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OH255 Robert Larson Oral History

Robert Larson Oral History

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

Series Number: OH255

Interviewee: Larson, Robert

Interviewer: Bates, Mary

Date interviewed: August 14, 1979

Processed by: O’Daniel, Hannah

Date processed: March 7, 2014

Description: 1 sound disc (16 minutes)

Abstract: Robert Larson began the interview by describing his early life in Paducah, Kentucky. He recounts his teachers, coaches, and classmates at the Garfield School and Lincoln High School in Paducah. He explains the changes in Paducah since his childhood in the 1920s and 1930s in terms of education and housing for African Americans. He discusses his reasons for approving affirmative action. He tells of the evacuation and relocation of Paducah residents during the Flood of 1937 and how the experience was an adventure for the youth. He mentions attending West Kentucky Vocational School during summer sessions. He feels that discrimination and prejudice toward African Americans will be improved due to continued racial integration in education. He cites his experience in the United States military during World War II as teaching him how to be flexible and adapt to being in environments with people from different cultures. He ends by describing the value of the education which he received in his youth in Paducah and the teachers who helped to shape him.

Biographical / Historical note: Robert Larson was born to parents Seaman and Mary Larson in 1921 in Paducah, Kentucky. He attended segregated public schools in Paducah, including Garfield School and Lincoln High School. He graduated from high school in 1939 and attended summer sessions of West Kentucky Vocational School. He served in the United States military during World War II. At the time of the interview, he was employed in sales in Indianapolis, Indiana. Larson died in Indianapolis on April 10, 2002.

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:

Larson, Robert, 1921-2002.

Paducah, (Ky.) - History.

Garfield Elementary School (Paducah, Ky.)

Lincoln High School (Paducah, Ky.)

West Kentucky Vocational School (Paducah, Ky.)

Kentucky – Race relations.

African Americans – Kentucky – Paducah.

Paducah (Ky.) – Flood, 1937.