Interview 256a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, R.L. Kuykendall reminisces about his life. He speaks about growing up as an African American child in Galveston, Texas in the 1930’s and 1940’s, attending segregated schools and joining the Navy. He talks about his time in the Navy and then his time as a student at Texas Southern University in Houston. Upon graduation, he started teaching in various small schools around southeast Texas, including Coldspring, where he met his wife, Viola Tims. Mr. Kuykendall moved to Lufkin in 1969 and began teaching at Dunbar school, spent a few years as Principal of Crockett High School in Crockett, and then returned to Lufkin as Principal of Garrett Primary, from which he retired. Mr. Kuykendall also discusses his time as a member of Lufkin’s City Council, the Lufkin Planning and Zoning Committee, and the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. He also speaks about his project with Reverend Betty Kennedy to preserve African American history in Lufkin by interviewing African American citizens and recording their memories in oral history interviews.
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