Skip to Main Content

OH236 B. W. Browne Oral History

B. W. Browne Oral History

Collection Title: Jackson Purchase Oral History Project – Schools and Education

Series Number: OH236

Interviewee: Browne, B. W. (Birdius William)

Interviewer: Bates, Mary

Date interviewed: July 2, 1979

Processed by: O’Daniel, Hannah

Date processed: January 27, 2014

Description: 1 sound disc (17 minutes)

Abstract: B. W. (Birdius William) Browne highlights the benefits of a one-room school education from the perspective of a student and teacher. He describes his early childhood in Warsaw, Kentucky, teaching in segregated schools and his accomplishments as an educator and school administrator from the 1930s to the 1970s. He delves into the changing attitudes towards education and the contemporary lack of parental support of teachers leading to discipline problems in modern schools. He also discusses the influence and growth of the West Kentucky Vocational School at Paducah.

Biographical / Historical note: Birdius William Brown was born on January 18, 1906 in Warsaw, Kentucky. He attended a one room school in Warsaw during his childhood years. He completed the eighth grade in Decatur, Illinois before returning to Warsaw. He attended high school in Frankfort, Kentucky followed by two years of normal school at Kentucky State College. His first teaching job was at a one-room school in Mt. Auburn, Kentucky. He relocated to Florida where he taught and later became president of the Melbourne High and Vocational School. He moved to Paducah and taught at Lincoln High School. He eventually became principal of the school. After the Lincoln High consolidated with Tilghman High School in 1965, he served as the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Guidance. Browne retired and operated a farm. He died at Paducah on November 1, 1986.

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:

Browne, B. W. (Birdius William)

African Americans – Education – Kentucky.

Education – Kentucky – Paducah – History.

Segregation in education – Kentucky.

Kentucky – Race relations.

Rural schools – Kentucky – Warsaw County.

West Kentucky Vocational School.