Interview with John H. Finch, February 15, 1985
Project: University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project
Interview SummaryJohn H. Finch, a retired African-American cooperative extension agent, was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1906. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the Hampton Institute in Virginia. Finch describes himself as hardworking college student and states that he graduated three months ahead of schedule. He was able to secure a job working as an Assistant County Agent in Negro Work in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1931. He describes his first few days on the job visiting local schools and local communities in Warren County. He discusses formulating his own program to help the community and educating locals about UK's extension service.
Finch started his career during the Great Depression, and he recalls that a large part of his duties became helping people to improve their standard of living. After 1941, Finch also took over responsibility for running the extension service in Barren County. He talks about how he measured results by the number of people participating in his programs. He also discusses racial issues involved in his position. From 1960-1966, Finch worked as an extension agent in Fayette, Bourbon, and Woodford Counties. He states that the living conditions were better for farmers in these areas, but explains that he worked strictly with African American farmers until 1961. He describes his crop and livestock projects with 4-H and his experiences with Bill Johnson who helped with electrical projects.
Finch discusses his experiences with the Farm Bureau and the difficulty that he had getting liability insurance because he was black. He talks about his professional affiliations with the National County Agents Association and Epsilon Sigma Phi. He describes his greatest satisfaction as an extension agent as when students say that they learned something from him. His greatest dissatisfactions include times when he has been overlooked or did not receive the recognition that he felt he deserved. He was not nominated to become part of Epsilon Sigma Phi until he had twenty-nine years of service as an extension agent, but Finch did win the National 4-H Award in 1967.
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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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Finch, John H. Interview by Mike Duff. 15 Feb. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Finch, J.H. (1985, February 15). Interview by M. Duff. University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Finch, John H., interview by Mike Duff. February 15, 1985, University of Kentucky: Extension Service Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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