Interview with Lyman T. Johnson, February 27, 1979

Project: Wade Hall Papers (2009ms131): Interviews with Lyman T. Johnson

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Interview Summary

Lyman T. Johnson is introduced. He discusses how it is impossible for African Americans to trace their lineage past a certain point due to the institution of slavery. He talks about why genealogy is not particularly a part of his identity. He talks more about slavery, specifically about the people taken from their homes in Africa. He talks about the white ancestors in many African American's genealogy due to the rape of enslaved women by their white masters. He talks about the mixing of races in Europe and Northern Africa, and talks about the differences in color among members of his own family. Johnson talks about his opinion on names inherited from slave masters, versus African names. Johnson tells a story of two University of Kentucky professors and how they treated him while he was a student at the school based on how they were each raised. Johnson talks about his father's work as a school teacher and principal in Columbia, Tennessee. He talks about how it was policy to pay black teachers half the salary white teachers received. He talks about how they farmed to supplement their income. He talks about his relatives, along with many other African Americans, leaving the South and migrating north for work. He talks about how this out-migration affected the fight for civil rights in the South. Johnson talks about his uncle, John Will Johnson, who was the president of Roger Williams College in Nashville, Tennessee. He talks about the history of various religious groups from the North coming to the South to establish colleges for black students. He tells the story of his namesake, Lyman Beecher Tefft, a white northern professor who, despite harassment, came to the South to teach black students, including Johnson's father.

Interview Accession

2019oh1544_whlj0001

Interviewee Name

Lyman T. Johnson

Interviewer Name

Wade Hall

Interview Date

1979-02-27

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 only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Johnson, Lyman T. Interview by Wade Hall. 27 Feb. 1979. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Johnson, L.T. (1979, February 27). Interview by W. Hall. Wade Hall Papers (2009ms131): Interviews with Lyman T. Johnson. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Johnson, Lyman T., interview by Wade Hall. February 27, 1979, Wade Hall Papers (2009ms131): Interviews with Lyman T. Johnson, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7kkk119xsvn