Interview SummaryMary A. Adams was among the first African American graduate students to integrate the University of Kentucky. A graduate of Kentucky State University, Adams' father encouraged her to enter UK to earn her master's degree in secondary education. Adams states that her father highly valued the education of his children. Her mother was a former teacher. In September of 1949, Adams began her studies at UK. She recalls that some members of her family attempted to discourage her from attending for fear that she would be harassed, but Adams states she did not have a bad experience. Of course, her experience was different than most white students. In one class taught by future UK President Frank Dickey, she was asked to sit in an area separate from the white students. She was also ignored by many students, and one professor. Adams graduated in 1950, and states that she was graded fairly and that she was determined to show the people at UK that she could do just as well as anyone else. Adams taught high school in Cynthiana, Kentucky for five years and then came back to UK to change her certification to elementary education. She subsequently taught in Lexington-area schools for 35 years. She remembers her best experience at UK was walking across the stage to receive her degree and actually having white people clap for her. She discusses her views of integrated schools, the need for more black teachers, and her expectations for African American students.
Interview LC SubjectAdams, Mary A. Adams, Mary A.--Interviews University of Kentucky University of Kentucky--History African American college students African Americans--Education African American college students--Social conditions African American college students. African Americans--Education (Higher) African Americans--Education--Kentucky--Lexington African Americans--Education. African Americans--Segregation African Americans--Social conditions. College environment College students, Black College students--Attitudes. College students--Conduct of life. College students--Social conditions Discrimination in higher education Education, Higher--Kentucky Integration Minorities in higher education Race discrimination. Race relations--Kentucky Racism. Universities and colleges. Women in higher education. Women--Education (Higher)
Interview RightsAll 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 UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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.
Add this interview to your cart in order to begin the process of requesting access to a copy of and/or permission to reproduce interview(s).
Adams, Mary A. Interview by Lauretta F. Byars. 10 Oct. 1997. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Adams, M.A. (1997, October 10). Interview by L. F. Byars. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Adams, Mary A., interview by Lauretta F. Byars. October 10, 1997, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.
If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.
Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7c599z308q