Oral History Interview With Kendrick '76

We began this oral history interview with Wendy Kendrick (’76) by discussing her childhood memories of her family constantly moving due to Kentucky’s racial climate. Kendrick expressed how her “younger siblings grew up in one house from a young age through high school,” whereas she did not. The interview made her realize that she never understood why her family would move frequently and the impact of racism on housing during that time. Unfortunately, Kendrick’s parents are deceased, so she cannot ask them, but her response addresses how “African American families were prohibited from buying homes in the suburbs in the 1940s and ‘50s and even into the ‘60s” (Gross 2017) – the decade during which Kendrick's family faced housing instability.

The racial disparities during Kendrick’s childhood continued at Dartmouth. She realized she came from a high school that lacked the resources many of her peers had. This discrepancy made it difficult for Kendrick to flourish as an art major, especially when the department lacked mentorship at that time: There were rarely any Black professors in the art department in whom Kendrick could confide. This lack of guidance caused Kendrick to doubt her abilities, with a humiliating instance prompting her to abandon art for a few years. Art had become a considerable part of her identity, however, and she returned to pursuing this passion despite the impediments.