MARSHALL: and to find exact dates. Now I know it’s, I know it’s general. See, I know

CLAY: [you got the first hand row]

MARSHALL: about Prince hall.

CLAY: [ ] [you came up]

MARSHALL: Yeah, I know about, I know about Prince Hall.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And I know about his establishment of the lodge, and how all that came about. But the, the one I’m really concerned about is the

CLAY: Well, this one…I would have to…now there’s two men. I don’t know whether they would know or not, they’ve been here and they were in the lodge, uh, before I came. John Bannon


CLAY: was uh, past master when I came into the Lodge, in, in 1943.


CLAY: And, um, John Reed.

MARSHALL: John Reed? Oh, yeah. He, well, he’s pretty sick now.

CLAY: Yeah.

MARSHALL: [Talk about] [ ]

CLAY: He might not, he might not, because, uh, now those are, let’s see, John Reed, John Bannon, were in when I come in. Now of course, I was a young man 1:00then, at that time.

MARSHALL: [You don’t know why]

WOMAN: How do you do?

CLAY: Fine, how are you?

WOMAN: Pretty good.

MARSHALL: Mr. Clay [and]?

WOMAN: Yeah. That’s all right, just sit. No, I’ll tell you, I was coming across and I could not help you say something about [low] and getting this Prince Hall.


WOMAN: Yeah. My father was a Mason. But I know nothing about Masonry. I have a son, you know, who is a Shriner.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. Go ahead.


MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: Did I say now, um, I guess the oldest past master that we have is John Bannon,


CLAY: that is, uh, y’know,


CLAY: alert now, and everything else, and you say uh, [must be that], he was a member.


CLAY: But, uh, John on the [Allen] side and everything else. Now, there could be others, that have searched,



CLAY: y’know, farther than I have,


CLAY: as far as Masonry itself is


CLAY: concerned, but what you want to know is about Ypsilanti.

MARSHALL: I’m just concerned about the Ypsilanti group.

CLAY: Now, they’re getting stronger, they’re a lot stronger now than they used to be when I was in there, because there’s a lot of different things to handle, there’s a lot of young ideas come in there and everything, just like education,


CLAY: rose,


CLAY: so does Masonry.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

CLAY: And, uh, you’ll find those kind of things, that, uh, the men that come in, young men that come in, that the only thing keeps things going


CLAY: is young men, just like the army, no young men in the army, don’t have any! [Laughs]

MARSHALL: So I was going to say, one thing you said, now you were saying that it used to be that this was not a Prince Hall.

CLAY: [Now], at one time it wasn’t.

MARSHALL: This must have gotten away

CLAY: It had a Masonic group.

MARSHALL: It must have gotten away, because it was Prince Hall in 1870. And—

CLAY: Not here. Not in Ypsi.

MARSHALL: Well, I can’t guarantee that, but I’m going, I, I don’t have 3:00that uh, here, up on campus I have that clipping now from an 1870 newspaper in which, oh, [what was that called that] yesterday the guy who was the first principal of Adams school, and it specifically said [ ] and that, really, for a long time, Prince Hall was the only one I knew.

CLAY: Well, I’m not [ ]

MARSHALL: Then I found out that there were some other ones.

CLAY: Uh-huh. And there are still some others,


CLAY: as far as that goes. But, now, I’m not going to…now, I don’t, I don’t want you to quote me on this, because a man that was belong the same time my father did [what he did] in Prince Hall, Mason [advantage], the pastor of St. Andrew’s alive


CLAY: at the time,


CLAY: he told me that at one time, that lodge wasn’t Prince Hall-affiliated, and—but they’ve changed over. I don’t know what went on, in the meantime, 4:00I don’t know

MARSHALL: Caused a change

CLAY: what went on to cause that change,

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

CLAY: but he told me,


CLAY: and I—you might know, you might know, his uh, daughter, do you know, uh, Art Carter. Arthur Carter. He’s dead now. But his daughter, Viola Carter,


CLAY: Her father.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

CLAY: Her father.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

CLAY: told me, he told me that one, at one time, that when they changed, to Prince Hall, and he was a member of the other lodge here then,

MARSHALL: Well, he came here in 1904.

CLAY: Well, he was a member of the other lodge here then.

MARSHALL: At least that’s what Mrs. Carter tells us, that her father, Walter [and him] lived in 1904. Now, that was still some 30 years from the time of the article that I have. And then I have to admit, that’s the only one I’ve run across. It’s just a little small item in the Ypsilanti paper, I think the Ypsilanti Commercial, that points out that—


CLAY: You told me they had changed.


CLAY: from the lodge that they had then up to Prince Hall Masonry.

MARSHALL: Well then, it’s now 1870, 1872, this guy was elected to the state, and they were quite proud, at least it seems, folks were writing in the paper, were quite proud of that, that one of their blacks should be honored by this state position.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [It was] somewhere, I can’t remember the exact dates, but it was somewhere around 1870, 1872.

CLAY: And I can always remember that place, that building, it used to face, uh, on Buffalo. And that, at that time, it was a Good Samaritan Hall, that’s what they called it. And there used to be some Good Samaritans—

MARSHALL: The building that’s there now.

CLAY: Yeah. ’Cause we turned it—

MARSHALL: [Used to be] on Buffalo and you turned it around

CLAY: We turned [her] building around. When, uh—

MARSHALL: You know approx—approximate date on that?


CLAY: That was in—

MARSHALL: Approximation

CLAY: That was in, that was in the nine—in the 40s, because, um, I guess, when I was raised, I was raised and it was, when it was turned that way. So it was—had to be in, uh, in the 40s, 43, 44, somewhere along there.

