Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky
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Jennie WilsonJennie Hopkins Wilson

Jennie Wilson was born in 1900 to parents who had been slaves. Her father “slipped off” and went to Paducah to join the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, her parents were given land and became sharecroppers.

As a girl, Wilson labored in the local tobacco fields, where she suckered and wormed the plants whenever a wounded man could not work. Her mother also taught her to cook, and Wilson cooked in white people’s homes and for large parties. She raised four children, all of whom went to college: two to Howard University in Washington, D.C., and two to Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. Wilson died in April, 2002.

Living the Story > Biographies > Jennie Wilson