAH NEWBY: He didn't say anything about his family.
GRIMES: What about his family?
SARAH NEWBY: Well, he's married, and he's been married for 60 years. He is
the father of two daughters, Sahara--
SARAH NEWBY: --Myers. And--
NEWBY: And Teresa Acton.
SARAH NEWBY: --and Teresa Acton.
NEWBY: Her husband was here, just left.
SARAH NEWBY: College graduates, and Sahara has a master's from the University of
Louisville, and taught in the Jefferson County school system for 34 and a half years.
HAY: Would you like to come on camera for a minute and add--add the family information?
SARAH NEWBY: Do I have to?
NEWBY: Come up here, baby.
HAY: You don't have to.
SARAH NEWBY: I've--I've said all I wanna say.
HAY: I'm not sure we caught it as well as I would like on the microphone, so
that's what I was thinking. You could come sit next to him.
GRIMES: Got it? You want to set up her--set up a chair up for her?
NEWBY: I'll get a chair.
NEWBY: I got it.
GRIMES: Got it?
NEWBY: Yeah, she always fill in where I leave off.
HAY: Going to set it right--I'll set her right next to you.
NEWBY: Okay. You want side to side?
HAY: Side by side, like that. Might even pull you over just a little bit here.
There. There you go.
SARAH NEWBY: Right here?
SARAH NEWBY: I didn't mean to be meddling.
NEWBY: No, you're not meddling.
GRIMES: I did ask about you. I did--I don't think we talked about your
daughters, though. But I did ask about how you all met and--but I didn't know
you had been married for sixty years, so I'm glad you spoke up.
NEWBY: Yeah, sixty years. August.
SARAH NEWBY: August the nineteenth, 1961.
HAY: Do you feel comfortable taking your mask off?
NEWBY: And she taught school for forty years, and then backed the sub
01:18:00for ten more years.
NEWBY: She couldn't stand me. She said (laughs)--
SARAH NEWBY: Be quiet.
HAY: You said you taught for a total of fifty years?
SARAH NEWBY: Right.
HAY: Where did you teach?
SARAH NEWBY: In [clears throat] Fayette County. I was at Douglas for the first
several years that I taught school. And then, they wanted me to integrate the
NEWBY: Excuse me. You okay?
SARAH NEWBY: --at Mary Todd Elementary School. And after forty years, I said,
"It's done. It's enough." And so, I finished forty years and was not
01:19:00satisfied, so I went back, taught for another ten years. So, I'm not too sure
how many people are still living that could say they have put in that much time
in classrooms. I enjoyed the job. I still sort of wish I could go back again,
but I don't think I'm able to.
GRIMES: Will you state your name for us?
SARAH NEWBY: My name is Sarah Clark Newby, and my parents were Herbert and
GRIMES: Where'd you grow up?
SARAH NEWBY: I grew up in Nicholasville, until I got to ninth grade. And then, I
decided I was going to finish up with my parents' help at Dunbar High School in
Lexington, Kentucky. And again, I'm saying I enjoyed the job. I
01:20:00enjoyed the--the peace. I enjoyed being in school. I enjoyed seeing girls and
boys learn. That was my pay for being in the classroom that long.
GRIMES: Did you segregate--desegregate Mary Todd?
SARAH NEWBY: Oh, I did. I did.
GRIMES: What was that like?
SARAH NEWBY: For the most part, it was passable. Now, I was--Mr. Dunn, Tom Dunn
was the principal, and so, he gave me--or assigned a teacher to assist me, and
her name was Shirley Burris (??). And so, she was a fifth grade teacher, and I
was a fifth grade teacher. But of course, when you are in the
01:21:00spotlight and somebody's trying you out, I was given the worst, academically,
class in the whole school. Those kids didn't know anything at all, but just
writing down a few things, maybe spelling a few things, and well, they did some
artwork, maybe, and they called each other names. And so, I worked entirely with
that class. And I said, "they're not going to overrun me." So, when the
principal came in, before the school year was out, he was shocked. "I can't
believe this is the class that I saw back in September." So, I think that was
a--an opportunity to actually see where you can go with a very little
01:22:00bit to work with. But now, I think, out of that class, there was a young man,
who became a pharmacist. And his dad was a pharmacist. And to think of that
class being the way it was, I couldn't see how in the world this boy would, you
know, be able to go on through school and do well, but he did. And I think he's
still living. But, his parents are deceased, though.
GRIMES: Who is this man to you?
SARAH NEWBY: This man, to me, is my husband. And we married in August the
nineteenth, 1961, on our front porch in Fort Springs, Kentucky. And
01:23:00we set up chairs and--I didn't do it, but set up chairs all around the yard,
NEWBY: In the front yard.
SARAH NEWBY: --and--you've already talked about that?
NEWBY: No, no, no. Go ahead.
SARAH NEWBY: Oh. And of course, my pastor was there, C.W. Thompson. And he was
the one that did the ceremony like. And then--
NEWBY: Our pastor.
SARAH NEWBY: --Reverend Leon, Leon, Leon, Leon, Leon--
NEWBY: Leon McDowell?
SARAH NEWBY: McDowell.
