Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Carl H. Smith, Patricia Griffith, November 17, 2021

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

 

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00:00:04 - Family history / Childhood

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Partial Transcript: My name is Le Datta Denise Grimes and today is November 17, 2021.

Segment Synopsis: Smith was born in 1931 in Terrell, Texas, a small farm town south of Dallas. Smith's maternal great-grandfather was the only land-owning Black person in the county and had an eighth grade education. Smith's great-grandfather had a big influence on him and was an early role model for Smith. Smith describes how his great-grandparents met, which was through church, sometime during the Reconstruction era. Smith recalls working in the fields with his mother and siblings so she could keep an eye on them. Smith disliked farm work but kept up his family responsibilities since he had so much respect for his great-grandfather, who acted as the patriarch of the family. Smith did not complain about his life as a child or the material goods that he did not have since he did not know of any other lifestyle than that of a rural farming community.

Keywords: Church collection; Family; Land ownership; Pastors; Reconstruction (1865-1877)

Subjects: African Americans; Agriculture; Ancestors; Ancestry; Black people; Brothers; Childhood; Churches; Discipline; Early life; Education; Family history; Farmers; Farms; Fathers; Genealogy; Grandmothers; Great-grandfathers; Great-grandmothers; Kaufman County (Tex.); Louisiana; Marriage; Money; Mothers; Parents; Role models; Siblings; Terrell (Tex.); Texas; Tulsa (Okla.); Work ethic

00:06:51 - Great-grandfather

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Partial Transcript: So, you were talking about how you all came to own the land there.

Segment Synopsis: Smith's maternal great-grandfather worked his way up from being a sharecropper to becoming a landowner. He was able to purchase land from a white farmer with extensive land holdings. Smith describes his great-grandfather as a tall man who was dedicated to farming and encouraged Smith to study hard since he was not cut out for farm work. Smith recalls that his great-grandfather did not have a lot of business acumen in terms of managing the farm. When several white men came over to the house to discuss business, Smith's great-grandfather felt pressured and wanted to table the business negotiations until his children could come into town. The white men did not want to wait and Smith's great-grandfather was forced to make his intentions known forcefully to the white people. Smith remarks that his great-grandfather and other Black people in the area were typically unassuming and deferential to white people, but his great-grandfather generally had no fear. Smith recalls that many years after his great-grandfather died, the family was cheated out of the real value of his land when they sold it. The land was supposed to contain a park bearing the name of Smith's great-grandfather, but those plans also did not come to fruition. Smith is angered at the thought of his family being cheated out of the land's value, but acknowledges that it was a common occurrence for Black families to not get their fair share in business deals. Smith wanted to emulate his great-grandfather's work ethic, sense of independence, and his ability to accomplish his goals.

Keywords: Business--Decision making; Family; Land ownership; Land value; White people

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Agriculture; Black people; Brothers; Childhood; Children; Discrimination; Early life; Farmers; Farms; Great-grandfathers; Great-grandmothers; Independence; Kaufman County (Tex.); Money; Prejudice; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Role models; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping; Terrell (Tex.); Texas; Work ethic

00:13:38 - Beginning of his interest in music

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Partial Transcript: Where were you educated? What schools did you attend?

Segment Synopsis: Smith moved from Terrell, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma in the ninth grade and lived with his grandmother. Smith attended a segregated high school in Tulsa. Smith recalls being excited about the more urban lifestyle in Tulsa and the greater amount of choices he had for extracurricular activities. Smith joined the boys' glee club and on the first day of school, he was embarrassed when he sang and his voice was deeper than the other students'. The other boys laughed and Smith believes that his teacher could have used this instance as a teaching moment to explain to the boys about how their voices will change during puberty. Smith was devastated by this incident and was comforted by his future best friend. The next day, Smith volunteered to sing a solo and the teacher reluctantly called on him since she was afraid he would be embarrassed again. When Smith started singing, the teacher remarked that he had the most beautiful voice she had ever heard. In high school, Smith began to realize that his career aspirations of becoming an eye doctor were out of reach because he was behind the other students in Tulsa academically and the cost of training to be a doctor was prohibitively expensive. Smith began to gravitate towards music as a career and began to take trumpet lessons with the trumpet that his uncle gave him.

