William Robert Kimball

William Robert "Bobby" Kimball

Interviewed by Leonard Monroe
Present: Sherrie Tucker, Reta Cosby,
Nancy Hiebert, and Virginia Hamm.
January 4, 2006

This is January the 4th. I'm Leonard Monroe. I'll be interviewing Mr. Bobby Kimball on growing up in St. Luke AME.

MR. MONROE: Bobby, what is your full name? What is your date of birth and where were you born?

MR. KIMBALL: My full name is William Robert Kimball. I was born April 17, 1943, and I was born at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

MR. MONROE: How long had your family lived in Lawrence, and when and why did the first family members come here?

MR. KIMBALL: My family has lived in Lawrence since 1925. They came to Lawrence from Reno, Kansas, and Kanwaka, Kansas. My mother came from Kanwaka and they met.

MR. MONROE: Did your family have any good storytellers, or what were some of your favorite family stories?

MR. KIMBALL: I think probably, since I had such a large family, the story I remember most is when my brother came home from the armed forces. He came home in a cab, and my dad did not recognize him. Being the parent he was, he invited him up to sit on the front porch, and they sat and talked for quite awhile. And finally my brother said he was going to go in the house and take a shower, and my dad looked at him and said, "I don't believe I got your name" (laughter).

MR. MONROE: (Laughter) Was that Sonny?

MR. KIMBALL: No, Bernard.

MR. MONROE: That was Bernard? I'll be. That was something. That was a great story. Were there people in your family that weren't talked about, like black sheep? How did your family deal with these people?

MR. KIMBALL: I don't know if it was treated as a black sheep or anything, however, I do have nine sisters and six brothers. I've always been told that, but I actually have nine sisters and eight brothers. I lost one brother when he was two and a half due to pneumonia, and a brother when he was 18, Sonny, that you yourself may remember.

MR. MONROE: Yeah, Jap?

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah (laughter). But I personally don't remember him. But they were not talked about that much, and especially when they talked about the family count. They would just say there were sixteen in the family, when actually there were eighteen siblings.

MR. MONROE: Yeah, I remember Jimmy Boy well, not only because he was skinny and kind of light-[skinned], but the way his eyes were, so we had always called him Jap. That was the nickname for him, Jap.


SHERRIE: Where were you in the order of children? Were you the youngest or the oldest?

MR. KIMBALL: I was four from the bottom.

MR. MONROE: Four from the bottom. I like that (laughter).

MR. KIMBALL: (Laughter) I guess that would be number twelve, wouldn't it?

MR. MONROE: What part of Lawrence did you identify most closely with when you were young? Or were there parts of town that you were restricted to or forbidden from going to?

MR. KIMBALL: Definitely there were parts that we were forbidden to go to. Restaurants. I would say counters in drugstores. We couldn't sit there, we'd have to get it to go. Of course, I wasn't allowed in the bar. I guess I really didn't know that it was bad, but I just wasn't allowed to find out because we did not attend bars. But whether that would be a segregated bar or a predominantly black-owned bar, we just didn't go to bars.

MR. MONROE: That part of town you were familiar with was supposed to be [Old] West Lawrence.


MR. MONROE: You grew up in West Lawrence?


SHERRIE: Want to say more about the neighborhood that you grew up in? What you remember about it?

MR. KIMBALL: Yes, I remember. Again, I have so many older brothers and sisters that we could almost do everything on our own property, because we had enough people to do anything we wanted to do. If we wanted to play baseball, we had enough players (laughter), or if we wanted to play dodge ball (laughter). But we also had a tremendous group of friends that lived within a block. The Monroe family was very, very close to our family, and there was a Cheeks family, and so we wouldn't have very much trouble going to recruit more people to play or to go to work, as I remember seeing my older brothers and sisters early in the morning getting up, and a wagon would come by and they would all hop on this wagon. Then they would come back, like 6 in the evening, tired and they would all have these bags of potatoes (laughter).

MR. MONROE: During the days of potato fields.

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, they would go. I didn't do that, but I saw it. They would go to the potato field and they were allowed to bring home the bad potatoes. So they would bring those home to eat. And I can definitely remember picking dandelions out of the front yard for food and things like that after school.

MR. MONROE: You had to pick those for greens?

