Interview with James Embry, November 14, 1978

Project: University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

In this interview, James Embry talks about the student uprisings on the University of Kentucky campus during the late 1960's and early 1970's. He was kicked out of school for attempting to burn down some buildings with gasoline cocktails at U.K., and was banned from campus in 1969. He recalls he went to trial in 1970, was found guilty, and put on a year's probation. Embry was still involved with the Black Student Union, and participated with other black students as well as whites in the "bitch-ins" held either on the student center patio or behind Memorial Coliseum. He remembers these gatherings would revolve around discussions regarding various issues such as the Vietnam War, the Cambodian killings, the student code, and other concerns. He talks about the student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, publishing articles regarding the need for student representation on U.K.'s Board of Trustees, legal aid for students, banning the song "Dixie" from being played at fraternity football games, and student and faculty relations.

Embry remembers that these activities were occurring during the height of the Civil Rights and black power movements, and that Huey Newton, a leader of the Black Panther Party, and William Kuntsler, a radical attorney, were asked to speak on campus. The Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.), a radical organization, also had a group on campus. He mentions the Student Mobilization Committee and the Lexington Peace Council, which included people from the Lexington, Kentucky community population. He remembers that he was in New York City, New York when Robert Kennedy was killed. He talks about the U.K. students' reaction to the Kent State killings; the rally by the fountain that day, and the candlelight march to the administration building on U.K.'s campus the night. Embry describes the march to the Buell Armory building, where the headquarters of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) was located, which was burned as part of the protest. Embry remembers that Governor Louie B. Nunn ordered the students to be barred from U.K. and the Kentucky National Guard to surround the campus.

Interview Accession

1979oh119_af097

Interviewee Name

James Embry

Interviewer Name

John Jason Peter

Interview Date

1978-11-14

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.

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.

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Embry, James Interview by John Jason Peter. 14 Nov. 1978. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Embry, J. (1978, November 14). Interview by J. J. Peter. University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Embry, James, interview by John Jason Peter. November 14, 1978, University of Kentucky: 1970 Student Protests Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7j9k45rc9d