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0:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview...

Segment Synopsis:



1:13 - Teacher and Coach at Richmond High

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Partial Transcript: I came to Richmond in 1940

Segment Synopsis: Freeman's history in Richmond

Keywords: Madison Junior High; Richmond High School


3:01 - Education

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Partial Transcript: Where did you get your training to teach

Segment Synopsis: Freemman's Educational Background

Keywords: EKU; Kentucky State; Morehead


3:42 - Atmosphere in Richmond, Church, Organizations.

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Partial Transcript: What was the community like?

Segment Synopsis: Briefly covers the atmosphere in Richmond, then covers church and organizations.

Keywords: NAACP; YMCA


8:13 - Black Community in Richmond

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Partial Transcript: Those black people who had bssinesses

Segment Synopsis: Black community in RIchmond



10:11 - Retirement

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Partial Transcript: When did you come out of teaching?

Segment Synopsis: Freeman works with YMCA after retirement

Keywords: Parks and Recreation; YMCA


11:27 - Fraternity and organization

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Partial Transcript: Did you join a fraternity?

Segment Synopsis: Info on fraternity and social activities

Keywords: Omega


13:48 - Freeman's family

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Freeman are you married?

Segment Synopsis: Information on Freeman's family

Keywords: Richmond; Sherwin Williams


19:11 - Richmond Alumni Reunion

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Partial Transcript: Do you ever go to the Richmond Alumni Reunion

Segment Synopsis: Information on the Richmond Alumni Reunion, Mr. Freeman provides a recent program for the reunion

Keywords: Richmond High School


24:07 - Black Businesses and black community

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Partial Transcript: Whatever you want to tell me about the community

Segment Synopsis: More information on Black community and association with white community

Keywords: Black community; EKU; Richmond


31:17 - School history and Black teachers

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Partial Transcript: Black teachers were utilized

Segment Synopsis: History on the transformation of schools and black teachers

Keywords: Madison Central; Richmond High School


35:21 - Closing

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Partial Transcript: That's about all I have at the moment

Segment Synopsis: Ending of interview




Transcript of a Recorded Interview with John Freeman Interviewer: A.G. Dunston Date: 27 Mar 1992 Place: Richmond, KY Project: African-American Community -- Madison County

This transcript represents the nearly verbatim record of an unrehearsed conversation. The reader, therefore, should bear in mind that he is reading a text of the spoken rather than the written word.

The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Mr. John W. Freeman, retired teacher. The interview was conducted by A.G. Dunston, History Department, Eastern Kentucky University. The interview itself was conducted at the home of Mr. Freeman, 116 Tates Creek Avenue, Richmond, Kentucky, on Friday, the 27th of March, 1992.

DUNSTON: Testing one, two, three, four. Okay, now we may begin.

DUNSTON: Okay, now we may begin. I am here on the 27th of March, 1992 with Mr. John Freeman.


DUNSTON: Mr. Freeman, what is your whole name? Your entire name?

FREEMAN: My name is John Willis Freeman.

DUNSTON: Okay. John Willis Freeman.


DUNSTON: Okay. As you were beginning to explain to me. . . I need. . . . Tell me 1:00about how you came to Madison County, when you came, what you've felt, what you've done since then, community activities, anything else you want to tell me about, black community electives in Richmond, Kentucky.

FREEMAN: I came to Richmond in 1940 as a teacher at Richmond High School.

DUNSTON: Was that when it was the black high . . . Was it one through twelve when you came?

FREEMAN: Yes, uh-huh, yes.

DUNSTON: Oh, okay.

FREEMAN: Richmond High School, and I've been in Richmond ever since. I stayed out there until the school was integrated, and then I moved to Madison High School, which took in all the high school students. The school integrated in 1956.

DUNSTON: Oh. What did . . . what did you . . . what did you teach?

FREEMAN: I taught . . . When I came here, I taught agriculture. That's when I came here and after the agriculture department faded out, I taught science. I 2:00taught science and I coached basketball and football. . .