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah. So that was when you wanted your friends to come around to help you do your chores (laughter).

MR. MONROE: This question might be a little bit confusing, but was the black community more self-protecting than the white community? If so, what were some parts of the protective mechanisms?

MR. KIMBALL: Well, it's very hard to know how protective the white community was. I really wasn't around them. But, really the only association we had with the white community was sports. So, consequently I really don't think a black female, in hind sight, really had a chance because women just didn't participate in athletic events, and a black female did not have a chance to be a cheerleader at school, or to be elected for something like that. So, see that's half of my family. With nine sisters, they were all restricted so to speak. But the men, brothers of sisters, we were fortunate enough to be involved in sports rather actively and, so, we had a very social environment from that prospective, sports, but not a social environment. As we say, "We didn't break bread with the other athletes."

MR. MONROE: Right. You couldn't eat with them or anything like that?

MR. KIMBALL: No, you couldn't do that.

MR. MONROE: You remember your grandmother? What was her role when you were growing up, and what about the grandfather's role?

MR. KIMBALL: I just have a very faint memory of them. I just remember my grandmother being blind, and being in the living room. I think in the South they call it a great room. It's a room that's really nice, but you just don't go in there (laughter). But she would be in that room, and we would go in there and say hello and speak to her and be very polite. So I didn't see a whole lot of her. However, I do have a picture of her that was sent to me. I just don't have a memory of my grandparents.

MR. MONROE: Where did you attend elementary school, junior high and high school?

MR. KIMBALL: I went to Pinckney Elementary all six years.

MR. MONROE: All through the sixth grade?

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, all through the sixth grade. My son went to Pinckney and my father went to Pinckney, and I thought it was news. I mean I thought, "Well, it's three generations going to Pinckney School." So, I did not know until my dad told me he went to a segregated Pinckney School. The blacks were upstairs and the whites were downstairs.

MR. MONROE: That was the old Pinckney School.

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah. Of course, Pinckney is much larger now. However, I called the Journal World and asked that, and he said, "No, that's not news" (laughter). He said, "There's probably several generations of families that have gone to that school," and if he starts that, then all these other families would probably be calling in too. Which is true, and I didn't realize it. But that was their reaction.

MR. MONROE: Right, because all of us also went to Pinckney School. But my oldest brother went to what they call the Old Pinckney School. Whether it was segregated or not, I don't know, because back then the question didn't even cross my mind to think about that, because we all went to integrated schools. Of course, it wasn't segregated. And the athletic teams, what about them do you remember?

MR. KIMBALL: Again, we had a school that wanted to win, so I was fortunate enough to be in a period of time when the coaches would play you if you were good enough to play versus holding you back because of your race. I understand that young men prior to me either weren't able to play or they were held back. They had a history of putting blacks at the same position, so that only one could be out there because you're playing the same position, or you would replace another athlete. But I didn't go through that era.

SHERRIE: Was this in high school?

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, high school. High school, junior high. Yeah, the coaches were all very, very good coaches, but they all had the same mentality as far as who they were going to play. They would push certain athletes.

MR. MONROE: Especially the ones with big names.

MR. KIMBALL: So, consequently a black athlete may have been very good, but he wasn't able to get out there because, say I was out there.

SHERRIE: You mentioned and you were asked about the schools, and we hear you went to Pinckney for the first six years. Where did you go to junior high and high school?

MR. KIMBALL: I went to Central Junior High and then I went to Lawrence High. The Lawrence High that is presently there.

MR. MONROE: Were there still three junior highs? Oh, you went to Central Junior High?


MR. MONROE: Well, then that was the new high school back then.

MR. KIMBALL: That was a high school in your day, and it was Central Junior High in my day. And then I had a job across the street. There was a Rogers Cleaners, so I just walked across the street after school to work. And then I went to another lady across the street from junior high for bible study after school, and then after bible study we would clean her house (laughter). But it was a very good experience.

MR. MONROE: Were any of the coaches or teachers African American?


MR. MONROE: Of course, they all would have been over at Lincoln School, because it was a black elementary school, and there was no black teachers in Pinckney or none of the junior high or high schools.

MR. KIMBALL: No, I had no role models in that perspective.

MR. MONROE: What clubs, organizations, or sports teams did you belong to in high school? Or were any of your class officers black?


