Interview with Cordie M. Briggs, April 17, 1987

Project: Black People in Lexington Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

The former laundry manager and floor assistant for the Campbell house, Mrs. Briggs recalls her employment history with the restaurant; racist treatment received by her supervisors; the lack of assistance from the Human Rights Commission; and, judges the reputation of Campbell House as a place of employment. After the death of her parents, Mrs. Briggs and her two siblings were placed in an African American run orphanage. She illuminates experiences suffered at the facility: the overcrowded living conditions; no training except for punishment; prejudice shown towards the darker skinned children; and, often going hungry. At fifteen, she left the orphanage and lived with an aunt until the age of twenty.

Attending Carver and Russel elementary schools and graduating from Lexington Dunbar, Mrs. Briggs reminisces about the quality of education received. A series of odd jobs followed graduation until her marriage in 1921 to a maintenance worker at the University of Kentucky. She discusses attending UK; living in the Pralltown neighborhood located near the UK campus and how it has evolved; the changes she has witnessed within the African American community; the deterioration and future of Deweese and Short streets; and, the condemnation of African American neighborhoods for the construction of Memorial Coliseum and Rupp Arena.

Mrs. Briggs reiterates her concern for what she sees as the loss of African American culture and racial identity: the impact of interracial relationships; the apathy in Lexington for the ongoing civil rights struggle; class divisions among the African American community; and, how the lack of parental involvement and concern has effected African American children. Cordie Wilkerson Briggs expresses her opinions regarding the changes evident in the African American religious community including ministerial leadership, increased emphasis upon money, and loss of influence.

Interview Accession

1987oh084_kh415

Interviewee Name

Cordie M. Briggs

Interviewer Name

Emily Parker

Interview Date

1987-04-17

Interview Rights

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.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Briggs, Cordie M. Interview by Emily Parker. 17 Apr. 1987. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Briggs, C.M. (1987, April 17). Interview by E. Parker. Black People in Lexington Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Briggs, Cordie M., interview by Emily Parker. April 17, 1987, Black People in Lexington Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





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