Interview with R. L. McFarland, Sr., May 22, 1999

Project: Owensboro-Daviess County: Race Relations, 1930-1970 Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Rev. McFarland was the first African American city commissioner in Owensboro. He also was employed by the telephone company for about thirty years. In this interview, he stresses the people who were role models in the black community, such as Thurman Wheatley, who owned Agner-Wheatley Funeral Home (now Young Funeral Home) and was a prominent landowner, and Emma E. Edwards, a teacher and later principal at Dunbar High School. Ms. Edwards also was one of the founders of the Mary Hardin Home for indigent blacks, located at 7th Street and Orchard. Rev. McFarland and his wife served on the board of the home, which existed for 35 years.

Rev. McFarland talks about changes that he has seen over the years in Owensboro. He mentions the disparity in pay experienced by blacks, and that his father had worked as a janitor in an apartment building for 45 years without ever having received a raise. During World War II, McFarland worked in the Chrysler plant in Evansville, Indiana, and this was the first time he or any of his friends had ever made over one dollar an hour. He states that after the war, some of his friends were able to maintain that wage, but others were forced to return to a poverty level existence.

He talks about his calling to the ministry, involvement in the civil rights movement and the community of Owensboro in general. He speaks about school integration and how things have changed in Owensboro over time.

Interview Accession

1999oh002_odch002

Interviewee Name

R. L. McFarland, Sr.

Interviewer Name

Daniel Hildenbrandt

Interview Date

1999-05-22

Interview Keyword

Religion Ministry Black leaders

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

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McFarland, R. L., Sr. Interview by Daniel Hildenbrandt. 22 May. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

McFarland, R.L., Sr. (1999, May 22). Interview by D. Hildenbrandt. Owensboro-Daviess County: Race Relations, 1930-1970 Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

McFarland, R. L., Sr., interview by Daniel Hildenbrandt. May 22, 1999, Owensboro-Daviess County: Race Relations, 1930-1970 Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7djh3d2206