MARSHALL: During the war?

CLAY: It was during the war.


CLAY: It was during the war that it was changed.


CLAY: And, uh, they got the people that had the deeds and everything to that property


CLAY: to sign it off to Ruth Chapter and St. Andrews Lodge.


CLAY: That’s the reason it’s under two of them now.

MARSHALL: I see. Mm. Mm.

CLAY: Other than that it would have been no name, y’know.


CLAY: But, uh, the building was given to us

MARSHALL: Oh. Mm-hmm.

CLAY: by the former owners. I guess they had, um, well, well, they used to call it Good Samaritan Hall, that’s what the organization I guess,


CLAY: that belonged to it.


CLAY: And the Masons used to meet there.

MARSHALL: Oh, yeah, yeah.

CLAY: And the Eastern Stars used to meet there. But when, um, the older people 7:00died off and everything, and they got it fixed around so we could turn it around, we were going to have to—they was going to condemn the building.


CLAY: But, the funny thing about the building, the building had beams under it that big.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah?

CLAY: Uh, that old lumber.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

CLAY: and it hadn’t even [bothered] or anything else like that. And they’re still under that building.


CLAY: That’s what the building’s sitting on now.

MARSHALL: Well-cons—

CLAY: Those big, big, broad beams.

MARSHALL: It’s well-constructed.

CLAY: Mm-hmm. So that’s um, uh, the, [do] be on the, on the cornerstone down there, whatever date, I can’t remember now.

MARSHALL: Well, I can get the information from the cornerstone. Now, is the cornerstone going to show me the date it was turned around or the date it was originally built?

CLAY: That…let’s see. No, it won’t show the date it was originally 8:00built, because

MARSHALL: It’ll show—

CLAY: that [already] belonged to it.


CLAY: [was alive] to it

MARSHALL: It’ll show me the eight—1943 or whatever date that—

CLAY: Yeah, yeah, mm-hmm. I think that will show that—no, I’ll have to look at it to make sure ’cause I don’t remember if it was, whether it was the date that they got, they went into Prince Hall, or whether it’s the date that building was turned around.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

CLAY: I’ll have to go down there and look at that to see, to make sure.

MARSHALL: One of the things that interested me about that building, I have a picture of Brown Chapel before the old building was torn down, torn down. And that was around 1900.

CLAY: When the old building was torn down.

MARSHALL: Yeah. See, the church that we in now was built, was completed in 1904.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: It was started about 1901. But they had to tear the old building 9:00down, which was a frame building. And do you know, two buildings, that your building and our old church building looked very much alike?

CLAY: [laughs]


CLAY: Well, it was—[laughs]—it was an old building sitting over there.

MARSHALL: Well, that’s—it’s really, they looked, they looked very much alike.

CLAY: Those old buildings. Because I remember the kids, [that was it, care of] my dad, we lived right around the corner,


CLAY: from that, where it was now. We lived on Washington Street.


CLAY: And I remember my father and, and them going over there


CLAY: to the Hall.


CLAY: And, uh, something I’ll never forget, because, um, he was pretty well in Masonry, and uh, y’know,


CLAY: he was like that, and, uh, I guess he was, as a boy I tried to [fortress] my father

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

CLAY: [some weird]

MARSHALL: Uh, is there, and what I keep breaking in here, and the halls and 10:00anything like that, if somehow I got my hands on as many at least the recent past masters, of the local unit.

CLAY: Put your hands on them—how do you mean?

MARSHALL: Yeah. Well, I’d just like to—in gathering this information for this history of Ypsilanti, history of the people of Ypsilanti, if I had a list of the people who have been the head of the lodge.

CLAY: Oh. No, no, no, no, that wouldn’t be breaking anything, that would be something, well, I guess they would be proud of being a part of.

MARSHALL: And the other thing I’d like to ask, if possible, if available, I would like to have the number of members out of the Ypsilanti lodge, who have become thirty-second degree Masons. Can you get that?


CLAY: That would be no, uh, no problem whatsoever.

MARSHALL: Those are two things. Because, you see, doing the kind of thing I’m doing, history is dull to a lot of people,

CLAY: Yeah.

MARSHALL: But I’m trying to enliven it with names.

CLAY: But, only thing, only thing we could, uh, could do then is, uh, I just like, uh, our temple [is a crying] is in Jackson


CLAY: but the history of the thirty-second degree is in Lansing.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, mm-hmm.

CLAY: So, we’d have to get hold of secretaries

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

CLAY: of each of those houses, and um, y’know, get a list of the names.


CLAY: We can do that. Now, I think both of them live in Ypsilanti, I think both of them live in Ypsilanti.

MARSHALL: That’s interesting. [Laughs].

CLAY: Um, I mean, the secretaries


CLAY: of both of those houses


CLAY: I think, uh, live in Ypsi.



CLAY: And I think it would be quite possible, that would be quite possible, uh, to do that, you could get a list of the masters, past masters, those that are living, those that are dea—well, probably couldn’t get all of them dead now,


CLAY: because, um, some of them are so old that some of them don’t even remember.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, right.

CLAY: But, um, I think you can get a list of the living masters, um, life members, and everything else that belongs. And, what I mean, you wouldn’t be breaking anything.

MARSHALL: Well, I’m not after, I’m not after getting into any secrets,

CLAY: No. I don’t know, there wouldn’t be no secrets.

MARSHALL: But, I’m just, uh, I just want to be sure.