NEWBY: And my grandfather.
SARAH NEWBY: And the Reverend J.A. Mitchell.
NEWBY: And three preachers. It took all three of them to marry us. (laughs)
SARAH NEWBY: So, after sixty years of it, you have to say that, you know, you've
been through thick and thin. And you've done a lot of sacrificing.
01:24:00You've done a lot of study, because I've been across the ocean, too. Took
classes at Austin College (??) in London, England. And also, went to Canada. And
where else did we go?
NEWBY: I took her to England. She didn't want to go.
SARAH NEWBY: (laughs) Well, that's okay. But anyway, it worked out. It worked
out, and I enjoyed it. And I wish now that I could get back to writing like I
used to. I go back to my desk. Because if you all went through this house and
went to my office, you would see things piled up just like that, things that
I've kept over the years, pictures that I kept over the years. And every so
often, I get a little lonesome feeling, and I say I got to go--got to go to the
office and look at some of those pictures of students and teachers.
01:25:00And at that time, at Mary Todd, they never had any Black folks to come in and be
guest speakers. So, I had I don't know how many guest speakers. If I named some
of them, you would probably recognize their names. But it was good. It was a challenge.
GRIMES: Who's your daughters?
SARAH NEWBY: My daughter, well, I said one, didn't I? Teresa is our daughter,
and she received her degree from--
SARAH NEWBY: University of Kentucky, just like I did. And she works for the
Fayette County schools, and doing very well, enjoying the trip. And she's
enjoying everything of being where she is, and we're just really proud of both
of our children.
NEWBY: That was her husband, in here.
GRIMES: Now, who is your other daughter, as well?
SARAH NEWBY: Sahara Myers. And she's a singer. She's a singer, and she has sung
down at the opera house, and she's sung a lot of places. She's now, I guess,
Vice President of the teachers' organization that they have there in Louisville.
So, every so often, she'll say what she does, but she doesn't want me to feel
like I'm putting her up on a high pedestal. She doesn't want that. So--but we're
proud. Very proud of our children, and proud that they're Christians.
SARAH NEWBY: They're Christian.
NEWBY: Have no problem with them.
SARAH NEWBY: Uh-huh. Nobody had to tell us anything negative about those girls.
They went right straight through elementary school, junior high
01:27:00school, high school. And so, we have no regrets. No complaints.
NEWBY: They had no struggle like I had.
SARAH NEWBY: Well--
GRIMES: So, did you attend the March on Frankfort in '64?
SARAH NEWBY: I'm not too sure I did.
NEWBY: You didn't.
SARAH NEWBY: I didn't. I didn't.
GRIMES: Do you remember anything about your time in Frankfort at First Corinthian?
SARAH NEWBY: We never did live in Frankfort. But I enjoyed working with the
folks there. Some of them wanted to do exactly what you asked them to do and you
were led to do, and some of them were just the opposite, in a way. But we seemed
to have gotten everything done, you know, with the building, buildings
, buildings done, and of course, the parsonage is right next door to
01:28:00the church. We didn't have to stay in it, though. It was always rented out. And
so, for thinking that you'd want to go back to where you were at first, no. No.
I think we've enjoyed the ride, and we're ready to kind of sit down and take a
breath of air.
HAY: What years were your daughters born, and what did you teach them about the
movement of the 1960s?
HAY: Sahara is fifty-eight years old, and Teresa is fifty-two. And they never
did have a problem of getting along with people. Never did. And so,
it-- and I'm not too sure they ever brought any problems home. Never.
01:29:00They were just--
NEWBY: Good girls.
SARAH NEWBY: Uh-huh. And they fitted in very well where they were. And I don't
have any regrets about their lives, and about ours, either.
GRIMES: Did you--do you recall any of the--any other forms of activism that you
or your husband may've participated in? I know you helped desegregate the
University of Kentucky. You were one of the first graduates.
SARAH NEWBY: Right.
GRIMES: Do you remember anything else you might've participated in? Any kind of
sit-ins, or NAACP, or organizations?
SARAH NEWBY: I'm not too sure that I could do that, if I had to spend quite a
bit of time in study. I didn't have time to, you know, do a little bit of
running around and maybe having a good time like some people would
01:30:00do. I had to work, and I had to go to school. I remember riding a segregated bus
from Nicholasville to Lexington when I was going to high school. And of course,
I'll say that the--that I was the salutatorian of the class at Dunbar High
School. But the little man that would drive the bus from Nicholasville to
Lexington was real, real ugly. The man was ugly. He would see me standing on the
corner, waiting for the bus to stop at the traffic light. And instead of him
driving around and stopping to let me ride, he wouldn't. He wouldn't. So, there
were several days where, if I had not ridden with people who were working in
Lexington, I wouldn't have gotten a ride. And of course, I--I did
01:31:00perfect attendance for four years. Didn't miss a day out of school in four
years. And yet, when I think about what a struggle that could've been, you know,
it could've been all the other way. And so, I had to work, too. I distributed
papers as a teenager, and I sold a--the Louisville Defender. You've heard of the
Louisville Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier.
GRIMES: Black newspapers?
