Note: This original one-on-one interview, part of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project, was produced by the Kentucky Oral History Commission and Historical Society.
Porter G. Peeples grew up in Lynch in eastern Kentucky, attending public schools subsidized by U.S. Steel, which owned the local coal mines. Peeples spent several summers living with relatives in New York City, and he attended Hazard Community College before enrolling at the University of Kentucky, where he was one of about 50 black students at the time.
Shortly after graduating from UK, Peeples became education director for the Lexington Urban League. He was soon named director of the chapter—the youngest director in the nation.
Under his leadership, the Lexington league operated programs for clerical training, open housing (including rehabilitating and financing housing), community development, and training in penal institutions, as well as a community radio station. Peeples also chaired the Equity Commission that monitors the Fayette County Public Schools.