CLAY: They would be, they would be glad to, uh,


CLAY: to let everybody know they were—

MARSHALL: Well, see, that’s all I want to show. I want to show, and I know this, I mean, these are, this is just a matter of fact, I mean, I’m, I’m not the youngest man in the world either. But I know that, that, uh, though I have 13:00never been a Mason, now I have never been in any kind of lodge, I know some of the things that they have done.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And I know, just like churches, they have played a very important part in molding our communities into what they are now.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And I just want to recognize that, as a part of the development of Ypsilanti. [Laughs] And that [is it; that give it] something. And now, now, I’m, I’m only, uh, there’s a woman over in Ann Arbor who’s supposed to be giving me some information on the formation of the Elks, understand they organized here around 1897. And this woman is not that old, but she evidently had some information about her father, and they too played a part in this thing,

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: and, uh, so I mean, I mention them, and then of course I’m also 14:00interested in such things as the Palm Leaf Club,

CLAY: [Laughs] That’s one of the oldies.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: I had a great-aunt who belonged in the Palm Leaf Club.

MARSHALL: Who was that?

CLAY: Mary Jones.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it, I got the national history of the Palm Leaf Club, from my wife [ ] but, um, the Palm Leaf Club is one, and then of course that one time they had the, the Junior Palm Leaf Club,

CLAY: Yeah.

MARSHALL: I found out something from Ms. Bass about them. And, uh, then they had helped an awful lot of people get scholarships.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: That’s been a big contribution. But, uh, this is all, all kinds of things that have gone on in the community, I, as I have asked people questions about my, what did people do for recreation, what did people do, a lot of different things. I learned yesterday about a guy who, who [ordered] his wife, why, uh, he, he, he, he, he went and got a sleigh, [for one whole day] and went 15:00over to his wife’s, his girlfriend’s house, and the sleigh [had a force to him and] this guy [ ] seemed reliable. But he, he said he, he thought his wi—his girlfriend would enjoy and he said he [heat stuff, got to,] got the wagon, I mean the sleigh and the, and the horse, and he went over to pick up the girl and says her parents is [nearly crying him] and he said he always felt so bad because he thought he was doing something nice, and they laughed at him. And so when she came here and I said, hey, by the way, what do you think about this man when he came and picked you up in that sleigh? I thought it was the nicest thing and it [just that we] really interesting, and it was her idea, [could he please show up here]. She said, but my parents just, they thought I was [laughs]


CLAY: When I was a kid, we used to have those around here.


CLAY: And, um, I mean, um, when the snow fell, the bobsled and everything, was just up and down the streets and, [we, uh] as a kid I enjoyed myself, y’know, here, [a, uh], there was different things to do now, just like, uh, a lot of the things that, uh, I can remember as a child uh, in Ypsi, that mainly went on because um, things they weren't like they are today, people, y’know, they were at home together all the time, there wasn’t no anyplace else to go


CLAY: I mean, there wasn’t anything doing, so I mean, you would stay at home and enjoy your family, and things like that.


CLAY: And, um, I always, for some reason or other, I always admired my father, 17:00for, uh—-

MARSHALL: Was his name Sam Jones?

CLAY: No, his name was Paul.

MARSHALL: Oh, that’s where [I go]

CLAY: Paul Ison.

MARSHALL: Oh, Paul Isley.

CLAY: His name was Paul Ison Clay.


CLAY: Mm-hmm. Ison.


CLAY: Mm-hmm. And my brother under me, my brother next to me, he has his middle name, his names is James Ison.

MARSHALL: Oh, I see.

CLAY: See, but my name is William Paul.

MARSHALL: I see, yeah.

CLAY: And I was named after his dad, my grand—my mother’s dad, and him.

MARSHALL: Oh [laughs]

CLAY: Both of my grandfathers’ names were William.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, uh-huh.

CLAY: And, uh, he give me his middle name at the time uh, we were, we were, my parents were living in Pontiac. My dad used to come all the way to Ypsi to work. So he couldn’t get home only on the weekends, he’d come here in Ypsi and work,


CLAY: and then he would come back to Pontiac on the weekends. But I was born on a Tuesday.

MARSHALL: Oh, boy [laughs]


CLAY: So when he got back, my mother had already named me, and the doctor had my birth certificate made up, and everything else, like. [Laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: I guess it didn’t sit up with him too well.


CLAY: Being the oldest boy and everything like that, being, well, named after his dad, my mother’s dad, and him.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: But, um,

MARSHALL: When were you born, by the way?


MARSHALL: When were you born?

CLAY: December 12th, 1916.

MARSHALL: December 12th.

CLAY: 1916.

MARSHALL: My wife’s is September 12th, 1916.

CLAY: Yeah?

MARSHALL: [Laughs] Septem, September 12th, 1916. What was your mother’s name?

CLAY: Uh, Virginia Scott.

MARSHALL: Virginia Scott.

CLAY: Virginia Scott. They were from out of Canada.

MARSHALL: Oh, I was, that was my next question, they came out of Canada.

CLAY: Uh, they, I don’t know how my dad met her, because he was born in Indiana.


MARSHALL: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

CLAY: But anyhow, He was up in Canada I guess, he went to Canada because my grandfather was operating a logging camp in Canada. And, uh, he was a brick mason.


CLAY: So he moved, there was more money in that, so he moved his family from Canada down to Pontiac. He was a brick mason and, uh, well, he was making good money then.


CLAY: But my dad, his parents, now his mother, my grandmother, she was from Dublin, Ireland.

MARSHALL: Oh, mm-hmm.

CLAY: His, uh, father’s mother.


CLAY: And her father owned a tug of fleet boats on the Mississippi River.