Keywords: Academics; Band; Eye doctors; Segregated schools; Solos; Talent; Trumpet lessons; Trumpets

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Education.; Black people; Boys; Careers; Childhood; Choirs (Music); Discrimination in education.; Early life; Embarrassment; Glee clubs; Grandmothers; High schools; Music; Musical instruments; Puberty; Restaurants; Segregation; Segregation in education; Singing; Songs; Teachers; Teaching; Terrell (Tex.); Tone; Tulsa (Okla.); Uncles; Voice, Change of; Work

00:20:53 - Education

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Partial Transcript: Where did you graduate high school?

Segment Synopsis: Smith attended Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Smith then went on to study music at Lincoln University, a historically Black university in Jefferson City, Missouri. Smith states that attending segregated schools dictated what kind of music he learned, which, in his case, were mainly spirituals. Smith emphasizes the importance of church during his childhood, stating that he wore his one suit and took a bath on Sundays. Smith worked through college and enjoyed singing. Smith liked having opportunities to sing with integrated musical groups so that he could learn more about different genres of music, including opera. Smith often sang as a tenor since this range was in high demand but states that he was more of a natural baritone. Smith received a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University, a master's degree from Tulsa University, and a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

Keywords: Booker T. Washington High School (Tulsa, Okla.); Segregated schools; Youth choirs

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Education.; Baritones (Singers); Black people; Childhood; Choirs (Music); Discrimination in education.; Early life; Education; Education, Higher; Friendship; Gospel music; Grandmothers; Happiness; High School; Jefferson City (Mo.); Lincoln University (Jefferson City, Mo.); Music; Music teachers; Musicians; Opera; Professors; Religion; Segregation; Segregation in education; Singing; Spirituals (Songs); Suits (Clothing); Tenors (Singers); Tulsa (Okla.); Tulsa University; University of Pittsburgh; Work

00:25:42 - Career interests / Military service

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Partial Transcript: And what was your career trajectory?

Segment Synopsis: Initially, Smith wanted to be a performer, but did not have the voice for that. Smith still had a desire to be a doctor, but changed course and wanted to work with students and become a professor of music. After finishing his bachelor's degree at Lincoln University, Smith began his first teaching job at a college in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Prior to receiving his master's degree, he served in the Army for two years and was stationed in Hawaii. Smith then became the choir director at Kentucky State University (KSU). Smith turned down several offers to leave KSU because he enjoyed teaching the students there so much.

Keywords: Choir directors; Eye doctors

Subjects: African American soldiers; African Americans; Black people; Careers; Choirs (Music); Harmony; Hawaii; High schools; Kentucky State University; Military; Music; Musicians; Performances; Poplar Bluff (Mo.); Professors; Singing; Students; Teaching; United. States Army; Voice; Youth

00:29:37 - Wife and family / Working at Kentucky State University

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Partial Transcript: Were you married and who are your children?

Segment Synopsis: Smith met and married his wife while she was a student at Kentucky State University (KSU). Smith recalls that he met her at registration day for students and she caught his eye while he was helping students check in. Smith went on to have five children, three daughters and two sons. When Smith arrived at KSU, the music department was located in a converted house. The department chair was a talented musician and composer who played the organ and the piano. Smith states that he enjoyed working and living in Kentucky despite issues with segregation and racism, which he says were unavoidable with border states and Southern states during this time.

