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2006-12-06 Interview with Glenn Freeman, December 6, 2006 CC001:2007OH036CC11 00:36:04 History of Kentucky's Community Colleges Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Glenn Freeman; interviewee John Klee; interviewer 2007OH036_CC11_Freeman 1:|24(4)|48(3)|67(15)|90(5)|111(5)|134(13)|158(8)|176(8)|198(9)|230(4)|261(7)|292(9)|318(15)|343(2)|368(9)|390(2)|420(2)|444(5)|477(10)|508(6)|540(4)|566(12)|586(13)|605(3)|629(5)|653(3)|676(8)|697(13)|727(11)|755(10)|779(12)|809(7)|827(12)|847(2)|872(3) audiotrans CommuColl interview KLEE: Let's see what I got. The following is an unrehearsed interview by John Klee for the Community College System Project for the University of Kentucky. The -- I'm interviewing Senator Glenn Freeman in Cumberland, Kentucky. We're on the campus of Southeast Community and Technical College, and it's December 6, 2006. Senator Freeman, I'd like to start -- just to talk a little bit about of yourself, get your background. FREEMAN: Okay. I don't really have a background. I went to Cumberland College, went to Western, then I went to UK. And my father passed away in January of '57, so I came back here and started running the car business and helping them with the newspaper some. That's about the extent of it. KLEE: Now, you were raised in Cumberland. FREEMAN: I was born in Cumberland, raised in Cumberland. Then I ran for state representative and won a couple of times in the '70s. KLEE: Tell me what -- FREEMAN: Then I quit running. KLEE: Tell me what the city of Cumberland was like in your childhood. FREEMAN: Gee whiz. Busy and crowded, the streets when I was little. Yeah, you couldn't even walk up the streets. It's really changed since then. It's sad now. KLEE: What was pushing that activity? FREEMAN: Coal, coal, coal, coal, coal. Yeah. International Harvester probably had a couple thousand people working. Lynch had -- US Steel at Lynch had about 10,000 working. You know, it was a primary job, the premium job, for people. There wasn't any buses and things, so people really walked and they crowded the streets. It was a big time. KLEE: All the development centered right here along, you know, the main drag here between the three cities. FREEMAN: What about -- KLEE: I'm thinking about -- I mean, there wasn't any -- like where we're at now, we're kind of up on the hill. FREEMAN: No, no, no. This -- on this river here, International Harvester, apparently, back in 1915 or -12 or something had all the mineral rights and the land on the left side of this creek that faces you out here. And US Steel had the right-hand side. And that's -- they controlled the land up at that point. Cumberland, now, was a different story. It was settled probably around 1900 or something and had some original families that, you know, pioneered the place. My daddy came here in 1927 and started a newspaper. Maybe he came in '25, but he started Tri-City News in 1927, and -- KLEE: I think I've -- FREEMAN: -- you know, ran it up until 1970. And he dies in '57, and my mother sells the paper to Oscar Combs. I don't know if you know that name or not. KLEE: I know that name. FREEMAN: Oscar, yeah, he was over at Hazard. And she sold it to Oscar in about 1969 or so and went to Florida to live her remaining years. He kind of did the paper -- the paper -- my daddy, you know, I never did know why he actually did it, but he enjoyed it. It didn't do well revenue-wise, but he wanted to keep it open and he did. Then when he dies, my mother becomes the publisher, and my brother, Jim, became the editor, and my sister, [sounds like Jenny], who really ran the paper anyway, she set the type and did those things. And it just flourished pretty well, you know, under that guidance. KLEE: Uh-huh. FREEMAN: Which led to her -- you know, she knew -- I'm getting into the college now. KLEE: That's fine. Uh-huh. FREEMAN: She knew Mr. Newman, who was the International Harvester superintendent. KLEE: Now, he was the superintendent in the -- FREEMAN: In the '50s. In which -- that's where we got the land from. And so as far as I know about the land -- the land -- we had two sites picked for the college that I know about. One of them was up the river, Eversole Bottom they called it. There used to be an airport up there. And then International Harvester had this property here. So they got -- he got -- Mr. Newman directed [sounds like Paul Hightower] and myself to walk out the boundaries of this property. And it was about 55 acres, is what it is. It comes behind us here, you know. You can see where it is now. KLEE: How did you get in on that group? FREEMAN: Just being with the paper, I think, is what it was. The paper was the catalyst of the whole thing. It just had to be. You had to have something. The next important entity would have been the Rotary Club, then