CLAY: He told us about that. And, he uh, I guess he, other than that, he 20:00acquired his eyes from her, ’cause he had the prettiest blue eyes you ever seen.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: And, uh, but um, that was the way those things happened,


CLAY: Mm-hmm. [back in the day]. And I, I never could understand why, why people make such a difference, or why they try to make such a difference, because if they go back there might be some skeletons in their closet.

MARSHALL: Yeah, I’ve heard, I’ve picked up some rumors about people around here. Now, I, [well I had those]

CLAY: So, uh, I mean, just, I could never understand why the people can’t get along with people and forget everything else, and just live with people.

MARSHALL: Well, there of course is the history. Part of it is that. Now, you, you knew already that slavery was not new.


CLAY: [ ]

MARSHALL: When they brought it to the United States, it wasn’t new.

CLAY: Well, there’ve been slaves ever since the world was—

MARSHALL: Right. We had slaves in the Bible. But you never had the vicious slavery anywhere that you had in the United States. It was the most vicious, the most degrading type of slavery that ever existed. And it was a kind of slavery in which they…it was planned in such a way that they would destroy whatever past we had. We were, they, they planned it so, that we would not know anything, that we would gradually lose all knowledge of our ancestry, of our own country, [you most red mother metal never going under]. We, we were cut away from 22:00everything that we had, and not, and and then, not only that, but they then taught us, systematically, to hate our own background. And right now, we at the most difficult part [well you ever get that age] one of the most difficult things in the world—turn that thing around, so that black people [can be proud] of their own heritage. So many of us aren’t. And there are still people around who they are ashamed of their background. And that’s what this kind of slavery has brought to us. And we’re just now trying to go back, and in that going back sometimes we just [right] in front. We try to go back, and pick it up, and be proud. [Off I’m saying] our parents had a tough time because they 23:00were at, at home, they were telling us to be proud of ourselves. My mother used to say, “You’re, you’re, y—you’re a man, you’re just as good as anybody else.” And she was trying to drill that into me. And yet, when I’d go out on the street, I’d have to—if I went to the white man’s house, I had to go into the back door. If I went to work for them, I had to take less money. If he wanted to bawl me out, or knock me down, push me off the sidewalk, or spit in my face, he could do it. If I, if I lived in the South, down the street corner was a sign [who’s your back] for everything. Designed to degrade us. And yet, [in winning this] our parents were able to overcome all that and 24:00make us feel proud as men. And you know, and they didn’t have many [choices], neither. My mother had about a third-grade education, and yet she [would make that play]. And I, I, I tell you, I, I, I often say, that I’ve known a lot of smart people, I’ve known people who have lots of education, I’ve known people who have [guilty institution in their backyard, couldn’t be] people like that, but I have never yet really known a woman who was smarter than my mother. [laughs]

CLAY: No, not with those ideas that you had.

MARSHALL: No. No. Never. Now, I, I didn’t, you notice I didn’t say smarter,

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: I said I, I, I’m not saying my mother was smarter than they were.


MARSHALL: But my mother was just as smart in her way.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: as they are.

CLAY: Old enough to—

MARSHALL: And I—and she’s not doing no more.

CLAY: Enough to help you.

MARSHALL: Yeah. She’s not doing no more. Because I’m not the only one 25:00that’s, that, that, that has, y’know, that [many who has] do something,

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: then lots of people.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: have that same kind of pride. But I came up proud, standing tall. And I was taught that when white folk, white folk do these things to you, they do them out of ignorance. They’re the ones who are ignorant, not you.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: My mom used to tell me, I’d come home crying, y’know, sometimes, [ ] white folks [ ] end up [ ] feel ten feet tall, [ ] special kind of [ ] [laughs] And see, I grew up in, well, Oklahoma, until I was 14 and went to Missouri, and, uh, well, I finished college in Missouri, and that’s when I really started [passing out]. But you see, all those freedom rights, I keep in 26:00mind these young folks, all those freedoms that they’re knowing now, didn’t come until after the fifties [laughs]. That really didn’t come until Martin Luther King [laughs].

CLAY: And they’re not protecting it a little bit, [some of them]


CLAY: Some of them are making it worse. And, um, I mean, you can’t tell. Now, I, I can, uh, I mean as I say now, I, in this town, I grew up in this town, I never knew some of the things that, y’know,


CLAY: kids that, y’know, come out of the South or something


CLAY: like that said they had to do.


CLAY: I haven’t had to go through

MARSHALL: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

CLAY: those kinds of things. Because, at the time, before the war, Ypsi was a small town, there wasn’t too many people here, and, uh, you went where you want, [good, good], then we get, uh, the growing pains, as they say for a lot of 27:00towns, they get the growing pains, people come in, white and black, I don’t care who they are, they’re not what, well, and they make things bad for everybody. [spend their cart] y’know, changing things around. And that—and I can say that the war did that to Ypsi.


CLAY: And, uh, I don’t know, it’s, it’s a hard thing to understand why, and just like I tell these kids today [CLOCK CHIMES] you lay out here, you don’t want to learn anything, you don’t want to do this, you don’t want to do that,


CLAY: Who do you think’s going to take care of you? If you don’t want to learn anything, you don’t want to get, you don’t want a job, you don’t want to work,


CLAY: Who’s supposed—so-and-so’s supposed—I’ve seen these kids, down here, here in, oh, I guess it’s been five or six years ago, I guess, when they 28:00had that first, um, black football they had, down there at the—

MARSHALL: Down in the park?

CLAY: Down in the park, yeah.