Keywords: Choir directors; Curriculum; Family; Music classes; Musical compositions; The South; Wife

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Black people; Border States (U.S. Civil War); Children; Choirs (Music); Cincinnati (Ohio); Composers; Daughters; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Friends; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Marriage; Music; Professors; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Sons; Southern states; Students; Women; Work

00:35:02 - Segregation in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the racial problems you saw?

Segment Synopsis: When Smith arrived to work at Kentucky State University (KSU), Frankfort was still heavily segregated. Smith recalls that Black people were not allowed to eat at several restaurants or attend services at certain churches. In particular, Smith was captivated by the beauty of the segregated First Christian Church in Frankfort. After desegregation, Smith was hired to be the choir director of First Christian and was chosen over a white student from a prominent Frankfort family who he had recommended to the church. Smith served as the choir director for forty-seven years and enjoyed his work at the church. Smith states that he has witnessed many changes to the status quo in terms of segregation. Smith experienced discrimination and segregation as a Black man in Texas and participated in numerous sit-ins with his KSU students in Frankfort. Smith recalls the irony in being denied service at an Italian restaurant considering he was a veteran with deep roots in the United States while the owner of the restaurant was an Italian immigrant. After desegregation, Smith was welcomed into the restaurant by the owner and did not have to pay for his meal. Smith remembers many people began to participate in sit-ins to get their pictures in the newspaper. Smith and his friend went into Woolworths and were surprised when they were allowed to sit down and eat.

Keywords: Choir directors; Desegregation; First Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.); Integration; Lunch; Organs; Sit-ins (Civil rights)

Subjects: African American soldiers; African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Americans; Black people; Choirs (Music); Churches; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Cooks; Department stores; Discrimination; Dishwashing; Employees; Farms; Food; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Hamburgers; Italians; Italy; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Lunch counters; Newspapers; Prejudice; Professors; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Restaurants; Segregation; Singing; Students; Texas; United States; Veterans; Woolworths

00:43:22 - Kentucky State University during the civil rights era

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember what year you came to, uh, Kentucky State?

Segment Synopsis: When Smith arrived at Kentucky State University (KSU) in 1958, some professors were involved in the civil rights movement, especially in integrating restaurants. Smith recalls that during one KSU homecoming there were protests and complaints against segregated restaurants, which garnered newspaper attention. Smith describes the collaboration between presidents of Black colleges to improve conditions at their schools during this time. Prior to becoming the choir director at KSU, Smith had many roles at his previous institution and settled in well at KSU with encouragement from faculty. Smith lists some of the professors he worked with at KSU, including Helen Holmes. There was one white professor at KSU while Smith was there, who had come from the University of Kentucky. Initially, Smith lived in the KSU dorms and moved into an off-campus residence when he got married.

Keywords: Black businesses; Black organizations; Choir directors; English professors; Helen Holmes; Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Rufus Atwood; White people

Subjects: African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Black people; Choirs (Music); Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; College presidents; Dormitories; Education, Higher; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Homecoming; Housing; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Marriage; Newspapers; Piano teachers; Professors; Publicity; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Restaurants; Segregation; University of Kentucky; Work

00:50:52 - Involvement in the March on Frankfort / Martin Luther King Jr.

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Partial Transcript: So, let's move to the March. How did you get involved with the March?

Segment Synopsis: One of the reasons that Smith attended the March on Frankfort was the opportunity to hear Dr. King speak in person. Smith and the Kentucky State University Concert Choir were asked to perform at the March. Initially, Smith was worried about what songs to pick for the performance at the March. Smith decided to choose patriotic songs and spiritual songs. Smith got to meet Dr. King and shake his hand. Smith remembers being very impressed with Dr. King's speech. Smith sat behind the choir and some of his students observed that Dr. King was dressed very sharp and moved constantly across the stage. Smith was familiar with several of the ministers attending the March, since the KSU choir often had sponsorships to perform at churches throughout Kentucky. Smith had approximately thirty-five students performing at the March. Smith recalls that KSU was a lively place during the time of the March. Smith also met Jackie Robinson at the March. Smith describes Jackie Robinson as soft-spoken, confident, and cheerful with a good smile.

