Interview with Georgia Davis Powers, June 17, 1987

Project: Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Her paternal great, great grandfather was a Moroccan native brought to the United States by the Sisters of Nazareth. Raised in the Bardstown-Springfield area, Senator Powers recalls the destruction of the family home by a tornado in 1925 and moving to Louisville. She reminisces about her father, Ben Montgomery; his employment at the American Raid and Standard Sanitary Enameled Bathtub factory for 42 years; the mistaken assumption by co-workers that he was white and their reactions upon learning the truth; and his treatment by his employer. Senator Powers recalls family stories of slavery; being conned out of property; the Lancaster family; and the Muir family of Bardstown who raised her father.
She recalls the Great Depression; helping neighbors to survive; her relationships with her seven brothers; and family visits to her grandparents' farm. After graduation from a segregated high school in Louisville, she attended Louisville Municipal college for 2 years before relocating to Buffalo, New York.
Senator Powers recounts her World War II employment experiences at Curtis Wright Manufacturing and Wright Aeronautical in New Jersey; discusses her return to Louisville and obtaining her real estate license; talks about her career in real estate and the practices in which she engaged in order to survive. She talks about adopting her son and his history; moving to California with her military husband; the subsequent return to Louisville and her employment history. She remarks upon her time with the Wilson White senatorial campaign in 1962; Ed Breathitt's successful gubernatorial campaign in 1963; her involvement with the Democratic Party political campaigns; and her decision to run for office in 1966.
Involved with the "Allied Organizations for Civil Rights", Senator Powers recalls the March 5, 1964 civil rights march on Frankfort; the marches in Montgomery, Alabama and Dr. Martin Luther King. She talks about the night of Dr. King's assassination; the sanitation strikes in St. Petersburg, Florida; and meeting the late Vice President Hubert Humphrey at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. She comments upon her state government and senatorial career; campaign high jinks; introducing open housing legislation; and the advice and assistance received from state congressman Tom Garrett. Senator Powers remarks about the influence of money on politics and campaigns; the evolution of her constituency; her impressions of Jesse Jackson, Barbara Jordan, former governor Martha Lane Collins; the progress made by African Americans since her childhood.

Interview Accession

1987oh097_kh423

Interviewee Name

Georgia Davis Powers

Interviewer Name

Emily Parker

Interview Date

1987-06-17

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Powers, Georgia Davis Interview by Emily Parker. 17 Jun. 1987. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Powers, G.D. (1987, June 17). Interview by E. Parker. Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Powers, Georgia Davis, interview by Emily Parker. June 17, 1987, Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt75x63b2g0w