Interview with Msiba Ann Beard Grundy, June 5, 1991
Project: Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project
Interview SummaryMsiba Ann Beard Grundy describes herself as the daughter of Mississippi rural farm people. Her mother was a teacher and her father was the pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and was active in the civil rights movement She remembers when Martin Luther King, Jr. bought her a soda.
Grundy left Mississippi after graduating from high school. The American Friends (Quakers) sponsored her she that she could attend two additional years of high school in Liberty, New York at a program designed to help "disadvantaged" students "catch up." Although Grundy found that she had already been well prepared for college by her Birmingham teachers, she completed the program, and the Quakers provided her with financial assistance through college. Grundy attended Berea College, and she describes life at Berea College in the 1960s, particularly its close-knit African American community.
Grundy states that the combination of the commitment to public service that she learned as a child and the pervasive atmosphere of social change in the 1960s influenced her decision to become an Appalachian Volunteer (AV). She joined the Children's Caravan, a traveling theatre group which toured eastern Kentucky in a brightly colored, air-conditioned bus. Grundy recalls the unbelievable poverty that she witnessed there. She also describes the curiosity of some of the mountain people who had never seen a black person before, and the culture shock experienced by the middle-class volunteers.
The next year was one of intense growth for Grundy. She explains that she and her friends began reading Malcolm X and participating in the cultural explosion of the 1960s. The summer following her AV experience she worked with the African American community in Berea, which was called Middletown. Grundy describes gender and racial issues within the AVs, and conflicts over the changing sexual mores of the time.
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Interview UsageInterviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, 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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Grundy, Msiba Ann Beard Interview by Margaret Brown. 05 Jun. 1991. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Grundy, M.A. (1991, June 05). Interview by M. Brown. Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Grundy, Msiba Ann Beard, interview by Margaret Brown. June 05, 1991, Appalachia: War On Poverty Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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