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Okay. Were you coaching . . . Was that in the days when Richmond High did have an excellent basketball team and all that?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Yeah.

DUNSTON: Were you involved in . . . in those days?

FREEMAN: Yeah. I coached up there in Richmond High School, when they had the high school, you know?


FREEMAN: And then they had the junior high, and I coached in junior high.


FREEMAN: And then went to Madison High and I coached up there, football and basketball at Madison High.

DUNSTON: Okay. What kind of science? Just general science?

FREEMAN: General science, yeah.

DUNSTON: So, when you came, you were already an adult?


DUNSTON: Um, Can I ask your birth date? (Laughter). Okay, How about the day and the month? We won't bother about the year.

FREEMAN: December the 9th.


DUNSTON: December the 9th?


DUNSTON: Okay. Where did you get your training to teach?

FREEMAN: I went to Kentucky State.

DUNSTON: Did you?

FREEMAN: I went to Kentucky State College and I went to University of Illinois. I went to Morehead and I went to Eastern.

DUNSTON: Did you?


DUNSTON: What degrees did you get? Full degrees from these various places?

FREEMAN: No. I got my degree up at Eastern, my Master's.

DUNSTON: In? In what?

FREEMAN: In science.

DUNSTON: In science? Okay.

FREEMAN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: From Eastern?


DUNSTON: Okay. When you moved to Richmond and you started teaching at Richmond. In high school. Okay. What was the community like? What was going on in the community in 1940?

FREEMAN: Well, in 1940 . . . (laughter).

DUNSTON: That's when you said you came.

FREEMAN: Yes, when I came, but, . . . it was real nice community and I enjoyed 4:00every minute I've been here really. So, when I first came, I associated among all the people here and . . . The churches, and what not, and . . .

DUNSTON: Okay. What's your church?

FREEMAN: I still belong to a church in Bourbon County. Little Rock Christian Church. I never did move my membership.

DUNSTON: You never did?

FREEMAN: No. I still go there every second and fourth Sunday. I'm 50 miles from Paris, see. So, I go there every second and fourth Sunday to church over there.

DUNSTON: Oh. Okay. When . . . did you join any social organizations, black social clubs or anything when you . . . after you moved to Richmond?

FREEMAN: Yeah, I belonged to the N.A.A.C.P. and . . . uh, I work with the Y.M.C.A. right now. The Y.M.C.A. here, now.


DUNSTON: Is that, uh, the Telford?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Telford Y.M.C.A. Yeah.

DUNSTON: Telford Y.M.C.A.?


DUNSTON: How long have you worked with them?

FREEMAN: I worked with them about eight or ten, about ten years, I guess.

DUNSTON: Okay. Okay, but it hasn't been a Y that long, has it?

FREEMAN: No, it hadn't been a Y.

DUNSTON: You . . . you worked with them when it was just, what . . . Telford?

FREEMAN: Telford Community Center, yeah.

DUNSTON: Okay. Would you . . . okay . . . I need . . . would you explain to me how one becomes the other? There was a place called Telford Community Center.


DUNSTON: But it was not where it is now? It was not on Main Street?

FREEMAN: Yeah. It is out there on Main Street.

DUNSTON: It is now?


DUNSTON: Okay, do you remember when it became . . . when the Telford Community Center became, uh, . . . when it was located on Main Street?

FREEMAN: Well, after the high school left up there . . . It became a community 6:00center. Then, just a couple of years ago, it became a Y.M.C.A, see? A couple of years ago. And, it's a Y.M.C.A. now. So, it's real nice up there. They have a lot of programs going. . .

DUNSTON: What . . . what do . . . what do you do when you work at the Y?

FREEMAN: I'm on the board. The Telford board, yeah, uh-huh. I helped in some of the planning of the programs and what not.

DUNSTON: Okay. Is it geared to both black and white communities?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah.

DUNSTON: Was the community center geared to both black and white citizens in the area?

