Interview with James W. Hammons, March 18, 1987

Project: Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

The first African American physician allowed to practice at Central Baptist Hospital and the first African American member of the Kentucky Medical Association, Dr. Hammons is also the first osteopath admitted to the American Medical Association. A descendant both of slaves and free men of color who owned slaves, Dr. Hammons recalls ancestral histories and family stories centered on this era. He reminisces about his parents' education, occupation and personal attitudes; recalls life in a middle class African American family during the Depression;and, moving to Murfreesboro, Tennessee after his father's death.
Dr. Hammons discusses the evolution of the African American church during his lifetime; the transformation of the African american community and the effects of World War II upon that society; and, discusses his views as to the causes for these changes.
He talks about the influence of his aunt and uncle upon his life; and, recalls his educational experiences at Kentucky State and the University of Kentucky (1953-1954) where he was the first African American admitted to the medical department. Dr. Hammons remembers working in Hopkinsville before attending UK and comments upon the progressiveness of the area and the presence of African American professionals. He examines the education and treatment he received at Chicago University's medical school and the difficulties encountered. Returning to Lexington in 1959, Dr. Hammons discusses working with Dr. Bush Hunter and the establishment of his integrated medical practice and the working relationships he has with white colleagues.
The past vice-president of the Lexington Committee on Open Housing and member of the Human Rights Commission, Dr. Hammons reviews the civil rights movement in Fayette County and recounts experiences with housing discrimination before passage of state wide housing regulations.

Interview Accession

1987oh082_kh413

Interviewee Name

James W. Hammons

Interviewer Name

Emily Parker

Interview Date

1987-03-18

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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Hammons, James W. Interview by Emily Parker. 18 Mar. 1987. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Hammons, J.W. (1987, March 18). Interview by E. Parker. Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Hammons, James W., interview by Emily Parker. March 18, 1987, 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/xt7vq814qw8p