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OH128 Bill Hopkins Oral History

Bill Hopkins Oral History

Collection Title: Jackson Purchase Oral History Project - Lifestyles

Series Number: OH128

Interviewee: Hopkins, Bill

Interviewer: Marable, A. C.

Date interviewed: November 15, 1979

Processed by: Tara Marcum

Date processed: August 1, 2011

Description: 1 sound disc (40 minutes)

Abstract: Bill Hopkins discusses his experiences as an African American in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky during the first half of the 20th century. He describes his travels as a child from Mississippi, to Arkansas, to Tennessee and lastly to Paducah. He recalls his parents and their occupations, where he attended school and that he never witnessed any racial tensions during his early life. He mentions the training he received as a chef, his recollections of the prohibition era, the Great Depression and his military service in the Second World War.

Biographical / Historical note: Bill Hopkins was born in Oakland, Mississippi. His family relocated from Mississippi to Arkansas when he was 11 years old. In 1923, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. In 1941, Hopkins moved to Paducah and worked as a chef at the Irvin Cobb Hotel. The following year, he joined the United States Army and traveled to multiple islands in the Pacific during the Second World War. After the war, he joined the Washington Street Baptist Church where he served on the finance committee and later was a deacon.

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:

Hopkins, Bill

Paducah (Ky.) – History.

Irvin Cobb Hotel (Paducah, Ky.)

Washington Street Baptist Church (Paducah, Ky.)


World War, 1939-1945 – Participation, African American.

African Americans – Kentucky – Paducah.