SARAH NEWBY: Um-hm. And The Chicago Defender. So, I had--that was my way of
making a little bit of money as a teenager. And I worked other places, you know,
with other people, to--to make money. And of course, my dad was an electrician
and ice man. He drove his truck I don't know how many places, how
01:32:00many counties, delivering ice. And he was a little guy, too. He was little. But
you could see him carrying those hundred pounds of ice on his back and carrying
them into people's homes. And I guess that's the reason why, when you saw him
all bent over, he did that. He was bent over because of the ice run that he had
to make. So--and of course, my mother was a laundry lady, and she did people's
clothes, you know, washed and ironed. And my sister, Nancy, and I would have to
deliver those clothes. Id--they'd probably bring them on a Sunday night, and
then on Monday afternoon, she and I would have to deliver the clothes
01:33:00to them. So, did we think about it? Did we complain about it? No. It was just a
part of what we did. And I don't regret much of that at all. Not at all.
HAY: Do you have grandchildren?
SARAH NEWBY: Have two grandchildren, the pictures over there, on the wall.
HAY: Do they live nearby?
SARAH NEWBY: No. Well, let's see.
SARAH NEWBY: One lives in Louisville. The boy lives in Louisville. The young man
lives in Louisville, and the young lady lives here in Lexington. And of course,
she works for the state of Kentucky, doesn't she?
NEWBY: I think so.
SARAH NEWBY: In Frankfort. I don't know.
GRIMES: What's her name?
SARAH NEWBY: Teresa.
NEWBY: Not Teresa. Huh? That's our daughter.
SARAH NEWBY: Brittany.
SARAH NEWBY: (laughs) Don't call her that. Brittany.
NEWBY: Teresa's our younger daughter.
SARAH NEWBY: And Brittany--
NEWBY: And Brittany's our granddaughter.
SARAH NEWBY: And Alex is our grandson.
NEWBY: And Brittany has a daughter. Her name is Melody.
SARAH NEWBY: Melody Hope.
SARAH NEWBY: Melody Hope.
HAY: So, you have a great-granddaughter?
SARAH NEWBY: And she's eight years old.
GRIMES: Oh, wow.
NEWBY: She's biracial.
SARAH NEWBY: And she knows a little bit of something about everything. Don't
start her to talk.
NEWBY: Have a picture of them in here?
HAY: Okay, I have another crazy question. Could you explain what an ice man did
and how ice was used in those days, for people who would have no idea what a
person would do with that amount of ice?
SARAH NEWBY: Well, first of all, people didn't have refrigerators. They had what
they called ice boxes.
NEWBY: Ice boxes.
SARAH NEWBY: Ice box.
NEWBY: You'd buy the ice and put it in the box.
SARAH NEWBY: Yeah, put it in the box.
NEWBY: In the top part, and it kept the lower part cool.
SARAH NEWBY: Yeah, and of course, it was--my dad, as I said, that would have to
carry a hundred pounds on his back. And then, if they didn't have--if they
didn't ask for a hundred pounds, they'd probably say fifty pounds or twenty-five
pounds, like that.
HAY: So, that big block of ice would melt over a week.
NEWBY: A period of time.
HAY: A period of time?
SARAH NEWBY: A period of time, yeah.
HAY: And then, a new--and then, he would deliver a new block of ice?
SARAH NEWBY: Uh-huh. We had what you called the ice plant. We called that ice
plant in Nicholasville. So, he had his truck, and he'd have to drive to the ice
plant and pick up his ice, and then deliver. He delivered in Jessamine County,
in Woodford County. And where else? Might've been another county.
NEWBY: I don't think he'd come to Fayette County. Didn't come to Fayette County.
SARAH NEWBY: No, no.
NEWBY: Just Jessamine County and--did he go to Woodford County?
SARAH NEWBY: Hmm?
NEWBY: Did he go to Woodford County?
SARAH NEWBY: Um-hm. Woodford County.
NEWBY: I thought it was just around in Jessamine County. Okay. [What] about Wilmore?
SARAH NEWBY: I'm not too sure about Wilmore.
NEWBY: He delivered down to Keene, didn't he?
SARAH NEWBY: He probably did.
NEWBY: Did something down in Keene.
SARAH NEWBY: Probably did.
NEWBY: Nicholasville. May have gone down to Wilmore too. I'm pretty sure.
SARAH NEWBY: Yeah. But he was just a little man that was about--what, about five eleven.
NEWBY: Trying to take care of his family.
SARAH NEWBY: Uh-huh. And you could see him with this great, big old ice pack on
his back. And he had to deliver to a lot of people.
NEWBY: Yeah. We Black men had to do the best we can to take of our family, and
he was a family man.
SARAH NEWBY: He was.
NEWBY: And of course, I got to say and--I sort of gleaned something
01:37:00from him, her daddy. Like I said, my daddy and my brother were lazy. (laughs) I
had to--I had to whip them along, get them to do things. Yeah.
HAY: That's it.
GRIMES: Thank you so much.
HAY: Thank you.
SARAH NEWBY: I'm kind of wondering now, who's going to hear all this?
HAY: I'm going to turn this off.
SARAH NEWBY: Yeah.
[End of interview.]