MR. MONROE: Did you interact with the Native Americans in Lawrence when you were growing up? If so, what kind of interaction did you have?

MR. KIMBALL: Lawrence High did not have a track, nor to this day do they have a football field. So we would run from Lawrence High to Haskell to practice, and then we would have to run back, but that was just part of our training. In good weather. KU allowed us to do inside in the field house when it was cold or rainy. But that was my interaction with Haskell, going on their campus every evening during the track season. But football, we didn't interact. We were at Haskell; however, we didn't interact because we were playing football. And I didn't realize until some time in college, I went back to watch a Lawrence High game, and I said, "This is the first time I got to see a half-time" (laughter). See what they actually do out here (laughter).

MR. MONROE: What did you feel about your teachers' attitudes toward your education? Did they offer you support and, if not, why? Did they offer you support just like the rest of the students?

MR. KIMBALL: I think the teachers were very supportive. I really do. I think we had a very good teaching structure in Lawrence High.

SHERRIE: Do you remember any teachers in particular that were supportive?

MR. KIMBALL: Grade school, I remember a Mrs. Mott, who was, I think, Leonard's neighbor. The Motts.

MR. MONROE: The Mott's Stables.

MR. KIMBALL: Mott's Stables. Maxine Mott. She was my second grade teacher and she was one of my most memorable teachers, because she was just a strong woman. And, again, I would see her after school because she owned the property next to my parents. When I was real young, we had to go to corner to get water out of a well, and then we'd all bring it back to the house. And they would heat up some and then they'd fill up the bathtub and, of course, all the girls got to take a bath first (laughter).

MR. MONROE: (Laughter) They would run out of water before you got there.

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, after so many baths, they would dump it out and then we'd have go through that again. So, being my age, I was like three bathtubs down the road (laughter). But we would always go to Mott's, the corner of Mott's farm to get the water and bring it back, and heat it up and then dump it, and over and over (laughter).

MR. MONROE: When did you graduate from high school, and what was your overall opinion of your educational experience in Lawrence?

MR. KIMBALL: I graduated in 1961. I think I had a really good experience. I don't know. Maybe the experience that was unfortunate was my family was so awesomely poor. Not poor ways, but we had no money. You did not write in a book because you had to save the book for the person the next year to use, and the next year and the next year. So, consequently I'd go to school and I'd see these kids underlining things in the book. I'd think, "Boy, they're marking their book up. What are they doing? (Laughter) They're going to get in trouble." Even when I got in college, it was unusual to mark in a book. It was just unheard of. You didn't even write your name in a book, because it was going to be passed down. But I went through life that way, my young life, and it carried over into my adulthood. So it really affected my education as far as trying to remember things, and underlining or highlights in a book, we didn't do that.

MR. MONROE: Well, you mentioned college, so I was going to ask you the next question. What did you do after high school?

MR. KIMBALL: I was fortunate to get a scholarship to college, and I attended Washburn University, and I met a lot of very good people there. I worked in the student union at Washburn University in the evenings for like three hours. That was, I think, part of my scholarship, or grant aid I think they called it back then. And then I befriended three guys in Topeka, and we all decided we were going to leave school, we were going to go to another college. One went to a college called Flander-Smith, and one went to a college called Arkansas AM&N, and I was going to go to Grambling with the third person. And he took off, and I went down and told my parents, and they said, "No. You go back to Washburn (laughter)." So I did go back to Washburn, however, my friend called me from Grambling and said, "There are six women down here for every man" (laughter). I said, "You're kidding." So I sneaked on a bus and about ten o'clock at night, I took off to Grambling College. I enrolled at Grambling College. And then I went into the armed forces from there (laughter).

MR. MONROE: At that particular time it wouldn't have been a good idea to go home (laughter).

MR. KIMBALL: No, no (laughter).

MR. MONROE: Now I want to get into St. Luke. What are your first memories of St. Luke?

MR. KIMBALL: My first memories are, of course, my mom and dad picking us up and taking us down here. Giving us each a nickel to put in the offering plate, and setting in the front half of the church. Do not sit at the back (laughter). And don't get up and leave during church. Those are my most memorable experiences.

MR. MONROE: Well, you answered about three questions: "Did your parents attend St. Luke and were you a member? And did your parents attend church? Did your grandparents?"

