Interview with Donald Smith Henry, March 30, 2017
Project: Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project
Interview SummaryDonald Smith Henry talks about his parents, who both came from Virginia before moving to Kentucky. He talks about his brothers and sisters, his mother's death, and his father's second marriage. He talks about the nannies his father hired after his mother's death and talks about how he was treated by his step-mother in comparison to her own children. Henry talks about witnessing mine unionization activities like picket lines in his own front yard. He tells a story about a man who wanted to get through the picket line to work. Henry describes his childhood home in the Benham coal camp. He talks about the layout of the house, raising and preserving food, and their utilities. Henry talks about the experience of growing up in a coal camp, including his father's work schedule, seeing the company doctor, and shopping at the company store. He talks about where they dumped their garbage, his father's role on the mine safety committee, and the schools available for the miners' children. Henry says his father was strict and opinionated, and talks about who was the disciplinarian in his family. He talks about his attitude in school and whether he was ever whipped.
Henry talks about his transition from living in the mountains at the mining camp to a farm in Pulaski County. He talks about working at the school in Science Hill while attending classes there. He talks about the difficulty of farming, the animals they raised, and lists the many crops they grew in their garden. He talks about the types of meat they ate and how electricity affected their ability to preserve meat. He talks about illnesses his family had when he was a child and describes how they were treated. Henry talks about his family's awareness of world events, including news about World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. He talks about civilians' war efforts during World War II. He talks about their awareness of the Cold War and briefly mentions his own participation in the Korean War.
Interview LC SubjectHarlan County (Ky.) Coal miners Pulaski County (Ky.) Coal miners--Labor unions--Kentucky Rural conditions Discipline of children School discipline Company towns Childhood Families. Parenting Coal mines and mining--Kentucky Family farms Traditional farming--Kentucky Tobacco farms--Kentucky Tobacco farmers Education--Kentucky Rural schools--Kentucky Rural children Benham (Ky.)
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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.
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Henry, Donald Smith Interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. 30 Mar. 2017. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Henry, D.S. (2017, March 30). Interview by J. Suchanek. Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Henry, Donald Smith, interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. March 30, 2017, Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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