various people. It was such a community project to get this thing. I mean, it just really was. We had some strong people. We had people like G. J. Cullum, who's a doctor now at Middlesboro. He wrote a lot of articles for the paper, you know, about the college and that type of thing. Now, the college -- KLEE: Go ahead. I was going to say, give me some more of those names if any of them come to mind. FREEMAN: I will, yeah. G. J. Cullum. Dr. [sounds like Hammond], who's in Hickory, North Carolina, now. There was a clinic here back then in the good days. When things were rolling pretty good, there was a clinic. And Cullum worked for the clinic, I think, and I know Dr. [sounds like Hammond] did. You know, and there were other people, like I said Joe Isaac, Junior, who is in Lexington now. They had the theater here, and his daddy, you know, built the theater -- movie theater, which was a big deal back then. KLEE: Right. FREEMAN: Let's see. KLEE: So late '50s, early '60s, everything was still booming pretty well. FREEMAN: Pretty well. We had some dips, but it didn't bottom out. KLEE: So International Harvester was still -- FREEMAN: They were percolating along real good, yeah. You know, we didn't have a real serious downfall, at least in my tenure, my life, was in about '62 or '63, it went down some. But in the '50s it was rolling pretty good. International Harvester always had a soft spot for the community. They were really community-oriented. Why that is, I don't -- they were small. They only had one coal mine. I'm just trying to rationalize why they were so giving and so responsive to our efforts. That's -- KLEE: Now, you mentioned this Mr. Newman. Were there some other people in International Harvester that -- FREEMAN: Clyde Irwin was the assistant superintendent, and he probably played a substantial part. But the superintendent are the main ones. And [sounds like Paul Hightower], who was the chief property engineer, is the one that -- he and I walked the property lines out. How -- you really need to know, as far as I'm concerned, how it came to be that we got -- Cumberland got involved in this project. I originally asked you earlier who instigated the extension -- that's what it was, the community college at the time. KLEE: Yes, uh-huh. FREEMAN: You know, I don't know. Governor Chandler, maybe, or the University. Probably the University. You're probably right. With his acquiescence. He went along, you know. KLEE: Yeah. Sure, right. You needed the government support. FREEMAN: Yeah. You have to. You've got get legislative support -- I mean, approval, you know, getting money involved in the thing. But anyway, what really happened was, I think, whomever it was got a hold of S. E. Van Curon, was the editor of the Harlan Daily Enterprise. Now, his initials, I'm not sure. But it was Van Curon, and he was with the Enterprise at Harlan. And others, you know, maybe Charlie [sounds like Guthrie] and others whom I don't even know, coal operators. We didn't have any clout up here, and they had some. They had some people that were involved in politics, this, that, and the other. We didn't have anybody that I know of. KLEE: You're talking about in state politics. FREEMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, state politics. That could influence the governor or the University. We didn't have anybody in state politics. So they -- so Van Curon -- apparently somebody had contacted from the University of Kentucky or the Governor's Office that they wanted to put an extension college in Harlan County. So Van Curon came up here with the idea of what? Getting our support. (Laughter -- both) That was a mistake, because we kind of seized on the idea that, you know, why not put it here. And that's what really happened. So we got together, got the land, like I told you, those two locations, and this one, and formulated a financial drive, which had a big thermometer at the city hall, you know. It was going to ask -- if people gave the money -- I don't think they ever did collect it all. But they did pledge some money. That was the main thing. KLEE: Was that to build on here or was it to buy the land? FREEMAN: Well, just for them to do -- no, the land was donated, International Harvester, yeah. There was only a caveat in that donation was that they retained the mineral rights. This is a normal policy for coal companies. They just -- they did it at Benham when they sold those houses and land, US Steel, they keep the mineral rights. So that was a little bugaboo we had, but Harvester went ahead and went along with the fact of relinquishing that and gave it to the University, the mineral rights. KLEE: So the mineral rights belong to the University. FREEMAN: Belong to the University. We had that little -- you know when they broke off and made it a community college/technical school -- remember when that happened? Patton wanted to do that. KLEE: Yes, sir. In '97. FREEMAN: Whenever that was. So you know, we wanted to go with the University of Kentucky, and I researched all your deeds. I had a copy of every deed of all the colleges that you're interviewing. And there was a caveat in there that it must be a community college. So we -- technically we had them a little bit, but Patton, you know, he rolled us -- rolled over [us] pretty good. (Laughter -- both) KLEE: Right. FREEMAN: So anyway, that's the -- they came up here with the idea of getting our support, and we thought: Why should we -- why don't we just get the college? KLEE: Yes, sir. FREEMAN: So that's kind of what we did. We just set out with a community effort to -- KLEE: Who were the locals involved mostly in that? FREEMAN: Well, it was the Rotary Club, which -- a lot of small people. I mean, you know, like I tell you, it was different than you think. There were a lot of people. KLEE: I see. FREEMAN: I really -- and they're deceased now, so you don't even get to talk to them. Everybody's gone. Everybody's gone. Bruce said he told you that. You better hurry and do this article, because there's not anybody left much. KLEE: Right, right. So that club was really kind of one of the key -- because that was the business people. FREEMAN: Yeah. The newspaper, with the -- that's right, that's exactly right. There was some in the Lions Club, but not as much as the Rotary Club. It was all business. KLEE: And the paper was pushing it? FREEMAN: Hard! They were pushing it hard. And you needed a voice and a catalyst for it, and that's really what happened there. There was so much effort involved. I mean, like the motorcade was a big deal. We -- you know, get 100-plus cars to go to Frankfort to -- KLEE: I see. FREEMAN: And old 119, which was -- you know, no interstate, pretty big deal. KLEE: Now, you took a motorcade to Frankfort to ask for -- FREEMAN: To ask Chandler to get his approval to put it in Cumberland. KLEE: Put it in Cumberland, yeah. FREEMAN: Again, I guess there was a gray area there, who was doing this thing, but the governor's the man. So we went down there, and there are several pictures of it and all. My brother suggested you all -- you go through the archives of the Tri-City News. KLEE: I will. FREEMAN: There are a lot of articles on this thing. KLEE: Ok. FREEMAN: And anyway the Governor came over from the mansion. He was -- that's where he was, and he made the speech and it was very receptive. He was a great ----------(??) like International Harvester. I liked Governor Chandler. He and my father were friends and my mother you know and that type of thing, but he was a people's person. KLEE: Yes, sir. FREEMAN: If he hadn't been, (laughter) it wouldn't be here, I don't think. If he'd just went with the power and the flow, he would have put it in Harlan. KLEE: Right, but he liked the common people. FREEMAN: He liked people. And 100 cars, quite impressive. KLEE: That was impressive, coming as far as you all had, right. What about the UK connection from early on? How did that resound in the community? FREEMAN: Well, you know, they -- the University of Kentucky formulated a site committee. And the only one I can really remember well was Dean Albright. Now he -- there were several of them. There were five or six people, I'm sure. My mother greeted them, and I greeted them and others. But it -- now, I don't know how they formed that site committee, but they did. KLEE: Yeah. FREEMAN: It was apparently out of the engineering department and other departments where they knew something about the ground, I guess, and that type of thing. We were very close to where they were, right here, you know. It was on this knob here. KLEE: As far as where to put the buildings and so forth. FREEMAN: Yeah, I guess that's what it was. I don't know. They just looked -- I'm sure that's part of it, and they probably had an architect do that, by the way. But they looked around, and they liked the site, and they should have liked the site. So we felt like, you know, give them the money to run the water and sewer line -- the city had committed -- [sounds like H. P. Helton] was the mayor at that time. KLEE: And so the city was willing to put that in. FREEMAN: To bring the water and sewer line up, yeah. And then we were going to give them money to operate with or do whatever they want to. Plus, the land was free; it would be hard to turn that down. That's kind of what went on, too. Plus, we had friendly people. The governor apparently had a -- you know, like I said, he had a soft spot for communities -- small -- so that happened. And then what else happened? KLEE: Well, I wanted to ask you, were people in this area -- were they UK fans? FREEMAN: No, no, no. That didn't play a part. They are now, but they weren't then. No, no. KLEE: But there wasn't any allegiance to the University of Kentucky? FREEMAN: No. It was just an opportunity to get a college here. I think that's what we tried to sell the people on, as I remember. And everybody was for that, you know, where the kids could go to school closer. The closest school probably was LMU at Harrogate, which is some distance away. And there wasn't any commuting back then. The roads were bad. There wasn't any at Hazard. In fact, I got Joe Isaac, Junior, one day and just took him over to Hazard to see Dewey Daniel. You never heard that name? KLEE: I talked to Mayor Gorman yesterday, and he mentioned Dewey Daniel. FREEMAN: Well, yeah, he's kin to -- related. L. D. Gorman, see, his brother -- yeah, that's right. He worked at a bank. I went over there. I didn't know Dewey Daniel, but I wanted to generate some outside influence on the University or the governor. So I take Joe Junior over there. He didn't even know where I was going (laughter). I don't think he ever did forgive me. But we ended up over there at the Peoples Bank talking to Dewey Daniel. He had one of the first TVs I'd seen. He had a little office in the basement. We went down there. He was just relaxed. I don't think he ever did get up (laughter). But you know, who are we anyway? We just came over to elicit his support for the college here. And a few years after that, darn if they don't go after one. When did they do theirs? KLEE: Theirs was later; yours was first. FREEMAN: I know. Sure, it was a new idea. KLEE: '68, I believe. FREEMAN: '68, yeah. About ten years later, they go for one. KLEE: Did he give you all any encouragement? FREEMAN: You know, he was nice. He was a politician. Encouragement, I guess he said, "Yeah, we'll help you if we can," and that type of thing. It wasn't much, you know. I'm not even sure we needed it, but it was just something I was trying to do. KLEE: Everything you can. FREEMAN: Yeah, that's all. That Bill Gorman's a nice fella, by the way. KLEE: Yeah, he was real pleasant. FREEMAN: Pleasant as he can be. He's made them a good mayor; they're lucky to have him. KLEE: How did the community, in your view, kind of shape the college? Was there -- as far as the people that became involved on so forth. FREEMAN: There was just support for it. How did the people -- you know, we struggled with enrollment. We didn't know if that was going to work out well. And it did. I think, maybe, had 125, 175 the first year. They were just for their kids going to a local college, that's all. Being able to commute was a big deal. And I tried to get -- later on, I tried to get dormitories put here, and of course, you can't do that. And they -- they won't let you, you know. By then -- and they were only going to teach 100-level, 200-level courses. When I became a state representative, I got them to where they could take -- at first, 64 hours is all you could take. Did you know that? KLEE: I didn't know that, no. FREEMAN: (Laughter) Oh, yeah. So if you had a major and changed majors and you ended up with130 hours, they wouldn't let you do it. KLEE: Right. Uh-huh. FREEMAN: I had a law passed which would let them do that, and the University went along with it. And they ought to, because, you know, if you changed majors like I said and you had over 64 hours, if you took 100 more hours and they were still 100- and 200-level courses, what do you care? KLEE: Right. FREEMAN: You can become a professional student. What difference does it make? So you know, that one was changed. I had a lot of good support on the thing, Gene Huff, at the time, who is London -- who is a senator -- he was senator then and has been since then. Do you know him? KLEE: I know the name. I've read about him. FREEMAN: Nice guy. Boy, he's nice. He ran for county judge down there against Lawrence Kuhl and lost by ten votes. KLEE: Gee (laughter). FREEMAN: Close. KLEE: How did -- what kind of role did the college play as the community changed? Tell me about the community changing, as far as International Harvester and the coal mining and so forth. When did that start to take place? FREEMAN: (Chuckle) Everything was gradual, you know. If there was a change, it was slow. The enrollment was small, and it grew and grew. We had some great directors of the college. Edsel Godbey was the first one; you know that name. We had others, Falkenstein -- we had Wilson. We had a lot of guys. There's Pee Wee Cornett. You don't know Pee Wee. KLEE: No, I don't know him. FREEMAN: He works for the college now. KLEE: I see. FREEMAN: He is an old Cumberland Redskin. But anyway, you know, just vision of the directors is what caused -- and Bruce has got great vision. Man, alive! I mean, he's done marvelously well. I mean, he's gotten a lot of money for the college and the building program. This was the original building right here. You have