CLAY: All right, here’s a man out of Alabama, he’s got three hundred years of pressure on him, he ain’t lived three hundred years, how’s he going to have three hundred years of pressure—you don’t even know what it’s all about.

MARSHALL: [Laughs] That’s what [it]—

CLAY: But he wants something for nothing.


CLAY: And if, if you give it to him, what is he going to do with it, after he gets it?

MARSHALL: That’s true. [ ] at least [ ] south side of Ypsi. [ ] talk to 29:00these young people [ ] Now when I was a teenager, the kind of jobs that I got [ ] washing dishes, [swinging an arm], or maybe busting [breeches], but that’s the kind of work I had. But that wasn’t to be my lifetime [work]. That was just to get me, get me to the next step. [Laughs] But these kids don’t want to even do that. They want [mood] from nothing. Way up to the top!

CLAY: And he don’t know what he’s doing when he gets there.

MARSHALL: That’s right! I, I, I don’t know [something, buddy, you want to 30:00tell me] kids, kids see me, y’know, and they, and they, they think [ ] they figure, [well, he’s a] big man, big man but they don’t even stop and think that how long to get that. So then I tell them. When I came here, I had never [been confused] ’cause all my life, I had lived black, I had slept black, I’ve been black. All my [sisters] were black. So I’ve thought black and lived black. And then suddenly, uh, at the, at the time I came here, I was working [ ] I had a budget to run my operation [ ] a total of nine people, which includes my secretary. And [ ] add those, add those to me. I had two 31:00[children], and that was my total operation. Hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. The first [bee] I had, when I came here in 1969, I had a budget of almost two million dollars.

CLAY: [ ]

MARSHALL: I had a staff of ninety-five people. And in my office, I didn’t have one secretary. I had two secretaries. That was when I came here. Now, now, uh, they see me in this thing and they figure “Oh, he, he, he got it made.” I was struggling inside, wondering if I was adequate, wondering if I, [I was] calling on everything I’d ever learned in my life to apply to this situation. Recognizing all the time, and, and always remembering that that guy on the other 32:00side of that table would see [me] black [convenient] smiling [ ] But when he looks at you, he doesn’t see what you see. You are looking at his face and seeing a white man. He’s looking at you and seeing a black face. And if he’s been oriented that way, he hates you because you are where you are. You are better than him, and he doesn’t like it. And the first chance he gets to cut your throat, he’s going to do it. Now all the [weather] I come together with my staff, and when I got there I think there were about three or four blacks on the staff. Out o f that [large number] I think there was three or four blacks. And I’d have a staff meeting. [ ] all these white folks [ ]. When they look at me, they’re seeing someone black. But when I’m looking at them, 33:00it’s easy for me to forget that I’m black ’cause I’m seeing white, and I’m saying, “Oh, I’m just one of them.”

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And t’ain’t so. It still ain’t so. [Laughs]


MARSHALL: It is—it’s just—now, it doesn’t mean that you dwell on it.


MARSHALL: But it’s just one of those things I think you got to remember. You got to remember and never forget. This is a [that more closer], [force that] [ ]. [But he didn’t,] he married a white woman. [Laughs]

CLAY: Well, here’s the thing about it. Just like I’ve, y’know, my son, now, he’s, he’s been a councilman,


CLAY: and, uh, well, of course, he’s [the board] at the state now,


CLAY: But, um, there’s only one thing you can’t forget. You don’t never forget it. ’Cause that white man is there.


CLAY: Now, you got to fight him.

MARSHALL: Yeah. I know.

CLAY: But you got to fight your own along with him.

MARSHALL: That’s right.

CLAY: You got a double battle.

MARSHALL: [Yep, just getting] talking about [jobs].


CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [but when the winter does].

CLAY: You got a double battle.

MARSHALL: You got—not only got the white folks fight, you [come in and] going to fight these blacks. [laughs]

CLAY: Mm-hmm. [Tell me], that’s what makes the battle so hard for black men.

MARSHALL: Well, one thing [about it] it’s not as bad now. [Laughs]

CLAY: No no no no, long ways gone. [You can put in that] and I’ll tell you that, it’s been a long—it’s, it’s, I hope it gets better.

MARSHALL: I think [ ].

CLAY: But sometimes, I look out there and I see…y’know.

MARSHALL: Look kind of hopeless, isn’t it?

CLAY: Look kind of dark. It looks like it might be a losing battle, but I mean, you can’t, you can’t let it go that way, because you still got to fight, I don’t care what had happened, what happens. And, as I read in the paper today, now, they predict in another twenty years Hispanics will be the majority of, uh, non-whites in the country. And, um, so, so, I mean, you’re 35:00going to have to get along with, you have to get along with everybody.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

CLAY: They all making up this population we got, whether they’re Chinese, Japs, or whatever they are, and um, I can always look back and say this, in the [having] [ ] I can al—uh, during World War Two, soon as Japan got in the war, put them all in those concentration camps, they was concentration camps, I don’t care what you call them,

MARSHALL: That’s what they were.

CLAY: They didn’t have the ovens and everything else like that, but they didn’t put them Germans in there.

MARSHALL: Sure didn’t. Sure didn’t. [ ] Japanese and [ ] Koreans up there. [ ]

CLAY: So the best thing you can do is I mean, try to educate them. Better to make them learn something. You can’t take nothing out here if you don’t know anything.


MARSHALL: [ ] Most of those people awfully nice. Most of them are. [ ] the machines up, to those computers? And make [barriers a nation]. Those, those, those, uh, make those [call].

