Interview with Roberta Figgs, February 27, 1990
Project: University of Kentucky Oral History Project
Interview SummaryRoberta Figgs was a housekeeper at Maxwell Place, the home of the president of the University of Kentucky. She worked throughout the Oswald, Singletary, and Roselle administrations. Originally from Scott County, she graduated from high school in 1942, and married a man who was in the military in 1943. She states that after World War II, she began working in various homes during the day and her husband became a sharecropper. Figgs explains that by chance, she heard about a job in the president's home on UK's campus. She recalls that she originally worked as an upstairs maid for fifty cents an hour.
Figgs talks about her relationship with and her impressions of Mrs. Oswald, who she says understood the plight of the working woman. Figgs describes a typical day at Maxwell Place when she began working there. She worked nine hours a day and even more if the Oswalds were entertaining. Figgs also mentions her impressions of Mrs. McVey, Mrs. Kirwan, Mrs. Singletary, and Mrs. Roselle. She discusses racial issues and the role of Black domestic help. She states that she did not know much about what was going on throughout campus, because Maxwell Place was so sheltered from outside activity. She recalls her sadness the day that Dr. Oswald resigned, and talks about her relationship with Dr. Singletary. She states that her worst moment at Maxwell Place was the day she was told she had to leave.
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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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Figgs, Roberta Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 27 Feb. 1990. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Figgs, R. (1990, February 27). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. University of Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Figgs, Roberta, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. February 27, 1990, University of Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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