to be ----------(??) and aluminum, you know, when E. K. Newman had it. It's still named after him, I suppose. KLEE: I was going to ask you about some of these names I see around here that are -- of course -- FREEMAN: The Godsey name. KLEE: Godbey. FREEMAN: Yeah, Godbey. Yeah, he's a good one. There's a friend of mine named Godsey over in Bristol now. But Edsel was his name. Where my office is now was the first office for the University of Kentucky. It was over at -- of course, my mother arranged that. I don't know how they did it. But he moved in there and he hired his teachers and all that stuff. KLEE: Tell me about him. What kind of personality did he have? Was he -- FREEMAN: He was just a nice guy, you know. Not outgoing, but not introverted, but just a pleasant -- I don't know who picked him. KLEE: It was a UK deal. FREEMAN: Yeah, that's right, see. They were the mother ship on this thing. We didn't have -- get you some coffee. KLEE: Oh, I'm fine. FREEMAN: We -- you know, things just happened. Now, how they happened, the timing and who was behind them, I don't know. KLEE: Were there any -- do you have any stories about Mr-- . Dr. Godbey, anything where -- FREEMAN: No, just the fact he -- see, my mother would have had them. She's the one that rented to the college. She's the one that let him have that office there. Or that's where he ended up with an office. She's passed, and that's why you're kind of -- you're a little bit late. KLEE: We're behind. Well, we're getting some of it. We're getting some of it. Now, you mentioned this Newman. Who -- what was -- FREEMAN: E. K. Newman, he was the superintendent of International Harvester Company at Benham. KLEE: That's right. He was the one that donated the land. FREEMAN: Yes. KLEE: There's a Chrisman Hall. FREEMAN: C. R. Chrisman, see, was involved in the thing. But he was in the Rotary Club, all those Rotary members. He was on the board of directors at the bank, good friend of Bruce's, by the way. The fact is that Bruce used to chauffeur him around and all. Bruce really was nice doing that. Oh, gosh. KLEE: I'll talk to him about it. FREEMAN: Yeah, C. R-- . you know, he probably played a big part in it. KLEE: Then I have a name of -- FREEMAN: Who? KLEE: Let's see. Angel Dale, Gertrude Angel Dale? FREEMAN: You had Arthur Dale and -- KLEE: Okay. FREEMAN: -- Gertrude Dale, they're from Harlan. Now, how they participated -- they would have been for Harlan. He was a Standard Oil agent, is what he was. And they dissolved that thing and sold it to [sounds like Rayburn Dawson]. She's nice. I mean, he was nice too. Is she still alive? KLEE: I'm not sure. I'd have to check that. FREEMAN: I think Arthur died. They were from Williamsburg. KLEE: Okay. Yeah, I know Williamsburg. FREEMAN: How he -- I don't think he was ever involved in the thing. He might have been. There was a lot -- the whole outfit -- it was a combined community effort, I'm telling you. Completely. Lots. KLEE: Right. What did -- FREEMAN: George Gallagher was one that was involved. He was in Rotary. He was a dentist. But gosh, there were so many. KLEE: Now, I know that the college has had to do a lot of private fundraising. Is there a family or a group of individuals or some companies that they can depend on as kind of their -- FREEMAN: (Laughter) Not that I know of. KLEE: Okay. FREEMAN: There ought to be. What happened up in this country -- KLEE: Yes, sir. FREEMAN: Now, at Harlan you'd have more success with something like that. You had US Steel Company out of Pittsburgh, International Harvester out of Chicago. You know, they were companies. KLEE: Right, right. FREEMAN: But Harlan, now, you had individual coal operators. It was different. Here you had two big companies that owned everything, the houses. They ran the company, company towns. So you didn't get in -- US Steel did not have a soft spot like International Harvester, so you didn't get anything out of them, anything, you know. I mean, that's just the way it is. But they paid well, and they employed a lot of people, but that was about it. KLEE: You mentioned in the '70s that you became state representative. What kinds of things came up during those sessions that dealt with this college or the community colleges in general? You mentioned the 64 hours. FREEMAN: I just did that because people would tell me they couldn't do it. And I'm talking -- it happened in Northern Kentucky. They had a lot of people that could not change majors because the University wouldn't even let them, you know, take the courses. So that's all that really was. And I think Gene Huff had a personal experience with his daughter, and so I got his help in the senate. That's all that was, you know, just something I did. It wasn't anything that grew out of anything. KLEE: What -- where does this college fit into the culture of the community