MR. KIMBALL: Yes, they did.

MR. MONROE: I know your dad and my dad used to walk all the way over here to go to church. Because I remember some of those stories. When they got their vehicles, then they'd give each other rides.

MR. KIMBALL: I told my sisters that you shared that with me, and they wondered why my dad would be walking when he worked for a car company.

MR. MONROE: That was back then.

MR. KIMBALL: Back then he didn't have a car.

MR. MONROE: You couldn't really use it. But in this day and age you could do that. But back then, they wouldn't ever let him have no car for his self to go to store or anything like that.


MR. MONROE: But Dad had these old trucks because he worked for Constance Construction, and he had this old dump truck and then he had this old Buick, and so they'd ride together and come down here. When he'd drop Mama off over at Ninth Street, then your dad and my dad would come over here.


MR. MONROE: That's how I got over here, because I had to wait until he dropped Mama off at church, then I'd get in the car and come over here and go to church with Daddy. But we all went to Ninth Street Baptist Church Sunday School.

Are you actively involved in your congregation, or were you in the past?

MR. KIMBALL: Yes, I am. Probably the most challenging thing, physically, is when it snows. I wish this church didn't have so much sidewalk (laughter).

MR. MONROE: Especially the steps (laughter).

MR. KIMBALL: I don't attend service as often as I probably should. Right now, I'm a shift worker, and there are several Sundays that I'm either at work or just got home from work.

MR. MONROE: Yeah, I know that's very true. Just like you was fortunate enough to be here last Sunday, for example, but a lot of Sundays you just can't be here. And I know you are active. As a matter fact, you're a steward or a trustee?

MR. KIMBALL: Trustee.

MR. MONROE: You do participate in all of our programs, and lunches and dinners and things like this, which is very nice. As a matter of fact, we get to a point where we depend on you in a lot of these things.

What memories of funerals do you have? Were they typically segregated? Or mortuaries?

MR. KIMBALL: Memories of funerals. Yeah, most of it's hearsay. We had a black funeral home, black-owned funeral home in Lawrence, and I think it was mainly because blacks were not allowed to go to other funeral homes. As a matter of fact, there's one on Sixth Street that I remember having trouble walking past, because I had heard so many rumors, but I heard that the people said, "If you bury a black person, you would not get my business." So, it was a business move.

MR. MONROE: You had the Funk Mortuary there at Sixth and Indiana.

MR. KIMBALL: Right. They had free movies on Saturday mornings and we would have to all walk, of course, from our house to the theater, and we had to walk past that funeral home. So that was the only time I'd actually go past my grade school. It was a little further down.

MR. MONROE: Do you consider your faith an important part of your life?


MR. MONROE: What role has your church played in Lawrence history that you know?

MR. KIMBALL: I think it's played a very strong role in my history, in my past, and I'm sure it will in my future. But St. Luke, the memories here are just so great. The friendship is so strong, and now that we've had a pastor for such a long time. It's usually-- they had meetings every year and then they assess the status of the church, and they will appoint ministers to different churches. And, a lot of times, you can have a very good pastor and they would move up and out because they're so good, but the church has lost that person. Or some move down and out for the way they may have treated, or the people felt they were being treated. However, the pastor we have now is a very great pastor, and I think a lot of the people in the church are very pleased. So it's nice to have the same pastor for so long.

MR. MONROE: Reverend Verdell Taylor. But, like you say, in the past we've had some very good preachers. They have went on to become bishops of the church.


MR. MONROE: Do you know anything about Langston Hughes, or when did you first hear about Langston Hughes? Did you know he lived here as a young boy? Or what else do you know about him?

MR. KIMBALL: I only read about Langston Hughes. I just couldn't relate, when I was really young, to who this person was. I mostly heard about Langston Hughes in my adult life, and I did not know until I read the books lately that he attended St. Luke.

MR. MONROE: What are some of the names of African American businesses in Lawrence that you might remember?

MR. KIMBALL: Wow! Bud's Barber Shop (laughter). And there was a barbecue place, I can't remember the name of it, across the street from the barber shop. I can't remember that guy's name that owned that.

MRS. HAMM: Archie's.

MR. KIMBALL: Archie's Barbecue, yeah.