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And I can understand why they’re saying that [ ] five hundred thousand men. And still give them all [making car]. And it’s all because of technology and how fast [ ] five hundred thousand people. You [go without] work, [ ] you got to know how to do something else, and then that will be a 37:00little bit more technical than our generation. You got to grow with the times. And that means that your and my children and grandchildren are going to have to know how to do a little bit more than drive a nail, or put in a screw. But they’re going to have to know how to figure where every nail goes, [laughs] and how to feed it into the computer, and then let the computer do it.

CLAY: That’s all, that’s the only thing I can, y’know, kind of pride myself on, [remember] when [Ennis], after, after he graduate from high school, he went into the service,


CLAY: So he could write me all this, y’know,


CLAY: we’d write back and forth, everything, and I’d say, “Well, now, you’re in the service, try to get you some classes, in there, to do something.”

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

CLAY: And so he finally got some classes at Boston Institution, up there,


CLAY: and, uh, but, they wouldn’t work. They’d come back to town here [and 38:00I’d say] now, when you get out of the service, I said, I don’t need no dummies out here.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: I say, You got your G.I. Bill—go to school. Learn something.

MARSHALL: That they can’t take away.

CLAY: No. So he went on, and, um, ’course, I just, they helped him [wind up with the garden], getting the day, and, um, because as I say, there’s, they don’t going to—they don’t need no dummies.

MARSHALL: No, they don’t. [Nobody does].

CLAY: [And he got a rose blossom] can do better than that.

MARSHALL: That’s right. That’s right. And they don’t get tired.

CLAY: Uh-uh. Just keep going on working.

MARSHALL: They don’t have to stop and use the bathroom. [Laughs]

CLAY: Just keep right on working.

MARSHALL: Just keep right on working. They don’t have to give them fifteen minutes to go to the bathroom, or take a lunch break. Don’t have to do any of that. [Laughs]

CLAY: [You could have fooled them but] you can’t…the kids that drop out of schools today, just drop out, drop out, drop out,


CLAY: ’cause they smoking pot, whatever they doing,


MARSHALL: Right, right.

CLAY: And I seen [what can do about the] biggest, biggest thing they ever, they ever going for them now, and, um, did you say something [close] to them?

MARSHALL: This is true.

CLAY: They don’t want to hear nothing about that.

MARSHALL: [In force].

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: One day they might wake up, though.


CLAY: I hope they wake up before it’s too late.

MARSHALL: Well, listen. If you would, you could do me a favor, you would do me a favor, Mr. Clay,


CLAY: [ ] I might [read something about it], [ ] the man used to be postmaster, before, um, [Ty] got in there.


CLAY: [Was just] Dawson. Uh, Martin Dawson. Now, there was something about him, somewhere, but there’s people in this town,



CLAY: Dawson family, they were old,


CLAY: they were old, because [something] about what he did


CLAY: for blacks in this town,


CLAY: [what the] people did.


CLAY: [ ] Um, there’s one thing I can say, is, um, I guess we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for whites being, some of them being, [ ] and not believing in, y’know,

MARSHALL: Well, we were at their mercy.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: We were really at their mercy in those early days. Like some [two um spiller]. [Laughs]

CLAY: [Laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs] Well, Jo—John Barfield says, yeah, well, some of them pretty good, financially. He says, well, you know, [somehow I ever let] myself get here? He says, [the minute Jones more] wants to pull the rug out from under 41:00me they’d do it. And he’s black. [Laughs] He just happened to like him.

CLAY: [And he’s just, he’s just], um, I mean that’s, uh, that’s one of those things, everybody ain’t like people think they are.

MARSHALL: That’s right. And they can change hands.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [ ] [Joe Morris], and he can decide who this guy thinks he is, and pull the rug out from under him, and he’d go—[laughs] But he’s quite aware of that.

CLAY: Oh yeah.

MARSHALL: He’s quite aware of that.

CLAY: [And I got nay,] I mean there’s, there’s a bunch that don’t know John.

MARSHALL: I know it. I know it. I know it. He’s successful.

CLAY: Yeah.

MARSHALL: He’s successful.

CLAY: And I’ve been knowing Johnny ever, ever since he was a kid.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

CLAY: Lot younger than I am.


CLAY: I been knowing him [CLOCK CHIMES] ever since he was a kid.


CLAY: And, uh, he’s always been the same.

MARSHALL: Yeah. No, there’s always going to be people who don’t like him. [ 42:00] Maybe not when I, um, when I came up [to] attend my high school, there were people who, were just determined that I would be going to college. And they did everything they could to get me [ ]. [And I remember trying my, trying] analysis I signed up in the administrator’s office, [he called the] president of the [ ] institution, he said, I got a boy here who wants to go to college but doesn’t have any money at all. He doesn’t have any money at all? He doesn’t have any money at all. He says, well, he says, uh, I’ll tell you what we can give him. And what—no, he said, what can he do? And my counselor said, well, he’s been working in the library for four years here in the high school. He said, I’ll tell you what, said, I’ll give him a job working in the library, and we can give him his room and board. Well, that’s the biggest 43:00thing you’ve got at college, room and board [laughs].

CLAY: That’s about the biggest thing today [laughs].

MARSHALL: That’s right. That’s right. Three squares, and a place to lay your head, there’s nothing else. Well, anyway, um, they uh, they uh, [ ] call somebody else, pretty soon they got enough, enough money, my [checks] passed the hat, took up a little collection for me, next thing you knew, I was heading for college. Well, to make a long story short, [ ] about you [ ] my brother and sister. My sister [ ] my brother started but never finished. [ ] heartbreaking, but that’s [ ]. My wife and I, [ ] have a family of our 44:00own. My sister [ ] her child. [Laughs] [ ] nephew now, [ ] in Georgia. [ ]


CLAY: Well, I mean, those things, if you mean well, good things will come to you.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Yeah. I always said, [ ] Mr. Clay,

CLAY: Can’t be [ ]

MARSHALL: [ ] woman [ ] woman.


