Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nunn Center shares collected "Wisdom'" via podcast series

By Jillian Waitkus

Last October the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History initiated a new podcast, The Wisdom Project. The series of history-related podcasts draw from carefully selected oral interviews and projects from the Nunn Center’s archives of over 10,000 interviews.

"With the surging popularity of podcasting, The Wisdom Project seemed to be a natural progression for the Nunn Center," said director Dr. Doug Boyd. Boyd and oral history archivist Kopana Terry have collaborated on this project to provide "a tremendous opportunity for people to experience to history in a format that is both educational as well as entertaining."

The Wisdom Project website will be updated frequently with additional podcast topics. The website currently has four episodes, each with its own intriguing story.

"Episode #001: Interviewing Jackie O.," is based on an interview conducted by Dean Terry Birdwhistell in 1981. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reminisces about her relationship with John Sherman Cooper, a long-time U.S. senator from Kentucky, and his wife, Lorraine. She also describes numerous social engagements she attended after the election of President John F. Kennedy in this very personal interview.

"Episode #002: Original Recipe for a Kentucky Startup" features a 1977 oral interview conducted by a UK undergraduate students with the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders. The segment explores the early history KFC from its humble beginnings. The colonel also offers advice on the importance of hard work and integrity in the business world. Excerpts from interviews with John Y Brown, Jr. discuss the purchase of the franchise in 1964 and its transition into the global marketplace.

In the two interviews that make up "Episode #003: Veteran’s Stories: Remembering the D-Day Invasion," World War II veterans and Kentucky natives Louis Bowers and Jesse Beazley recall their participation in the  invasion of Normandy, France, in the summer of 1944. Bill Marshall, former director of Special Collections, conducted these interviews in 1985 and 1994.

Louis Bowers, a member of the Fourth Infantry Division that spearheaded the invasion, talks about the misconceptions of D-Day alongside the impressive tact and skill of German soldiers. Jesse Beazley remembers his hopelessness of ever returning home and his intentional disconnection from fellow soldiers in light of their impending deaths. These interviews add real voices to the tragedy and chaos World War II soldiers faced every day.

The most recent podcast features interviews with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The two civil rights leaders spoke separately with Kentucky-born writer Robert Penn Warren, but often referenced each other in their interviews.

"Quite frankly, we’re having a great time producing The Wisdom Project, so tune in for upcoming episodes," Boyd said.

All of the podcasts are preserved at the Louie B. Nunn Center in the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center. The podcasts can be found online at and are available on SoundCloud.

Adapted with permission from UKNow.

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