Interview with Frances S. Smallwood, September 11, 1986

Project: Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

The granddaughter of former slaves in Mississippi, Mrs. Smallwood was raised in Tuskegee, Alabama where her father worked at the Tuskegee Institute. She recalls growing up surrounded by role models including Mary Bethune Cookman and Margaret Mary Washington, and speeches and concerts her family attended at Tuskegee. She remembers listening to the first public radio broadcasts, the establishment of a veteran's hospital for African Americans, and attending high school and college in Tuskegee.

After receiving her nursing degree from Meharry, she was employed in North Carolina and New York before marrying a classmate and settling in Lexington, Kentucky. Mrs. Smallwood remembers being hired and working as a school nurse in the Fayette County school system. She recalls that her education, which she considers much better than her colleagues, helped tremendously with employment opportunities and raises. Only the second African American nurse in the public health service, Mrs. Smallwood reminisces about her nursing career at Douglass and Dunbar High Schools, as well as Russell Cave, Harrison, Arlington, and Garden Springs elementary schools.

She discusses how the civil rights movement changed the schools and businesses, and remarks upon the participation in the movement by her white minister. She comments upon her participation in church and community activities, and the lack of African American Episcopalians in Lexington. She reminisces about social life in Lexington during the 1940s and 1950s, living in the same neighborhood for 37 years, the effects of divorce upon African American families, and the lack of interest by parents in their children.

Interview Accession

1986oh252_kh379

Interviewee Name

Frances S. Smallwood

Interviewer Name

Emily Parker

Interview Date

1986-09-11

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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Smallwood, Frances S. Interview by Emily Parker. 11 Sep. 1986. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Smallwood, F.S. (1986, September 11). Interview by E. Parker. Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Smallwood, Frances S., interview by Emily Parker. September 11, 1986, Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7jsx647b8c