FREEMAN: Uh-huh, yeah, yeah.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. What else can you tell me about Richmond?

FREEMAN: Well, (laughter) I'm sure something. It depends on what you want to know about Richmond? (Laughter)

FREEMAN: I might be able to answer more questions than just . . .

DUNSTON: Okay, um, the N.A.A.C.P. When did you join the N.A.A.C.P.?

FREEMAN: I joined them about eight . . eight years ago.


DUNSTON: Okay. Why only eight years ago?

FREEMAN: Hmm? Only eight years ago?


FREEMAN: Well, that's when it really started going in Richmond.

DUNSTON: Oh. Okay. I did . . . I didn't realize that the Richmond Chapter . . . the Madison County Chapter was that young.

FREEMAN: Yeah. Mmm-hmm.

DUNSTON: Okay. When it was . . . um. . . were you in on the planning stages of bringing it to . . . bringing the N.A.A.C.P. Chapter to uh . . . ?

FREEMAN: No. I wasn't on the planning stages. No, I just became a member after it got established here, see?

DUNSTON: Okay. Have you . . . do you hold office or have you ever held an office with the N.A.A.C.P.?

FREEMAN: I'm vice-chairman, vice-president.

DUNSTON: Okay. Of this chapter?


DUNSTON: Okay. Um, I saw a program that dealt with appreciation for some of the 8:00old business people in Richmond. Do you remember that program?

FREEMAN: Of old business people in Richmond?

DUNSTON: Yeah, you know, those . . . those, uh, black people who had had businesses. It was a . . . uh, uh, some kind of appreciation dinner for them. Many of them were deceased by the time that the appreciation program was held. Do you remember that?

FREEMAN: I don't recall just what it was all about. I know there has been a lot of black business people, you know, in Richmond that have passed on since I've been here.

DUNSTON: Yeah, okay. When you came here, you found a thriving black business community?

FREEMAN: Well, yeah, there were several businesses when I first came here. The 9:00tailor shop, J.T. Ballew Tailor Shop, and J.W. Cobb had a tailor shop, and of course, Squire Collins, he had the funeral home. And then there was some more business places, too, around here at that particular time.

DUNSTON: Okay. Okay. Was the community . . . um . . . were the people in the community active in terms of helping each other out?

FREEMAN: Oh yes. Mmm-hmm.

DUNSTON: You know that those who, say were poor or would the others, help. . . the poorer parts of the community?

FREEMAN: Yes. There seemed to be quite a nice relationship between them all, you see.


FREEMAN: One tried to help the other, yes. And . . .

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Let's see . . . since you won't tell me your age or anything like that . . . would you tell me . . . Okay, I got one for you. Will 10:00you tell me when you graduated from Kentucky State?

FREEMAN: I graduated in 1939.

DUNSTON: Alright. (Laughter) Okay. You worked with the Y.M.C.A. now. When did you come out of teaching?

FREEMAN: When did I come out of teaching?

DUNSTON: Uh-huh. Or do you still teach?

FREEMAN: No, I'm retired.

DUNSTON: You retired from teaching. When did you retire?

FREEMAN: I retired in 19 . . . I've been retired about ten years

DUNSTON: Okay. Most of your time now, you deal with wide responsibilities?

FREEMAN: Yeah. I'm on the city recreation board or city recreation.

DUNSTON: Richmond city recreation board?

FREEMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DUNSTON: Okay, what is your function there? What do you do with them?

FREEMAN: I'm a member, a board member.

DUNSTON: Okay, do you make decisions about . . . What does the board do? What does a rec center board do?

FREEMAN: Well, they handle all of the recreation program around in Richmond.

DUNSTON: All of the parks? Is that the same thing?


FREEMAN: Yeah. It is.

DUNSTON: Okay. So, you have to have . . . they have to have a stamp of approval from the board before they can institute any activities at these various . . . um . . .

FREEMAN: Yeah, we meet once a month.