MR. MONROE: Was Blues Bucket still around when you was growing up.

MR. KIMBALL: Was that a bar?

MR. MONROE: That was a cafe really.

MR. KIMBALL: If it served alcohol, I wouldn't know, because I know we were forbidden to go near anything that served alcohol (laughter).

MR. MONROE: Because it was right there. Oh, you didn't go to Central?


MR. MONROE: I mean Manual or Old High?

MR. KIMBALL: No, I did not.

MR. MONROE: Because it was right there on Vermont Street. And, when I was going in there, we would go down and eat lunch sometime. And the Green Gables.

SHERRIE: What do you remember about Bud's?

MR. KIMBALL: The pictures of the black athletes on the wall, the dominoes, and feeling almost like I was in the way a lot of times. Because Bud, himself, would be playing dominoes, and he'd have to get up to cut my hair and it was like, "Oh, man, I feel bad to have to interrupt him from his game like that" (laughter).

MR. MONROE: I can tell you a little story about that. See, Bud was my brother. As a matter of fact, he learned to cut hair practicing on me. He clipped my hair one day, I chased him all over the neighborhood.

AUDIENCE: (Laughter).

MR. MONROE: But, then, he started cutting all the Kimballs' hair. No charge, but that was also for his practice. But it got in later years that Mr. Kimball, Bobby's dad, and later on the years he lived in Denver for awhile. He refused to get a haircut until my brother came out there and cut it.


MR. MONROE: But that's the kind of relationship and love we had for each other back in those days. I don't really think you have those kind of family relations anymore, but the Monroes and the Kimballs was very close. We played a lot of games together and had a lot of fun together. And we never really got in any trouble, believe it or not. Back then, though, none of us was drinking as kids and, of course, drugs was nowhere around. Now, we might go out in back of the barn and slip a cigarette maybe. Then we'd get sick or get caught and get our tail whipped, but that's the kind of relationships we had back in those days. Do you remember any of the other black businesses? I know that probably during your time, though, they was probably all gone, the black businesses. Of course, we did have lawyers and doctors here, but they were all gone by the time you got up to age and didn't know about that.


MR. MONROE: What doctor did you have when you was growing up? Did your family have a doctor?

MR. KIMBALL: A Dr. Jones was our doctor.

MR. MONROE: Pennifield Jones?

MR. KIMBALL: Dr. Pennifield Jones.

MR. MONROE: He's one of the famous ones.

MR. KIMBALL: I do remember later on in life, my mother was up in years and my dad was home with her. She was sick, and so my dad picked up the phone and called Dr. Jones and just said, "My wife's sick." And Dr. Jones left wherever he was and came to house. Years later, after there were no house calls, Dr. Jones still made a house call to my parents.

MR. MONROE: That was really great. Were any of you ever hospitalized and, if they were in the hospital, were the rooms segregated? Do you have any idea about that?

MR. KIMBALL: No, I would have no recollection of that. I know that I had a very serious accident when I was two and a half, and they took me to the doctor and they said that they would have to amputate my left arm. Back then, amputations cost a lot of money, and my parents had no money for amputation and the follow-up. So, they took me to a female who was studying to be a doctor, Dr. Boydton, and my arm was saved by her. But it was mainly because we didn't have enough money for an amputation (laughter).

MR. MONROE: Isn't that amazing?

MR. KIMBALL: It paid to be poor at that time (laughter).

MR. MONROE: That was really amazing. So that just goes to show it really didn't need amputation.


MR. MONROE: Of course, the money was talk for things back then too. Were the African Americans allowed to attend the movies, the theaters or forums in Lawrence with white people? If so, was the seating for African Americans segregated?

MR. KIMBALL: Even in my life time, it was definitely segregated. The blacks sat upstairs in the balcony. The balcony would usually take over, maybe the back third of the theater. If you were downstairs, you would look up and you would see the balcony, but the front half of the downstairs would all be just screen viewing. So actually it was more advantageous to sit up there, but that was the way they had it set up (laughter).

MR. MONROE: Yeah, that's what we called the crow's nest. But what they didn't realize we had the best seats.

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah (laughter).

MR. MONROE: If I go to a theater now, I sit in the balcony.


MR. MONROE: Those are the best seats as far we were concerned.

