Interview with O. W. Harris, October 8, 1988

Project: Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

O.W. Harris was born in 1916 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. He remembers the union organizers and labor recruiters from the 1930s. He mentions the involvement of women in efforts to unionize and states that some of the women were "mouthy." Harris discusses courting his wife, and birth control. He notes the availability of condoms at the recreation center. He also describes the sexual double standard. Harris refers to the schools in Van Lear as the best in the state and mentions that the high school offered physics. He describes the role of blacks and immigrant groups in Van Lear. He states that many companies made it a policy to not hire African Americans or foreigners. Northeast Coal Company, which had mines at Auxier and Thealka, Kentucky, was one such company. He lists the nationalities present in Van Lear including Albanians, Poles, Czechs, Italians, Romanians, Yugoslavians, Hungarians and Russians. He remembers an Italian labor recruiter, Tony Dan. He states that African Americans came to Van Lear from Alabama and Georgia, and he recalls one interracial marriage in Logan, West Virginia and one incident with the Ku Klux Klan.

Interview Accession

1988oh161_app160

Interviewee Name

O. W. Harris

Interviewer Name

Glenna Graves

Interview Date

1988-10-08

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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Harris, O. W. Interview by Glenna Graves. 08 Oct. 1988. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Harris, O.W. (1988, October 08). Interview by G. Graves. Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Harris, O. W., interview by Glenna Graves. October 08, 1988, Appalachia: Family and Gender in the Coal Community Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7fxp6v125t