now? How has the college affected the community? FREEMAN: It's everything. This college is the only thing we've got left that really lives and breathes. I mean, the coal -- of course, that's popping up. You can see coal trucks out there. But you know, when it went in downturn, like in '63 or '62, when the college was still here -- we looked at the college like it was going to be here for forever unless something really went disastrously wrong. It's like a federal project or something; it's not going anyplace. So this thing has grown, and Bruce has grown it. We've just been lucky. KLEE: So it's important for, what, employment? It's important for -- FREEMAN: Employment, culture, we never had any of that. He has a good arts program here. He brings in, you know, different people in for culture -- you know, performances and that type of thing. A lot of good leadership has come out of this college, as far as the community is concerned. You know, I'm talking about as far as the councils of the different towns and that type of thing. KLEE: I was going to ask about that. Do you see the effect that students having a chance to go to college has had on the community? FREEMAN: It's done that as well. I mean, it gave these people an opportunity to go on to a four-year institution, you know, from a one- and two-[year]. Yeah. And that's the only reason I came up with the idea of putting community apartments here. You know, it was -- to stabilize the college, make sure that if things went all to pot, it still would hold up. But the roads have improved, and we've got better access to the rest of the county. It used to be a large county. It used to have 75,000 people. Now, we have probably got 32- or 33,000. But the roads have improved, and kids can come from all over the county, and it's worked out well. KLEE: Right. So the college has been able to hold its own, despite the loss in population? FREEMAN: Decline, yeah, even in the coal economy. Yeah, it has. Not only held its own, it's grown. KLEE: Right, right. You've mentioned local leaders. Were there any political leaders regionally that came into play? FREEMAN: We didn't have it. We just didn't have any. KLEE: Didn't have it, didn't have the clout. FREEMAN: We didn't have any. We had people, people power. If there ever was a situation where the people influenced a major decision, it was here at that time. It just didn't happen. We didn't have anybody. KLEE: Is there -- there's no stable industry here other than the coal popping up. FREEMAN: Just the coal. And I've tried that, but been futile. I tried -- yeah, I tried to bring in -- I did bring in one factory at Harlan that's existed, T. L. Bayne, Teddy Bayne, at Harlan. It's a furniture company outside of Harlan, on the right there. It's difficult. You know, and Governor Patton, bless his heart -- I noticed that Gene Strong resigned the other day. KLEE: I saw that. FREEMAN: I liked him pretty good, but not real good. I don't think he ever tried to help us. I really don't, because he went with the least resistance, which was -- would be Owensboro or someplace where they already had an industrial site and a lot of community involvement, and quite large. But back to Patton, what Patton did, he got a guy named John Sykes, and they put in -- and they put a big call center thing at Hazard. Do you know anything about that? KLEE: Yes, sir. FREEMAN: And Pikeville. Okay. Maybe somewhere in West Kentucky they did it. And Patton gave them the land, and gave them X-number million dollars, built a building, to come. And I said, "Man, man, he's wrong about that." And then I happened to think, you know, that's the only way they are going to come. If you don't give them everything -- but the only problem is they left. KLEE: (Laughter) Didn't stay very long. FREEMAN: No. But I don't think you are going to get them unless you give them everything. Gene Strong was never for that. If it hadn't been Governor Patton, he never would have okayed that deal. But I don't know how you're going to get them to come. We are so far off the beaten track, you know, you almost got to give them everything and hope they come then. KLEE: Do you see a lot of your students here leaving the area after they get their education? FREEMAN: They all leave. You know they do. Yeah, I did -- in order to try to attract industry up here, I did a little poll to see how many would stay. I forgot how many we graduate; it's quite a few in Harlan County. But yeah, they leave. There's no place for them. They can't stay. They leave; they just do, you know. They're all blue-collar jobs anyway, you know. I mean, coal mining is -- up this river here -- up that road, it's tough. It's tough, it's dangerous, and you don't need a college education to work in the coal mines. And the equipment is fairly sophisticated, but still you don't need