Interview with James Embry, October 22, 2021
Project: 1964 Civil Rights March on Frankfort (Kentucky) Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJames Embry, a lifelong civil rights activist, attended the 1964 March on Frankfort when he was a teenager. Embry begins the interview by providing an overview of his family history. Embry describes the importance of land to his family. Embry articulates the role of his ancestors in establishing the Black community of Concord in rural Madison County, Kentucky. Embry illustrates the rich tradition of activism in his family, especially the courageous acts of his great-grandfather who refused to give up his seat to white people on a bus during the 1930s. Embry elaborates upon his family ancestry and lineage. Embry lived in Richmond until he was eight, when the family moved to Covington. Embry recalls his early experiences with segregation as a child. Embry discusses some of the consequences for the Black community after integration. Embry attended segregated schools and enjoyed the community and solidarity that the school provided for Black youth. Embry considers how he formed his racial identity and explains his definition of psychosocial DNA. Embry discusses his experiences with discrimination, including the death of his sister due to the policy of the hospital to treat white patients before attending to Black patients. Embry describes his family's tradition of social activism, including his mother's work with CORE (Congress on Racial Equality). Embry reflects upon what it was like to grow up in a politically active family. Embry then discusses his experiences with the March on Frankfort. Embry marched with his family and participated in the NAACP youth chapters. Embry evaluates the impact of the march on the civil rights movement. Embry also considers the significance of the Kentucky State Capitol in relation to racism. Embry provides his opinion on the role of women in the civil rights movement. Embry then discusses Kentucky State Senator Georgia Davis Powers and her involvement in civil rights. Embry assesses the consequences of the March on Frankfort for the civil rights movement. Embry then describes his efforts at activism as a student at the University of Kentucky in the late 1960s, including helping to form the Black Student Union (BSU) at UK. As a member of the BSU, Embry had the opportunity to meet University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, who used derogatory and racist language when talking to Embry about integrating the basketball team. Embry articulates the important role of Black people in the Civil War. Embry concludes the interview with a discussion about his passion for photography.
Interview KeywordMarch on Frankfort Fermon Knox Activists Family Concord (Madison County, Ky.) Integration Black communities Psychosocial DNA Julian Bond National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Georgia Davis Powers Martin Luther King Jr. Adolph Rupp Tom Payne
Interview LC SubjectAncestry Genealogy Black people African Americans Civil rights Civil rights movement Civil rights demonstrations Richmond (Ky.) Madison County (Ky.) African Americans--Education (Higher) Segregation Farmers Family farms Mothers Fathers Great-grandfathers Education Covington (Ky.) Kenton County (Ky.) Kentucky Kentuckians Identity Race Discrimination Prejudice Berea College Frankfort (Ky.) Franklin County (Ky.) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Congress of Racial Equality Kentucky. General Assembly Kentucky State Capitol (Frankfort, Ky.) Marches Picketing Women University of Kentucky Basketball United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865. Photography Hobbies
Interview RightsAll 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 UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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.
Add this interview to your cart in order to begin the process of requesting access to a copy of and/or permission to reproduce interview(s).
Embry, James Interview by Le Datta Denise Grimes. 22 Oct. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Embry, J. (2021, October 22). Interview by L. D. D Grimes. 1964 Civil Rights March on Frankfort (Kentucky) Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Embry, James, interview by Le Datta Denise Grimes. October 22, 2021, 1964 Civil Rights March on Frankfort (Kentucky) Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.
If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.
Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt71lplsxbf38