FREEMAN: In fact we had a meeting last night and we had to approve the things that the director, from what he has, you know. It had to be approved And, that's what we do.

DUNSTON: Okay. When you were in college, were you . . . did you join a Greek fraternity?


DUNSTON: Which one?

FREEMAN: Omega Xi Phi.

DUNSTON: My, my. (Laughter) Okay. Do you remember why? Why . . why did you happen to join that one as opposed to Alpha or Kappa?

FREEMAN: Well, uh, see I was from Paris, Kentucky, and the fellas from Paris, Bill Reed, and all of them were Omegas, see? So, naturally, I wanted to go in Omega, too, because they were Omegas.

DUNSTON: Okay. Okay. Did you play sports when you were at Kentucky State?

FREEMAN: No, I didn't engage in sports.


DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. What other social activities have you become involved in since you've been living in Richmond? N.A.A.C.P. and . . . uh . . . the things you've done since you retired with regard to board memberships. Let's say, between 40 and when you retired and you were teaching. Did you belong to any social clubs? Or were there any social clubs in the black community to join?

FREEMAN: Well, there weren't too many really. We had . . . we had a group that formed a club and it was about 12-14 people in that.

DUNSTON: Okay. What . . . what did you . . . was it more for fun or was it . . . Did you help the community or what?

FREEMAN: It was more of a social club. We would meet and have parties . . . But 13:00that was it.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. And that . . . has that been disbanded now?

FREEMAN: Yeah, because most of the old folks have passed on.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Mmm-hmm. Let's see, what else can I ask you about Richmond? Black community? I did tell you that . . . that your name was given to me by . . . uh . . . Mrs. Anna Way last year.

FREEMAN: Oh, yeah.

DUNSTON: And then, I talked with Margaret Spears yesterday and she called your name with regard to Telford. Told me . . . you know, to talk to you about the Telford Community Center. Um, at this point, I can't think of anything else I can ask you, but if you give me a second I will.

(Tape recorder turned off.) (Tape recorder turned on.)

DUNSTON: Mr. Freeman, are you married?

FREEMAN: Yes, uh-huh.

DUNSTON: Okay. How long have you been married?

FREEMAN: I've been married about . . . well, about 20 or 30 years.


DUNSTON: Twenty or thirty?


DUNSTON: Twenty or thirty?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Cut that off for a minute.

(Tape recorder turned off.) (Tape recorder turned on.)

DUNSTON: Uh, Mr. Freeman, you had two children.


DUNSTON: Your son is . . . What's his name?

FREEMAN: Edward.

DUNSTON: Edward Freeman?

FREEMAN: Yeah. He lives in California.

DUNSTON: Okay. What does he do?

FREEMAN: He works with, uh, law. He's in the . . . He's in the social work out there.

DUNSTON: Oh. Okay. And, you have . . . Is he is the older?

FREEMAN: Yeah. No, no, no. My daughter is older.

DUNSTON: Daughter's older. He's . . . this is the baby?


DUNSTON: Okay. The daughter is . . . What's her name?


DUNSTON: Diana Freeman?

FREEMAN: Uh-huh, she's married. Diana . . . Diana Rose is her last name.

DUNSTON: Okay. Diana Rose. And she lives in Richmond?



DUNSTON: Okay. What does she do?

FREEMAN: She works with a paint company here. Sherwin-Williams.

DUNSTON: Yeah. Hmm-Mmm. I've seen it on the bypass.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Were they born here? They were both born in Richmond.


DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. When you moved to . . . When you left Paris, that's Bourbon County, to come into Madison County to teach at Richmond, why? Why did you make the move to Madison County to teach as opposed to staying in Bourbon County and teach?

FREEMAN: Well, I was in school at the University of Illinois, and a teacher in Frankfort at Kentucky State who taught agriculture and all. He said this opening was here in Richmond, so if I wanted to come and teach, well, I could come and teach. So, I left the University of Illinois before I finished my work up there. 16:00I started teaching here in Richmond in 1940.