one. KLEE: Right, right. What about the growth in buildings here and so forth? How did -- did -- were there political deals that were made there? FREEMAN: Buddy -- no, no, I'm telling you, I -- it's just people like Bruce and others who had the vision to -- need -- have a need. He's got some now. He's got pictures of different buildings and the high school down here. He showed me that they were going -- that just takes vision and somebody with commitment. KLEE: Because there's not a lot of local money to help spur that on. He's had to get it -- you all have had to get it from the state. FREEMAN: (Laughter) Yeah, I'd say. I'm not even sure how much the state participated. Of course, they do, but maybe it was the University that did. I don't -- when you say state, I don't -- Frankfort, no. You know, if you've got the clout, you can get something passed to fund something. But that never did happen, as far as I know. KLEE: What do you see for the future of the college here? FREEMAN: Jeez, I don't know. I don't know about the technical thing. What's that fellow's name that's over the -- KLEE: I'm not sure. FREEMAN: Oh, you do. Over the -- over it now. Patton put him in. KLEE: Oh, the whole thing? McCall? FREEMAN: Michael McCall, yeah. KLEE: Michael McCall, yeah. FREEMAN: I don't know. You know, they're funded separately now than the University and others. He's about -- I guess sort of like Eastern or somebody. I don't know what kind of footing they've got with funding. But that's in a big document. KLEE: You were involved in that, you said. FREEMAN: Yeah. Even then, you don't know what they're asking for. That thing is -- (laughter) and those deals were made. I don't know who determines who gets what funding. I don't know. It's a sight. KLEE: You were involved a little bit when the Patton administration wanted to separate this -- and combine those -- FREEMAN: Bruce resisted, I resisted, others resisted. We liked our -- what we had, you know. We were Big Blue, and that was it. But Patton, if he's after you -- of course, the governor can do that. [Jingle noise in background] I don't know what's going on now -- KLEE: Oh, there's something -- a computer over there, yeah. FREEMAN: Patton, he did well. KLEE: Well, he got it done. FREEMAN: Yeah, that's right. KLEE: Well, I think I'm about at the end of my questions. I certainly appreciate it. FREEMAN: Like I said, the biggest thing, it was a community effort if there ever was one, I mean, grass-root community effort. People -- like I said, it was just happening. KLEE: You had the newspaper, the Rotary Club, and just individuals. FREEMAN: And the Lions Club as well. But the Rotary had all the business people. You hit it on the head. They just were there. There'd be talks made, and people would get excited, then the road blocks and whatever to get the money. But Lynch and Benham, now, they wanted their kids to go to a local school, you know, and be able to commute to school. So that's where the cars came from and all that stuff. KLEE: Yeah. I read that there was a parade actually when it was announced. FREEMAN: It was 100-plus cars in that thing. That's a big deal. You couldn't get 25 cars now. (Laughter) I mean, you know, it was a big deal. People wanted it. They just saw a good need, and they came out and supported it. It worked out real well. KLEE: And in those early days, did a lot of the parents send their kids here? I mean, you said that -- I mean, where did you go to college? You mentioned Cumberland. FREEMAN: Pretty well, they did. The roads were bad, so you didn't get them from the other end of the county like you do now. Even -- for a while, we got them even from Perry County before they put their college -- we got them from Whitesburg before Bruce cut them off with that thing he over there, extension. When the roads got better, people could travel. And it's the same way now, as far as the roads in the mountains need to improve, and they have pretty well. KLEE: Are you serving in any official roles at the college now? Are you on the foundation or anything like that? FREEMAN: No, no. My mother was one of the original directors back, you know, when they did it. C. R. might even be -- now, I'm not sure, but C. R. Chrisman he was a good man. In fact, the colored people called him Mr. Christmas. KLEE: Is that right? FREEMAN: Instead of Chrisman. KLEE: He helped people out, uh-huh. FREEMAN: He helped them. He helped the colored people, you know. So he just would -- I started to say who wouldn't. But C. R. would. And they called him Mr. Christmas. Isn't that cute? KLEE: Yeah, it is. Why was your mother so interested? FREEMAN: Well, she was just with the paper. That's all, you know. And it was a big deal. Anybody that was here would have wanted it to happen, you know. And shortly thereafter, we got that park, which was a big