Keywords: Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Jackie Robinson; Kentucky State University Concert Choir; March on Frankfort; Martin Luther King Jr.; Ralph Abernathy; Stage

Subjects: African Americans; Battle hymn of the republic (Song); Black people; Choirs (Music); Christianity; Churches; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Handshaking; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Leaders; Leadership; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Lyrics; Ministers; Music; Musicians; Performances; Piano; Police; Religion; Singing; Songs; Speeches; Spirituals; Star-spangled banner (Song); Students; Teachers; We shall overcome

01:02:06 - Atmosphere at the March / Significance of national and state capitols

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Partial Transcript: What did it feel like that day at the Capitol? Did it feel like a monumental day or historic moment at all, or?

Segment Synopsis: Smith found it impressive that Black people like Dr. King were up on stage at the March displaying what Black people stood for in a loving and kind manner. Smith had the opportunity to speak with Mary Travers of Peter, Paul, and Mary while waiting for Dr. King to arrive. Smith states that Mary Travers is a talented and spirited singer and is underrated compared to her bandmates Peter and Paul. Smith had never seen the Kentucky State Capitol that crowded before until the March occurred. Smith views the United States Capitol to represent the power of the presidency. Smith explains that the Kentucky State Capitol represents where decisions are made in the state. Smith recalls that he met former Kentucky Governor Happy Chandler at a KSU event many years after the March.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; Albert 'Happy' Chandler; Barack Obama; John F. Kennedy; Kentucky State University Concert Choir; March on Frankfort; Martin Luther King Jr.; Mary Travers; Ned Breathitt

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Choirs (Music); Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Governors; Kennedy family; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State Capitol (Frankfort, Ky.); Kentucky State University; Music; Musicians; National Mall & Memorial Parks (Agency : U.S.); Peter, Paul, and Mary (Musical group); Presidents; Singers; Singing; Songs; United States Capitol Complex (Washington, D.C.); Washington (D.C.)

01:07:25 - Musicians and integration / Peter, Paul, and Mary

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Partial Transcript: Musicians are the greatest integrationists that you can find.

Segment Synopsis: Smith explains that musicians are integrationists because, in order to make good music and achieve harmony, people have to work together. Smith believes that integration and musicians working together helped to create jazz. While serving in the military, Smith would listen to jazz performances and enjoyed hearing the different chords from each musician coming together to create beautiful music. Smith adds that musicians must work and practice together in order to be in musical harmony. Smith likes the music of Peter, Paul, and Mary and their messages of love and unity. Smith and the interviewer list some of the songs that Peter, Paul, and Mary sang.

Keywords: Blowin In The Wind (Song); Integration; Puff The Magic Dragon (Song)

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Chords (Music); Cooperation; Folk music; Harmony; Jazz; Military; Music; Musicians; Performances; Peter, Paul, and Mary (Musical group); Pianists; Piano; Songs; United States. Army

01:10:21 - Organizing the March / Helen Holmes

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember who were your contacts for that day?

Segment Synopsis: Smith had no specific instructions from Kentucky State University about the March performance, but he wanted to ensure that the voices of the choir blended together properly. Smith strategically placed his singers from different ranges to project their voices and achieve musical harmony. Smith did not participate in the hunger strike associated with the March, but read about it in the newspaper. Smith believes there were good people on both the religious and non-religious sides of the civil rights movement and that religious groups really brought people together. Smith worked with Kentucky State University Professor Helen Holmes, who was a well-respected member of the university community. Holmes left a major impact on the students she taught and mentored.