DUNSTON: Oh, okay. Okay. Are your people from Bourbon County originally? Your parents?


DUNSTON: Can we have a little information about . . . What was your father's name?

FREEMAN: My father's name was Ben.

DUNSTON: Benjamin?

FREEMAN: Ben Franklin.

DUNSTON: Was it short for Benjamin? Was he Benjamin or just Ben?

FREEMAN: Benjamin.

DUNSTON: Benjamin Freeman?


DUNSTON: And your mother's name?

FREEMAN: Ida Julia Freeman.

DUNSTON: Okay. Do you know her maiden name?

FREEMAN: Cunningham.

DUNSTON: Ida Julia Cunningham . . . Freeman.


DUNSTON: Okay. So, they married and you were raised in Bourbon County?


DUNSTON: Do you know anything about their parents?

FREEMAN: No. Because . . . They were both deceased, you know. Before I was born, I guess.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Do you have any sisters and brothers?


FREEMAN: Uh, yeah. I have one sister who lives in Lexington . . . And I have one brother who lives in Arkansas.

DUNSTON: Okay. What's . . . what's your sister's name?

FREEMAN: Maggie.

DUNSTON: Maggie?

FREEMAN: Maggie Julia Freeman.

DUNSTON: Okay. And your brother's name?

FREEMAN: Clarence Freeman. He lives in Osceola, Arkansas.

DUNSTON: Okay. The one that lives in Lexington . . . um . . . Did all three of you go to school, go to college?

FREEMAN: Mmm-hmm. Yes.

DUNSTON: Okay. What did . . . what did . . . what was his job all of these years?

FREEMAN: He was . . . He majored in agriculture, just like I did.

DUNSTON: Did he?


DUNSTON: Okay. And how about your sister?

FREEMAN: Well, she went to Paducah. She took up sewing and that sort of thing.

DUNSTON: Home ec? What did . . . what did she do? Did she teach, when she finished?

FREEMAN: No, she didn't teach sewing.


DUNSTON: Okay. Did the brother teach?

FREEMAN: Now, my brother . . . He was a county agent there in the Osceola, Arkansas. And he went to Little Rock and taught in the college down there. Then, he retired from that and now he has his own business there in Osceola, Arkansas.

DUNSTON: What is . . . what does he do?

FREEMAN: He does soil conservation.

DUNSTON: Oh, okay. Alright. That's interesting. Okay. Do you have much . . . Do you have many kin people who live in the Madison County area?

FREEMAN: I don't have any kin people at all. Other than my . . .

DUNSTON: Other than the sister and brother, right?

FREEMAN: You said that lives here in Madison County?

DUNSTON: Yeah, in Madison County?


DUNSTON: No . . . no kin at all?

FREEMAN: Nuh-huh.

DUNSTON: Bourbon County, is the old homestead still in Bourbon County?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: Okay. That, uh, uh, do you have reunions, family reunions or anything?


FREEMAN: Yeah. We have family reunions.

DUNSTON: Okay. How often?

FREEMAN: Once a year every year.

DUNSTON: Do you?


DUNSTON: Is it well attended?


DUNSTON: Okay. Do you ever go to the Richmond Alumni Reunion? I think they're scheduled for this summer.

FREEMAN: Yeah. Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: Richmond School Alumni Reunion.

FREEMAN: Yeah, we have a reunion this summer.

DUNSTON: Mmm-Hmm. Mmm-Hmm. Do you . . . do you go, generally, to the reunion?


DUNSTON: Okay, so you intend to go this time, too. I think I'd like . . . I think I've been asking people, you know, to make sure that when you send out the invitations or the announcements that I get invited, because I think I would like to go see that.

FREEMAN: Yeah? Let's see here.

(Tape recorder turned off.) (Tape recorder turned on.)

DUNSTON: Uh, . . . a program for this reunion?

FREEMAN: Yeah. Let me step up there and get you one.



(Tape recorder turned off.) (Tape recorder turned on.)

