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OH265 Eura Perry Oral History

Eura Perry Oral History

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

Series Number: OH265

Interviewee: Peyton, Bill

Interviewer: Perry, Eura Sanford

Date interviewed: July 14, 1979

Processed by: O'Daniel, Hannah

Date processed: April 4, 2014

Description: 1 sound disc (50 minutes)

Abstract: Eura Perry describes attending the Beasley School in Graves County, Kentucky in the early 1900s. She noted that the schoolhouse was the site of community activities, from social events, meetings and church activities. She described the limited role of the county board of education in providing supplies for the school. She recounted how she was able to obtain a teacher's certificate after one year of high school. She told of the creation of West Kentucky Industrial College in Paducah and the various functions of the first building. She discussed her teaching jobs in one-room schools in Ballard County and Graves County, including who she boarded with, her salaries and the conditions of the buildings. She mentioned her desire to complete her high school education, which led her to enroll in West Kentucky Industrial College. She described her twelve years teaching at Lincoln Junior High School in Paducah and attending summer sessions at Indiana University. She recalled the various crops that her father grew and how his sorghum mill became a makeshift community center when it was planting time for the sorghum. She recounted her childhood home and various social gatherings in the community. She highlighted the destruction of the Paducah Flood of 1937 and the temporary displacement it caused. She ended the interview by explaining what moved her to become a teacher and advised “to thine own self be true,” to African American youth.

Biographical / Historical note: Eura Sanford Perry was born on May 6, 1900 in Mayfield, Kentucky. She was a daughter of Harvey and Ritterann Beasley Sanford. Her mother died early in her life, leaving her father to raise eight children. She attended Beasley School, whose maternal grandfather had donated the land for the school. She completed one year at Lincoln High School in Paducah, Kentucky and then took the teacher certification exam at West Kentucky Industrial College. Her first teaching position was for one term in Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky. The following term, she taught in Graves County. She paused her teaching career for three years to complete her high school education at West Kentucky Industrial College. She returned to teach for two years in the community of Campbell in Ballard County. She spent three years at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee and one year at Kentucky State College, where she graduated with a Bachelor degree. She taught at Lincoln Junior High School for twelve years and attended summer sessions at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She met her husband, Dewitt Perry, in Bloomington and they married on July 29, 1943 in Ohio. After they married, she taught in Kentucky for one year before moving to Detroit, Michigan. Her last place of residence was in Lexington, Kentucky. She died at the age of 84 on September 18, 1984 and is buried in Paducah.

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:

Perry, Eura Sanford, 1900-1984.

Education – Kentucky – Paducah – History.

Education – Kentucky – Graves County – History.

Education – Kentucky – Ballard County – History.

Education – Kentucky – Mayfield – History.

Beasley School (Graves County, Ky.)

Lincoln High School (Paducah, Ky.)

West Kentucky Industrial College (Paducah, Ky.)

Kentucky – Race relations.

Paducah (Ky.) – Flood, 1937.