CLAY: Somebody pick you up, [someone] pick you up.

MARSHALL: [ ] at times [ ] sometimes [ ] [laughs] But he really has. I’m, I’m so, I’m thankful. [ ] [Laughs] I was just an old country boy. [Laughs] My father died when I was 10. It was just my mother. [ ] my father 47:00[was a county] sharecropper. [ ] sharecropper.

CLAY: Well, he played a big part.



CLAY: Well, now,

MARSHALL: If you do that for me, Mr. [ ]

CLAY: Well, you know, [you know] in no big hurry,

MARSHALL: No, no no no no no no. My research, my research goes up until the end of September. Uh, anything that I gather, if I get [ ] some of these pictures, now, these pictures that I was talking about, what I’d like to do with the pictures that I borrow, I would copy,

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: and give them back to you. In other words, I don’t want to [use] your pictures. I’d like to make a copy of that, and [ ]

CLAY: Well, I’m going to have to see if I can y’know, any pictures that I can [ ] up on,


CLAY: Uh, [remember] there’s more of them, y’know.

MARSHALL: Well, that’s [what you do on the little guy] [laughs]

CLAY: OK. In case anyone else takes some, or something like that.


CLAY: Um. [ ] pictures. Now, every, I guess every Fourth of July [ ] and, 49:00um, American Legion, and, uh, these guys have had these bands,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

CLAY: They [did] something down at the park years ago, hot dogs and ice cream and stuff for the kids, y’know, give them away to them.

MARSHALL: [ ] picture like that. Yeah. [ ]

CLAY: and um,

MARSHALL: That’s activity.


MARSHALL: That’s showing what you’re doing.

CLAY: Something that, uh,

MARSHALL: [Do you hear, do you ever hear any country fastest?]


MARSHALL: You may not have pictures of that now.

CLAY: No, no. We haven’t so far.


CLAY: Now, usually, no, [ ] usually they would come with, um, that Shrine. Shriners guild. [Parents or clowns] and stuff like that. They have, um, more or less a bigger affair,


CLAY: because it takes in more cities.


CLAY: and things like that. [ ] local [ ]. Um, as I was saying I’m 50:00pretty rusty on some things, working like I’m working now, I haven’t been able to [tend my garden] like I’d like to.


CLAY: You’re getting four o’clock in the morning, it’s kind of rough. [Laughs] And, uh, I have no intention of retiring anywhere soon, [y’know] I keep going, I mean, [partly] the way prices are going, I guess I can’t afford to retire.


CLAY: And, uh,

MARSHALL: I retired in, I retired in, last summer. [ ] But my taxes going up too. Because the valuation of the property is going up. But my income didn’t go up. [Laughs]

CLAY: [Laughs] That sounds [ ] I mean, the way things are going like that, 51:00they just going to, I mean, people don’t know what they going to [assume]. [ ] They got to put an end to it someway. Just like they say on the [ ] contracts and everything, don’t ask for more wages.


CLAY: But they don’t stop that man raising prices out there.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

CLAY: They don’t give you any more money, but they let him go on and keep raising prices. I see where the water’s going to go up again March the 1st.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. [ ] groceries going up. Everything’s going up.

CLAY: But they don’t, they never try to keep nothing in line with a man’s income.

MARSHALL: Nope. [Laughs]

CLAY: And, I mean…got to get those benefits [from] people retiring, well, they ain’t, they aren’t getting anything, no incentives going [to] retire. 52:00Making new jobs—how they going to [make] a new job when a man can’t live on what he’s making?

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah [laughs]

CLAY: And [those he] retired, his income drops.


CLAY: Ah, it’s something else, I don’t know what. Well, we’ll see what the cowboy does, [as they call him] [laughs]


CLAY: [ ] bad things. Only one thing I can say is, the man who might have stabilized everything, they killed him.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right, yeah.

CLAY: Might have been something, maybe he was before his time.

MARSHALL: Well, I’m [ ]. this country has gone through a lot of ups and downs. But every time there comes a crisis, it’s like there’s something happens that suddenly [ ]


CLAY: Yeah.

MARSHALL: And there’s still a God in heaven. [Laughs]

CLAY: He looked out after this country,

MARSHALL: That’s right.

CLAY: [ ] I guess there must be two hundred good people here.

MARSHALL: That’s right. That’s something. [ ] same thing [ ] He sees the same thing [ ]. Whenever he is right, [ ]

CLAY: [ ] they never had something [tell] like they have anywhere else in the world.

MARSHALL: That’s right. [ ] [And that’s a lot of pain]. You think we’re bad off, look at some of them. [Laughs]

CLAY: And, uh, it ain’t race riots, either.


CLAY: That’s the thing about it.


CLAY: They fighting each other.

MARSHALL: That’s right.

CLAY: Still we seem to come out on top somehow. Might have [good luck] till now, [ ]. It gets straightened out some kind of way.



CLAY: So I guess, [every], so [that] this is my country, or something.

MARSHALL: [ ] as bad as it is,

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [ ] and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, if you look at Africa, if you look at Africa’s background, [ ] they ain’t as free, they, they not as free as we are. [Laughs]

CLAY: They fighting among themselves.

MARSHALL: That’s right. They kill themselves [all]…ah, shoot.