DUNSTON: Mr. Freeman has stepped out to get me a mimeographed paper about the reunion planned for the summer of 1992 Richmond School Alumni Reunion.

(Tape recorder turned off.) (Tape recorder turned on.)

FREEMAN: I've got a program for this year.

DUNSTON: Oh. Okay. July 17th, 18th, and 19th. Okay. So it's already . . . it's 21:00basically already scheduled?

FREEMAN: Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: Oh, so, they . . . everybody's got to send . . . send information to you, and you send them an application blank?

FREEMAN: No, each particular class sends off those kind of letters to their classmates, you know? So, I mimeographed the programs for them and . . . they're meeting tomorrow and so, we've given out . . . (phone rings).

DUNSTON: Okay. This looks like it's going to be exciting.

FREEMAN: Yeah, it . . . we meet every three years, every third year. You can keep that.



DUNSTON: Alright. I appreciate it. Okay. When did this start? I mean, why . . . When did the idea originate to have this school reunion?


FREEMAN: You see, the school, Richmond High School. . . 1956 was the last year for Richmond High School, you know, and so, in as much as the high school wasn't there no more and all these people that graduated from Richmond High, they wanted to come together in a reunion every third, every three years, see? And, so we meet every three years.

DUNSTON: Has it been going on since the, uh, '50, since '59 or when did it start? Do you remember the first one?

FREEMAN: Uh, this would be the third year. The third time . . .

DUNSTON: The third time you've had the reunion?

FREEMAN: Yeah, mmm-hmm.

DUNSTON: Okay. And every three years?

FREEMAN: Every three years, yeah.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. That's interesting. Will I have to do anything? Make a special request to attend or . . . ?

FREEMAN: Let's see, it starts . . .


DUNSTON: That's registration. (Papers rustling.)

FREEMAN: That's the general program.

DUNSTON: Okay. Okay. So, July 7th at 7 p.m. is registration. Okay. Oh, okay. And the banquet is on July the 18th. Okay, and then you finish with religious services on July 19th.

FREEMAN: Now, this would be out there at the Telford Y.M.C.A. That's where we're going to meet, out there, you see.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Oh, alright. This should be very interesting. Okay. Well, I'll hold on to this. What other information do you have about this 24:00community that you wish to share with you?

FREEMAN: Well, it depends on what you want to know really.

DUNSTON: Oh, come on, Mr. Freeman. What ever you want to tell me about the community.

FREEMAN: Well, I'll tell you, I really don't know exactly what you want to know.

DUNSTON: I want everything.

FREEMAN: Everything?

DUNSTON: Yeah, anything. Yeah. What we're trying to do is just get a picture of the black community. You know, what was it like to live in Richmond in the black community? Was the black community successful enough that you didn't feel the weight of desegregation system, for instance?

FREEMAN: Well, not . . . not too much. No.

DUNSTON: Did you have . . . did you have black policemen?

FREEMAN: Yeah, we have had black policemen. Yes.

DUNSTON: As early as '40 or did that come later?

FREEMAN: That came later.

DUNSTON: Uh, even . . . Did . . . Did anybody have any trouble . . . Did whites invade the black community or was there somebody who could protect black 25:00citizens from whites?

FREEMAN: Well, there never was no real problem between black and white.

DUNSTON: Okay, that's what . . . that's what I want to know, you know. So, there's no real racial conflict?

FREEMAN: No. Nuh-huh.

DUNSTON: Just the segregated education system, okay? And what church system and so forth, but no real overt conflicts? No fights and violence or anything like that?


DUNSTON: How about in the 1960s?

FREEMAN: No. There hasn't been any racial violence among the black and white as I can recall. They all seem to get along pretty real nice. Relationship seemed to be real good.

DUNSTON: Okay. How about the relationship between blacks in Richmond and blacks who come to work at Eastern? Have there been any conflicts between those two 26:00groups of blacks?

FREEMAN: No, not that I know of.