MR. KIMBALL: And every Saturday morning they had free movies and, again, we would walk to the theater and sit in the balcony. And then they had a drawing for prizes, and I won a BB gun. It was all I could do to keep from jumping from the balcony to the stage. But that was my first chance to really be downstairs and up on that stage to pick up that BB gun (laughter).

SHERRIE: What movies would you see?

MR. KIMBALL: Cartoons. Every Saturday morning.

SHERRIE: Was that a particular theater?

MR. KIMBALL: What is presently called the Granada. I think it switched around, but it was either Granada or Varsity. I think that were the only two theaters they had.

MR. MONROE: Because we couldn't really go over there then. And, of course, in your day, of course we had more theaters. But Dickerson, I guess, and Patee was closed when you were going.

MR. KIMBALL: I did not attend those theaters.

MR. MONROE: We didn't have no swimming pools, so did you do any swimming, or where did you do your swimming at?

MR. KIMBALL: I didn't swim. Nor would I play golf.

MR. MONROE: And, of course, African Americans weren't allowed to eat in the restaurants and things like that. It was owned by whites back in those days.

MR. KIMBALL: That's true.

MR. MONROE: Well, you have any other kind of stories that was passed down that you might want to talk about or anything, heritage, or regarding slavery, or the Underground Railroad that you might have heard your folks talk about? Or your ancestors?

MR. KIMBALL: The only thing that I remember, it has nothing to do with the Underground Railroad, but I do remember my parents sharing with me that a lot of the black homeowners would have a piece of land, and then all of a sudden they would just come up missing. And then the landowner would come and they couldn't pay the bill, so they would take over that land, and then the family would find out months later that this person was in a storage bin or under a bunch of corn or something. You wouldn't know how they died or things like that. But I heard there were several instances of black families losing their land that way. Had you heard that before?

MR. MONROE: Yeah, I heard some of those stories too. How do you feel about living and working in Lawrence? Have you had a good life?

MR. KIMBALL: Yes, I have. I've had a good life in Lawrence. It's really changed just tremendously. There are just so many more people who don't happen to be black that are just so much more heartwarming to be around. You don't have a history as such with a white community because of the way things were. Say at a class reunion, there's not much I could talk about at class reunion because we didn't really associate socially. It was, again, in my case it was sports and the females didn't have a chance at all. But, now, it's much different.

MR. MONROE: Let's get back on St. Luke one more time. Were you around when a lot of these changes were being made?

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, I remember the changes being made. I remember the big fund raising efforts to change things, lower the ceiling or move the whole alter from the south side of the church over to what is presently the east end of the church, and things like that. But I wasn't in on the physical doing of this. I understand that a group of men dug out this basement.

MR. MONROE: It was my dad and a Mr. Yale, and probably your dad was involved in that.

MR. KIMBALL: Uh-huh.

MR. MONROE: And Dean Harvey and a lot of the men did that. I remember when they was laying that stone wall over there on the south side. I remember that. I was here on leave when I saw some of that, because my brother, Raymond, and Dad was doing a lot of that kind of stuff. Anything else you might want to expand on as far as St. Luke or anything else? Or any of you got any other questions?

MR. KIMBALL: No, I don't have anything else I want to expand on.

NANCY: Something that I was wondering if you would want to share anything about the role of this church, the wonderful role that it had taken in civil rights and working towards more civil rights? And I know that there was a time when I think that at least one of your sisters was really involved in some of the issues to gain rights that should have been already there, but had took work to get. And I didn't know if you wanted to share anything about that. And then I think about Kyle, your son, and came up through Lawrence and everything, and I don't know if you wanted to say anything about where he is now.

MR. KIMBALL: Well, as far as the first part of your question, I do have a sister, Helen, who's living in Maryland and she wishes to be contacted about her experience with St. Luke Church, and so she left me her phone number, and really what she wants is someone to call, and then she'll call them back with the phone situation. But, as far as St. Luke, it just has such a deep history in the black community, I do believe that when we grew up there were basically only two strong churches in Lawrence, the Baptist and the Methodist. There were a lot of other small, very small churches around Lawrence, but predominantly it seemed like all the black educators came to St. Luke for their spiritual experience. Consequently there are several people who attended St. Luke who are like the first Alphas at the fraternities at KU, or the first teacher at KU, things like that. I think St. Luke has just been very instrumental if a person were to had experienced trouble in their family, they could go to the church. And then, when we grew up, really that was all there was. There was no TV taking over church.