CLAY: I don’t know. I’ll stay [more], I’ll stay here. [ ]

MARSHALL: [ ] Yes, sir.

CLAY: Not going anywhere.

MARSHALL: I ain’t going nowhere. Well, I do appreciate you coming over.

CLAY: OK. And, uh,

MARSHALL: [Looking out for me].

CLAY: I’m going to get what I can for you, all the information I can get,


CLAY: [ ]


MARSHALL: [ ] come up there, come up there, [ ] And, and, I’m gonna send 56:00you a copy.


MARSHALL: [laughs] OK, all right.



0:00 - Memories of Ypsilanti's Prince Hall Masonic Lodge

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: and to find exact dates. Now I know it’s, I know it’s general. See, I know

CLAY:[you got the first hand row]

MARSHALL: about Prince Hall.

CLAY: [you came up]

MARSHALL: Yeah, I know about, I know about Prince Hall.

CLAY: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And I know about his establishment of the lodge, and how all that came about. But the, the one I’m really concerned about is the

CLAY: Well, this one…I would have to…now there’s two men. I don’t know whether they would know or not, they’ve been here and they were in the lodge, uh, before I came. John Bannon

Segment Synopsis: A.P. Marshall and Mr. Clay discuss the long history of Ypsilanti's Prince Hall Masons and Mr. Clay's memories of his father Paul Clay's Masonic activities and the hall on South Adams Street. This segment ends with a short discussion of some of the other clubs in the city.

Keywords: A.P. Marshall; African-American Masons; African-American social organizations; Arthur Carter; Brown Chapel AME; Buffalo St; Elks; Emerson "Dutch" Clay; Isaac Burdine; John Bannon; John Reed; Junior Palm Leaf Club; Mary Jones; Palm Leaf Club; Paul Clay; Prince Hall Masonic lodges; Ruth Lodge; South Adams Street; South Washington St; St. Andrews Lodge #7; Viola Carter; Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti Commercial

Subjects: African American freemasons. African American freemasonry. African Americans--Social life and customs.

Hyperlink: 1949 photo of Ypsilanti's Prince Hall Masonic Lodge, formerly the Good Samaritan Hall, after it was moved to face east-west.

16:05 - Family history and childhood memories

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Partial Transcript: CLAY: When I was a kid, we used to have those around here.


CLAY: And, um, I mean, um, when the snow fell, the bobsled and everything, was just up and down the streets and, [we, uh] as a kid I enjoyed myself, y’know, here, [a, uh], there was different things to do now, just like, uh, a lot of the things that, uh, I can remember as a child uh, in Ypsi, that mainly went on because um, things they weren't like they are today, people, y’know, they were at home together all the time, there wasn’t no anyplace else to go


CLAY: I mean, there wasn’t anything doing, so I mean, you would stay at home and enjoy your family, and things like that.


CLAY: And, um, I always, for some reason or other, I always admired my father, for, uh—

Segment Synopsis: Mr. Clay discusses his father Paul, how he got his name and the some of the Clay family history.

Keywords: Canada; James Ison Clay; Paul Ison Clay; Pontiac, Michigan; Virginia Scott; Wabash, Indiana; William Paul Clay Jr.; Ypsilanti

Subjects: African American families.

Hyperlink: Photo of Paul Clay Sr. and children, possibly including Paul Clay Jr.

20:45 - Discussion on American history and race

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Partial Transcript: CLAY: So, uh, I mean, just, I could never understand why the people can’t get along with people and forget everything else, and just live with people.

MARSHALL: Well, there of course is the history. Part of it is that. Now, you, you knew already that slavery was not new.

CLAY: [ ]

MARSHALL: When they brought it to the United States, it wasn’t new.

CLAY: Well, there’ve been slaves ever since the world was—

Segment Synopsis: A.P. Marshal and Mr. Clay have a long discussion over the history of race in America and some of their own experiences. Mr. Clay talks about the changes he saw in Ypsilanti and they also exchange thoughts on the generational differences then underway.

Keywords: A.P. Marshall; Civil Rights movement; Martin Luther King Jr.; racial slavery; racism; segregation; slavery; United States racial history; World War Two in Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: Slavery--United States--History. World War, 1939-1945. Civil rights movements--United States--History--20th century. Intergenerational relations.

Hyperlink: March 4, 1989 Ann Arbor News article on the historical work of A.P. Marshall.

37:32 - The importance of education

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Partial Transcript: CLAY: That’s all, that’s the only thing I can, y’know, kind of pride myself on, [remember] when, after, after he graduate from high school, he went into the service,


CLAY: So he could write me all this, y’know,


Segment Synopsis: A.P. Marshall and Mr. Clay conclude their discussion of the generational differences talking about the importance of education in the career of William Clay Jr., Mr. Clay's son.

Keywords: Black education; Boston Institution; G.I. Bill; William Paul Clay Jr.; Ypsilanti City Council

Subjects: African Americans--Education--History--20th century. Intergenerational relations.

39:48 - A.P. Marshall's history and Mr. Clay's photos

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CLAY: [ ] I might [read something about it], [ ] the man used to be postmaster, before, um, [Ty] got in there.


CLAY: [Was just] Dawson. Uh, Martin Dawson. Now, there was something about him, somewhere, but there’s people in this town,

Segment Synopsis: The audio in this segment is light and hard to hear. In it, A.P. Marshall relates some of his family history and education to Mr. Clay. They discuss several pictures Mr. Clay has shown to him and make future plans for research.

Keywords: A.P. Marshall; American Legion; John Barfield; Martin Dawson

Subjects: African Americans--Education--History--20th century. African American families.

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