Keywords: Bass singers; Choir directors; Helen Holmes; Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Kentucky State University Concert Choir; March on Frankfort

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Choirs (Music); Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Harmony; Humanity; Hunger strikes; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Leaders; Leadership; Microphones; Performances; Professors; Religion; Singers; Singing; Songs; Sopranos (Singers); Sounds; Students; Tenors (Singers)

01:13:42 - Perception and image of Kentucky / Racism in Kentucky versus other states

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Partial Transcript: What else do you remember about that actual day?

Segment Synopsis: Smith felt that this performance of the KSU choir at the March was an important opportunity to dispel negative stereotypes about Kentucky. Smith remembers that many people het met while serving in the military had a negative impression of Kentucky as a backwards place. In terms of racism, from Smith's perspective, he witnessed less overt discrimination in Kentucky when compared to what he experienced in Texas. In Texas, Smith and the other Black children were not allowed to ride the school bus and the white children would make fun of the Black kids as they walked to school.

Keywords: Choir directors; Hillbillies; Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs); Kentucky State University Concert Choir; The South; White people

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Americans; Childhood; Choirs (Music); Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Discrimination; Early life; Farms; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Great-grandfathers; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Li'l Abner (Fictitious character); Military; Music; Performances; Prejudice; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Racism; Reputation; School buses; Songs; States; Stereotypes (Social psychology); Terrell (Tex.); Texas; United States; United States. Army

01:18:51 - Musicians and civil rights

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Partial Transcript: Musicians are kind of different, even then.

Segment Synopsis: Smith states that some musicians have a superiority complex, believing that European music has more value than non-European music. Smith and his generation were taught that classical music from European composers was more important than the work of American musicians. Smith and his generation did not realize that jazz was an innovative fusion of classical and gospel music developing right in their own country until the civil rights movement occurred. Smith believes that musicians need to be open-minded to different music genres.

Keywords: European music; Johann Sebastian Bach; Ludwig van Beethoven

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Classical music; Composers; Diversity; England; Europe; France; Fusion; Germany; Gospel music; Jazz; Jazz musicians; Johannes Brahms; Music; Musicians; Poland; Songs; United States

01:21:23 - Kentucky State University Choir at the March / Significance of Martin Luther King at the March

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Partial Transcript: How did the choir sound to you on that day?

Segment Synopsis: Smith was concerned about harmonizing his choir for the performance at the March. Smith believes that the greatest challenge of choirs is to blend the voices together. Ultimately, Smith was satisfied with the performance of his students at the March and feels that it is his responsibility to make sure that the choir sings well. At the time of the March, Dr. King was quickly becoming a famous figure in the civil rights movement. When Smith was growing up, he did not have any Black role models to look up to. Smith told his family of the March and they were excited that he had met Dr. King.

Keywords: Choir directors; Family; Kentucky State University Concert Choir; March on Frankfort; Martin Luther King Jr.

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Childhood; Choirs (Music); Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Farms; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Harmony; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Microphones; Music; Performances; Professors; Role models; Students; Teaching; Texas

01:24:57 - Role of protest in change / Views on presidents

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Partial Transcript: What was the role of protest in bringing about change?

Segment Synopsis: Smith believes that protests help but change needs to come from the top down in society. Smith thinks that protests need to choose a central focus. Smith states that President Johnson did a lot for civil rights, education, and racial harmony. Smith also likes President Kennedy and President Obama. Smith admires the courage of Black youth during the civil rights movement to participate in non-violent sit-ins, using the tactics of leaders like Gandhi. If he was a young man protesting, Smith states that he would find it difficult not to retaliate against anti-civil rights aggressors, since he admits he was a bit-hotheaded as a youth. Smith adds that his family instilled in Smith and his brothers the value of not resorting to violence to solve conflicts.

Keywords: Barack Obama; Black college students; Lyndon Johnson; Mahatma Gandhi; Sit-ins (Civil rights); Universities

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Brothers; Change; Childhood; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Education; Leaders; Leadership; Nonviolence; Presidents; Protests (Negotiable instruments); Youth

01:28:07 - Black Lives Matter protests / Women in civil rights

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Partial Transcript: How do the protest of today differ from the protest of the '60s or how are they similar?