deal. Governor Combs gave us the park, which was a big deal. You know, there's not many things going to happen in the mountains that are going to be worthy of prolonging life. KLEE: The two big industries are gone, I mean, the big players. FREEMAN: For a while, for a while. Yeah, the big players are, International Harvester and U S Steel. Now you got individual people like those trucks there you see are a guy from Roanoke, Richard Gilliam. I don't know if you've ever noticed it, a lot of traffic out there. So when I was in the senate, it worked out pretty well. I put in $850,000. And Senator Bailey really helped me. He's the most knowledgeable guy. Have you ever talked to him? KLEE: No. FREEMAN: You need to do that. He's knowledgeable; he's smart, Senator Bailey. But anyway, I put $850,000 in to improve this road. We had really bad access to this college that's such a nice place. So even though you think it's bad now, you ought to have seen it back then. I mean, you know, it's widened the streets, and it's got concrete going to the main road and all that. And that was in the budget in 19- -- probably '98. I was able to, I think, put a half a million dollars in there for the college, whatever building they wanted to apply it to. I think it may have been -- might have been the Appalachian Center, which is a godsend, I'm not sure. Did anybody ask me to? No. I mean, it's not like you think. I mean, state government's not like you think. It's not, now. I mean, I'm sure Singletary and those people are swatting away with a big stick, but I mean they were just wanting there own budget for their college, and I don't know about McCall. He's got to do the same thing. And I know Ramsey did at Western, and now he's at -- what is he at? U of L now. But it's different than you think, that's all. You need to talk to Senator Bailey. Senator Bailey knows more about state government than anybody I've ever seen. He knows right now. KLEE: Who? FREEMAN: Senator Bailey, he lives in Hindman. Smart guy, man. He knows all about state government. Have you ever heard of Grady Stumbo? KLEE: Yes, sir. FREEMAN: That's his partner. They've got a health clinic thing. He ran Grady's campaign when they -- when he ran. He's a solicitor of money. He told me just got back from New York where he got some grant money for something. He does good, yeah. He talks kind of country, and they -- I guess they know he represents whoever -- he comes from the mountains, you know. But he's a nice guy. KLEE: I was going to ask you about -- it's hard to get elected representative and senator because it is such a big area here to represent. How was that -- how did that work for you? FREEMAN: It was easy when I did it. We had two state representatives. Senator Bert Pollitte, who became a partner. We built a house together and built some buildings down in Harlan. Harlan had two state representatives. We were a little bit larger. I didn't spend any money, $1,200 or $1,500. KLEE: Is that right? Times have changed. (Laughter) FREEMAN: Now it's different. Mongiardo beat me in 2000. He spent, like, a quarter of a million dollars. I spent about $115,000, and I didn't want to. KLEE: Just had to -- FREEMAN: Yeah, I had to pony up. He spent a lot of money. I noticed he said in the paper the other day he spent a half a million when he ran against Bunning. KLEE: Gee. FREEMAN: I know. But he's got the money. He's all right. KLEE: Well, l certainly appreciate it. FREEMAN: I wish I had more to tell you. I wish there was somebody around to tell you, but they're all gone. KLEE: Well, we'll catch up with some of them second-hand (laughter), once removed. FREEMAN: I'm telling you, it's a sight. It really is. Bruce knows a lot about it. KLEE: I'm talking to him next, here in a little bit. FREEMAN: I'm sure he knows a lot about it. He's got to, just because he's been here, you know. And C. R. Chrisman was a nice person. KLEE: Yeah, I want to ask about -- and who did you tell me -- that's who you said he drove around some? FREEMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. KLEE: I'll ask him about that. FREEMAN: Yeah, he took care of C. R. KLEE: Mr. Christmas. FREEMAN: Yeah, Mr. Christmas. He took care -- I don't even know if he knows that or not, but that's what the colored people called him. KLEE: That's really neat. Well, thank you very much. Oral history with Senator Glenn Freeman, representing the Harlan County district from 1973 to 2000. Freeman discusses early life in Cumberland and Lynch, Kentucky, emphasizing the impact of coal mining. He describes the founding of Southeast Community College, including the people involved in its establishment, and tells of his influence on community college legislation. Interview concludes with an overview of the history of Harlan County and the impact of the college on the economy. insert here