Interview with Malcolm Walker, May 11, 1999

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

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Interview Summary

Rev. Walker discusses racial incidents in Owensboro, Kentucky. While growing up in McHenrys, Walker recalls that African Americans swam at a location called the "Old Pond." An incident occurred when he and some friends unwittingly swam at the swimming hole that was for "whites only." Walker and his friends were harassed and had to be rescued by a couple of Walker's uncles. Walker also remembers when the Owensboro police blocked off a section of town from Walnut Street to Orchard, and from 5th Street over to 7th Street for a period of four or five days to limit civil rights marches.

Walker also talks about the importance of the black church to his family and within the African American community. He remembers segregated businesses in Owensboro and that blacks were served in the back of a restaurant located at the intersection of Allen and 3rd Street, and had to sit in the balcony of the local theatre. Schools were segregated and there were separate leagues for the high school athletic teams. Walker discusses the various black neighborhoods in Owensboro and a black business called "Bear's Place" that had a bar, jukebox, and slot machines. Walker was also a musician and recalls that he sometimes made two dollars a night which was very good money in those days. He talks about various clubs he played in and how he had to hide behind the piano if the crowd got a bit too rowdy. He discusses dealing with prejudice before integration, and how he hated white people for the way they treated him. He remembered that once, while on a trip with his employer, he was not allowed to stay in the motel but had to sleep in the car.

Interview Accession

1999oh001_odch001

Interviewee Name

Malcolm Walker

Interviewer Name

Daniel Hildenbrandt

Interview Date

1999-05-11

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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Walker, Malcolm Interview by Daniel Hildenbrandt. 11 May. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Walker, M. (1999, May 11). 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.

Walker, Malcolm, interview by Daniel Hildenbrandt. May 11, 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/xt7j9k45t94d