Segment Synopsis: In Smith's view, the Black Lives Matter movement protests took a more politicized approach than the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s. Smith wonders if protesting does any good, considering abhorrent events like the death of George Floyd still occur but he hopes for change soon. Smith believes that Black youth today are less concerned about their safety and have more freedom to go to different places without fear when compared to his generation. Smith lists Angela Davis and Georgia Davis Powers as two important female figures in the civil rights movement. Smith describes Georgia Davis Powers as outspoken.

Keywords: Angela Davis; George Floyd; Georgia Davis Powers; Politics

Subjects: African Americans; Black Lives Matter movement; Black people; Books; California; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Kentucky. General Assembly; Leaders; Leadership; Politicians; Professors; Protests (Negotiable instruments); Women

01:30:52 - Slavery and the Civil War

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Partial Transcript: So, the bill actually passes in 1966. Do you remember that at all?

Segment Synopsis: Smith states that many people forget that the primary reason for the American Civil War was the fight over slavery. Smith finds it ironic that white people fought and killed one another for the right to own slaves. Smith explains that slavery was primarily about making monetary gains off enslaved people's labor. In Smith's view, politicians today are wealthy and cannot get along despite their affluence, similar to the white people fighting in the American Civil War.

Keywords: Democrats; Enslaved people; Enslavement; Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966; Republicans; The 1619 Project; The South; White people

Subjects: African Americans; Black people; Income; Money; New York times; Newspapers; Political parties; Politicians; Slavery; Slaves; Southern States; States; United States; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.

01:33:18 - Legacy of civil rights / Race in the military

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Partial Transcript: How do you talk to your grandchildren about, um, the importance of the March on Frankfort or racial situations today that take place in America?

Segment Synopsis: Smith believes that teaching his grandchildren about kindness is more important than talking to them about the civil rights movement. Smith's granddaughter has both Black and white friends, and Smith says that she is more focused on doing well in school than race. Smith's granddaughter is interested in pursuing a career in medicine and Smith states that all humans have blood, regardless of race. Smith reflects on his experiences with race in the military, recalling that an intelligent white soldier who was not from the South was in disbelief at the stupidity of Southern soldiers and their attitudes towards race. The white soldier would constantly talk about how unintelligent it was for Southerners to hate Black people. At one point, the white soldier got into a physical altercation with some of the white Southern soldiers. Smith has learned from serving in the military that one must adjust their behavior according to the people they are interacting with and their beliefs. Smith also comments that he was a member of the bugle band while serving in the Army.

Keywords: Bugles; Skin color; Southerners; The South; White people

Subjects: African American soldiers; African Americans; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; Black people; Bugle calls; Careers; Civil rights; Civil rights movement; Education; Equality; Friends; Grandchildren; Intelligence; Medicine; Military; Musical instruments; Percussion; Race; Race discrimination.; Race relations--Kentucky; Soldiers; Southern States; United States. Army

01:38:06 - Final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Feel like there's anything I have not asked you about?

Segment Synopsis: Smith feels that Frankfort is like home to him, since he has friends, family, and a good community support system. Smith sings a few lyrics of songs that the Kentucky State University Concert Choir performed at the March. Smith states that he has hearing loss resulting from operating a military tank while serving in the Army. Smith says he uses hearing aids and has tinnitus. Smith then sings part of "We Shall Overcome."

Keywords: Choir directors; Ear injuries; Family; March on Frankfort; Oh Freedom (Song); We Shall Overcome (Song)

Subjects: African American Soldiers; African Americans; Black people; Choirs (Music); Churches; Civil rights; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Communities; Ears; Frankfort (Ky.); Franklin County (Ky.); Friendship; Hearing; Hearing aids; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Kentucky State University; Military; Music; Singing; Songs; Spirituals; Tinnitus; United States. Army