DUNSTON: Okay. Alright. Okay. That's about it. (Laughter) Yeah. I'm just trying to get a picture of the black community . . .

FREEMAN: Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: And they said you could help me. You know, just sort of tell me what it was like?

FREEMAN: Well, there have been several problems with black people here in business. You know like Squire Collins, he was an undertaker. He was quite popular among black and white. And J.T. Ballew ran the tailor shop. He just retired last year. There were some of those that were deceased. A.C. Goodloe. He was the pastor at the First Baptist for a long time.

DUNSTON: I've heard that name, yes. Okay. Mmm-Hmm. Mmm-Hmm. And he is deceased?

FREEMAN: He is deceased.


DUNSTON: Alright. Okay.

FREEMAN: J.W. Cobb. He's deceased. He ran a tailor shop, too.

DUNSTON: Okay, okay. Have you always lived right in this part of town?

FREEMAN: No. I've been here 20 years.

DUNSTON: On Tates Creek Avenue?


DUNSTON: Okay. Did you move here from what part . . . from where?

FREEMAN: From East Main Street.

DUNSTON: East Main?

FREEMAN: Yeah. It's out there by Telford, Telford Y Center.

DUNSTON: Oh, yeah. Okay. So, you moved here from there? When you . . . when you moved to Richmond, was that the area you moved to?


DUNSTON: The East Main Street area?


DUNSTON: Okay. Was that the black neighborhood? Predominantly black neighborhood?

FREEMAN: Well, it was more or less black, but now it's integrated.

DUNSTON: Now, it is?


DUNSTON: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Okay, but it was then?


DUNSTON: Okay. So, then, 20 years ago, you moved over here?

FREEMAN: Uh-huh.


DUNSTON: Alright. Mr. Freeman, I can't think of anything else I want to bug you about today.

FREEMAN: Well, I'll answer anything I can . . . you know. Just right off hand, I can't, you know, remember what's . . . what is . . .

DUNSTON: Mmm-hmm. I said everything.

FREEMAN: What is every little thing.

DUNSTON: (Laughter) Everything and anything. Anything to add information to a picture of a black community in a town this size, see? And, you know, you've given me information on the black community from 1940 until today.

FREEMAN: Well, we don't have many black men or any black businesses right now. There used to be.

DUNSTON: As there used to be.

FREEMAN: As there used to be. Yeah. When I first came to Richmond, as I said, we had several black businesses going then.

DUNSTON: Even grocery stores and stuff like that or . . . Did you have black grocery stores?

FREEMAN: Uh, as I recall, there had been one black grocery store during that 29:00time. Of course, there isn't any now.

DUNSTON: Mmm-Hmm. Okay. Let's see. Well, funeral parlor, yeah. Whites, is that black?


DUNSTON: The White Funeral Parlor?

FREEMAN: No, it's black.

DUNSTON: Up on, East Main Street. Okay. Was that the Collins? Is that the . . . or was there another?

FREEMAN: Collins was right next to that. It has been torn down since he passed, and they put all those other business places over there.


FREEMAN: That's where Collins Funeral Home was up there.

DUNSTON: Oh, okay. I know where Mr. Ballew's Tailor Shop was. On that side. Was it always there? Is that Third Street?


DUNSTON: Was it always on . . . on that, in that block of Third?

FREEMAN: Ever since I've been here.


DUNSTON: Oh. Okay. Alright. So, then, was the black business community concentrated in those areas? Main, Third?

FREEMAN: No, they were concentrated more or less on the East End of town. Out there where most of the black people live now.


FREEMAN: Of course, John Cobb . . . His tailor shop was down along First Street. And then, there was a Harvey Gentry Tailor Shop out there on East Main.

DUNSTON: Okay. And a usual assortment of beauty parlors and barbers . . .


DUNSTON: Okay. Okay. How about contractors? You know . . . or builders?



FREEMAN: . . . last school was moved. That's when the teachers went to the city system at Madison High School. So, I went to Madison High and I went to the elementary school, you see. All the black teachers were utilized to stay within the system, you know.

