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OH241 Wilma Cotton Oral History

Wilma Cotton Oral History

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

Series Number: OH241

Interviewee: Cotton, Wilma Fletcher

Interviewer: Peyton, William

Date interviewed: July 2, 1979

Processed by: O’Daniel, Hannah

Date processed: February 4, 2014

Description: 1 sound disc (67 minutes)

Abstract: Wilma Cotton provides an extensive physical description of Arcadia Elementary School and the high school at West Kentucky Industrial College at Paducah, Kentucky. She also recalls teachers from both schools that were influential in shaping her career as an educator. She outlines President D. H. Anderson’s role in the establishment of West Kentucky Industrial College. She divulges the financial situation of the Paducah neighborhood of Arcadia that she grew up in and how she was able to afford her education. She also describes common chores for young girls and modes of employment for female teenagers as house attendants.

Biographical / Historical note: Wilma Fletcher Cotton lived from 1915 to 1999 in Paducah, Kentucky. Her parents were Richard Fletcher and Drusilla Clayton Fletcher. She attended two elementary schools in Paducah, the Arcadia Elementary School for six years and Rolling Town Elementary for two years. In 1929, she began high school for training at the all-black West Kentucky Industrial College. After graduating from high school and working for a time, she married Richard M. Cotton. Her husband was employed at the new West Kentucky Vocational Training School and eventually became the school’s Dean.

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:

Cotton, Wilma Fletcher, 1915-1999.

Kentucky – Race relations.

Education – Kentucky – Paducah – History.

African Americans – Education – Kentucky.

Segregation in education – Kentucky.

West Kentucky Industrial College (Paducah, Ky.)

Arcadia Elementary School (Paducah, Ky.)