Interview with William Davis, August 11, 1986

Gainfully employed as a janitor at the University of Kentucky for twenty years (1961-1981), Mr. Davis recalls his childhood in Bourbon County, memories of his mother, attending a one room schoolhouse, and his graduation in 1936 from Weston High School. He recounts the segregation on the interurban from Frankfort to Paris, his participation in the National Youth Administration, and the racism he encountered as a child. Mr. Davis discusses the role of the African American church in Centreville, opportunities to attend college during the Depression, and his World War II army experiences. He reminisces about attending barbering school in Louisville, meeting his future wife, and his job at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Davis recounts the reaction of African American students towards the janitorial staff, racism permeating the University, an incident involving Bernie Shively, and former U.K. Presidents Otis Singletary and John W. Oswald, as well as Adolph Rupp. He remarks upon the reaction of the African American community to the civil rights movement, the role of African American clergy in Lexington, and the lack of cohesion in Lexington's African American community.

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