DUNSTON: So, if you . . . so, the old Richmond School. . . Okay, the Old Richmond School at one point was every . . . everybody from 1 to 12?


DUNSTON: Okay. When it changed and it became 1 to 8 . . . Okay, and then black students had to go to the Madison High School?


DUNSTON: Okay. Do you remember, at some point, when did Madison High become Madison Central?

FREEMAN: Well, see, Madison High never did become Madison Central. Madison Central is the county school. Madison High was the city school. So, when . . . 32:00when the Madison High went out of existence just a couple of years ago.

DUNSTON: It's been that recent?


DUNSTON: Okay. So, then, now everybody goes to . . .

FREEMAN: Madison Central. Right.

DUNSTON: Okay. When, um, when Richmond became the elementary, and the high school students then had to go to Madison High School . . .

FREEMAN: Yeah, right.

DUNSTON: Those black teachers who had been teaching high school at Richmond were shipped to Madison to teach the high school subjects.

FREEMAN: Yeah. When Richmond Elementary and Junior High, when . . .when they dropped the school, I'll tell you, that's when we went to Madison High School.

DUNSTON: Okay. So, that's went you went to Madison and you taught science at the junior high level.

FREEMAN: Yeah. And coached basketball and football at the junior high level.


DUNSTON: At the junior high level. Okay. At Madison?


DUNSTON: Okay. Did those teachers who had been teaching, say, the lower grades at the Old Richmond School, they went to various white elementary schools?

FREEMAN: Well, all the schools were integrated then. They went to the elementary schools, see.

DUNSTON: Those that remained?


DUNSTON: Okay. Okay. Did anybody, um. . . I don't know if I asked you this before . . . I lost the tape . . . Did anybody in this transfer from segregation to integration? Did many black people use their jobs teaching?

FREEMAN: Didn't any of them lose their jobs.


FREEMAN: None. All of them were placed within the other schools.

DUNSTON: Within . . . in . . . within this county system?

FREEMAN: Within the city system.

DUNSTON: Within the city system? Oh, alright.

FREEMAN: But nobody didn't lose their job.

DUNSTON: Oh, that's good. Okay. Um, let's see, Mr. Freeman and I are doing this 34:00because I lost some of the tape. I'm saying this to the machine.


DUNSTON: So, it can record . . . So, as to why we are going back over some things, because I lost some of the tape, and I apologize for that. Another thing we talked about was black teachers. There aren't as many young black people who want to become teachers. Right?

FREEMAN: Or anything much. (Laughter).

DUNSTON: And I think I've made the comment that that was bad because, you know, black children, they lose something if they don't see a black teacher, at least occasionally. How do you perceive . . . Do you think that is uh, . . . Am I being overly pessimistic? Do you think that is, uh, that they do lose something? Do you agree with me or do you see it another way?

FREEMAN: Do I think they lose something?

DUNSTON: Yeah, the kids.

FREEMAN: Yeah, I do to.


DUNSTON: Do you think it is necessary to have that image?

FREEMAN: Yeah, they should, I feel.


FREEMAN: And I regret . . . I regret very much that some of the students that would make good teachers, didn't want to go into teaching.

DUNSTON: Right. Mmm-Hmm. Mmm-Hmm. Wanted to do something else. Maybe make more money or something.

FREEMAN: Probably so.

DUNSTON: Okay. That's about all I have at the moment. And, oh, I know, let's redo this to make sure that it is on tape. That I exacted a promise or a . . . from Mr. Freeman, that when I hear the tape over and start my investigation and everything that he will allow me to contact him again and come back and we'll have another session at some point in the future.

FREEMAN: Oh, yes. Uh-huh.

DUNSTON: Is that . . . that's still alright?


DUNSTON: Alright then. Thank you very much.

FREEMAN: Anything I can do to help you out, I'm willing to do it.

DUNSTON: Alright. Alright. I appreciate that.