MR. MONROE: Thank goodness!

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah (laughter). But that was really the only way that the black community could really come together on a positive basis. There were bars all during the week, but most people did not attend. But church was the only outlet the black community had to be together.

MR. MONROE: But I remember that some of the ones that did go out to the bars and nightclubs, believe or not, they were definitely in church on Sunday morning. I remember some of those quite well.

MR. KIMBALL: My son, Kyle, he did come to St. Luke in his younger days, but most of his young days, I did not live in Lawrence, Kansas. So, he was young and then we moved to another city. And then he was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to college.

MR. MONROE: Name the college.

MR. KIMBALL: He went to Harvard.

MR. MONROE: All right!

MR. KIMBALL: Yeah, and he's doing real well. He works for Goldman-Sacs, a firm in New York, and he bought a home in New York and he's very happy. That's the main thing I look at. He's happy.

MR. MONROE: Amen. Does anyone else have anything they might want ask?

RETA: How many ministers have you been under in St. Luke? You said that there were several ministers that came here. How many have you been under?

MR. KIMBALL: That would be very hard to come up with a specific number. But I would say, estimate ten to fifteen in my life time at least.

MR. MONROE: We have what we call our annual conference, and that's when the bishop's here, and that's when the pastors get the new appointments from year to year. Sometimes they get the same church, but then a lot of them every year would get a different church.

RETA: Where are your pastors appointed from?

MR. MONROE: From our annual conference, the bishop appoints them. And if you want to get your pastor back, we can write a letter, the steward can write a letter and all sign it, and say what progress has been going on. For example, like now we got Reverend Verdell Taylor, and we've been real busy on the history of the church, getting it on the state and national historic sites, so we got him back. He's been here now for about twelve years, ten years at least.

MRS. HAMM: I think they said ten.

MR. MONROE: Ten years. See, when you do that, you got a continuity going too, and you get a lot of things done. Whereas, if a new preacher comes, then you got to more or less start over again.

RETA: So Reverend Verdell Taylor is the longest pastor you've had?

MR. MONROE: Yes, by far. And he's an outstanding pastor as far as I'm concerned.

MR. KIMBALL: I will add to that, that I would think that the majority of the pastors who have left, have moved up the reason they left. So, consequently we've had two bishops.

MR. MONROE: I think four bishops total.

MR. KIMBALL: Four bishops out of this church?

MR. MONROE: Uh-huh.

MR. KIMBALL: Wow! I thought it was two.

RETA: Can you recall their names?

MR. KIMBALL: I know Pastor Brookings and Pastor Anderson.

MR. MONROE: But I think there has been four, hasn't it, Virginia?

MRS. HAMM: I think there has, but I can't get past Brookings and Anderson either.

MR. MONROE: But they've had about four bishops.

MRS. HAMM: His name almost came to me. The one that was in Wichita.

MR. MONROE: I can't remember the name of him now. That's the funny thing, we try to think too hard, then you can't thing of nothing. Your mind draws a blank.

MR. KIMBALL: And they also moved up, to like presiding elder and other steps.

MR. MONROE: See, another one of those little steps on the way to becoming a bishop is presiding elder. But the presiding elder, if they went that far, then that was about it there too. As a matter of fact—he just retired?

MRS. HAMM: Branch.

MR. MONROE: Yeah, Branch. He went up to presiding elder. He just retired last year.

RETA: And once you become bishop, you don't pastor a church?

MR. MONROE: The bishop is in charge of the whole district. We're in what we call the Kansas-Nebraska District, and our bishop is over the Kansas-Nebraska District. At the conference, that's when all the pastors from all these churches in Kansas and Nebraska get together. The big annual conference is when they are appointed or re-assigned.

RETA: Where did Reverend Taylor come from?

MR. MONROE: He came here from New Mexico. Roswell, New Mexico.

RETA: He pastored a church in New Mexico?

MR. MONROE: Yes. As a matter of fact, he ended up pastoring a church that I attended when I was stationed down there in the military, at Walker Air Force Base in Roswell.

Thank you very much, Mr. Kimball.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you.

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