Interview with Loretta J. Clark, December 8, 1997

Loretta J. Clark describes her experiences as a student at the University of Kentucky, where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She graduated from Douglas High School in Lexington, Kentucky in 1956, just as the first African American students were beginning to attend UK. She states that her sister had attended college out of state and her parents had found it to be quite expensive, so her they encouraged her to attend UK. Clark recalls living at home while taking classes at the university. She states there was not an inclusive climate on campus and that many people were not genuinely friendly and open towards the black students. She compares her experience at UK to that at Douglas High School. Clark talks about segregation and remembers stores that she was not allowed to go into and having to sit in the back of the bus. She describes Martin Luther King marches on UK's campus and her first experience with one of these marches. Clark explains how her Christian upbringing and the support she received from teachers and family helped her to deal with racism. Clark describes the social atmosphere at UK, and explains that she dated another black student whom she later married. Clark discusses her trouble with freshman composition, even though she was an English major, and remembers that many people did not come back to UK after the first year. Clark states that there were not many activities at UK for African American students. She recalls going to a basketball game on campus and attending the ROTC Ball. Clark talks about her thirty year teaching career. She states that she regrets spending most of her career teaching in a school that was predominately white. She describes one of her first job interviews from which she was turned away. She believes her skin color was the deciding factor. She states that she would advise current students interested in attending UK to come prepared and to become involved in their communities and churches. Clark currently works as the Director of Minority Recruitment in UK's College of Education.

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