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OH126 Norvel J. Williamson Oral History

Norvel J. Williamson Oral History

Collection Title: Jackson Purchase Oral History Project - Lifestyles

Series Number: OH126

Interviewee: Williamson, Norvel J.

Interviewer: Bates, Mary

Date interviewed: November 1, 1979

Processed by: Tara Marcum

Date processed: July 25, 2011

Description: 1 sound disc (20 minutes)

Abstract: Norvel J. Williamson talks about his early life in Paducah, Kentucky during the first half of the 20th century. He recalls the Great Depression, the flood of 1937 and his early years in school. He mentions that many were financially wiped out after the flood of 1937. During the flood, Williamson carried sandbags to the levy at Hickman. During the Great Depression, his father worked for Illinois Central Railroad and later for the Work Progress Administration. He reflects on working for the railroad and the growth of labor unions. He describes Noble Park and Stewart Nelson Park and white black relationships in the city prior to the civil rights movement. He mentioned that blacks had access to the public libraries and were able to attend white churches.

Biographical / Historical note: Norvel J. Williamson's parents were Cullie and Louie Williamson. He attended segregated public schools, including Lincoln High School where he graduated in June of 1937. He attended and graduated college at Kentucky State University. After graduation, he worked in dining services for the Illinois Central Railroad for thirty two years. He was an active member of the labor union and joined soon after it organized.

General information: No user access to original recordings. Use audio user copies, digital derivatives, transcripts, and/or tape indexes. This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Permission for reproduction must be requested from Murray State University.

Subject Headings / Descriptors:

Williamson, Norvel J.

Paducah (Ky.) – History.

Lincoln High School (Paducah, Ky.)

Kentucky State University (Frankfort, Ky.)

Illinois Central Railroad Company (Paducah, Ky.)

African Americans – Kentucky – Paducah.

Floods – Kentucky – Hickman.