MARSHALL: Gonna start off with, I’d like you to tell me, um, full name, including your maiden name.

COOK: Ha ha ha. My name is Emroy, spelled E-M-R-O-Y,


COOK: Lois is my middle name, and my mai—maiden name was Woods.


COOK: And my married name is Cook.

MARSHALL: Cook. Um, woul—would you mind telling me when were you born?

COOK: I was born in 1929.


COOK: July 15.

MARSHALL: July 15, 1929. See, I think my high school, no, can’t [unintelligible] school [laughter] Now, were you born here?

COOK: No, I was born in Birm—in Al—in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

MARSHALL: Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

COOK: Yup. In the country life.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. And how many children were in your family?

COOK: Six.


COOK: Yeah. I’m the third.

MARSHALL: You’re the third.

COOK: Third from the oldest.

MARSHALL: Who’s the oldest?

COOK: Fred Woods is the ol—Fred is the oldest.

MARSHALL: That’s Fred at the, at the barber shop.

COOK: Right, right.


COOK: And I have a sister…

MARSHALL: Do you know Fred’s birthday?

COOK: Ah, first of June, 1925.


MARSHALL: 1925, okay. And who came after Fred?

COOK: Ah, Leevonia.

MARSHALL: Spell that.



COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: What is her married name?

COOK: Her married name is Markham. M-A-R-K-H-A-M.

MARSHALL: Does she live here, or elsewhere?

COOK: She lives in, in Ann Arbor.

MARSHALL: In Ann Arbor, OK. Now. And then you were third.

COOK: I am third.

MARSHALL: Who was fourth?

COOK: Ah, fourth was Sarah Bell.

MARSHALL: Sara Bell.



COOK: Bell,


COOK: and she’s a Porter.

MARSHALL: Do you spell Bell with an e?

COOK: Mm-hmm.


COOK: No, B-E-L-L.

MARSHALL: B-E-L-L. And she is married to a Porter.

COOK: Porter, mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [Was she]

COOK: She live in Inkster.

MARSHALL: In Inkster.

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: [And you found her mare].

COOK: Named Earlie, E-A-R-L-I-E.

MARSHALL: Oh! That’s uh, that’s—

COOK: Earlie Mae.

MARSHALL: That’s, uh, that’s Earlie Mae.

COOK: Uh-huh. And she’s a Woods, and she’s still a Woods.

MARSHALL: Doesn’t she live here?

COOK: She live in Ann Arbor.


MARSHALL: In the, Ann Arbor. Um,

COOK: And then John. John A., just like Reverend Chuck Woods.


COOK: And, uh, he live in Columbus.

MARSHALL: Columbus, Ohio.

COOK: Uh-huh. [coughs]

MARSHALL: Now, uh, uh, I guess the thing that I fell off on, I was thinking when you said earlier, that’s interesting because my father was an Earlie,


MARSHALL: but spelled with a y.

COOK: Oh. Well, when we first, when she, when, at first, we spell it with a y.


COOK: But then, y’know, as you get modern, y’know,

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

COOK: As time go on, you change the spelling. So uh, we, changed it to Earlie.

MARSHALL: Well, incidentally, incidentally, uh, uh, some time ago, I found uh, quite a few people during that particular time, and my father was born around eighteen-eighty-something, eighteen-ninety-something, I guess. eighteen-eighty, nine—I don’t know when, but I know when he died, in 1924. He was 33 years old. So eighteen-ninety-something. But anyway, um, I found quite a few people 3:00named Early, [and when I left]

COOK: From they, from they

MARSHALL: From that period.

COOK: Yeah, yeah

MARSHALL: And I, eh, eh, just like James and Albert and other names,

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: I could see the Earlie Mae. [laughs]

COOK: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. She, uh, she didn’t like the spelling so she changed it.


COOK: It’s kind of hard to spell, just like mine. I never use my first name.


COOK: Because it—peoples always spell it wrong.

MARSHALL: Oh, that’s right,

COOK: It’s kind of hard to, yeah

MARSHALL: people like me always get in there and dig and I know what it is and [unintelligible]

COOK: Yeah. E-M-O-R-Y-E-N, E-M-O-Y,

MARSHALL: It’s distinguished, it’s a distinguished name.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: Distinguishes you from other people.

COOK: Yes.

MARSHALL: Not many people named Emory, though.

COOK: No, no, so I don’t—and it’s hard to remember, uh, so, my doctor, and my dad used to call me when he got mad, when

MARSHALL: Call you Emory? Emory Lois?

COOK: Yeah. My mother do, no called me, say Emory


COOK: And my grandmother just called me Emory, when I was doing something that I had no business doing.

MARSHALL: Oh, [laughs].


MARSHALL: Now, let me see, um, now the thing that I got off on as you was relating and I was forgetting to ask you the birthdates, particularly of those 4:00that live in this area.

COOK: Ah, let’s see, Leevonia

MARSHALL: You gave me the first one.

COOK: Fred. Leevonia was, is Oc—October the 17, 27. Uh, Sara is July the 8th, mm, 31, and Earlie is February the 9th, 33, and John is March the 24th, I think, 35.

MARSHALL: You’ve been good [laughs].

COOK: Yeah. [What type of] my kids! Sometime I forget.

MARSHALL: OK, now, you of course married the Cook. What’s Cook’s first name?

COOK: Joseph.

MARSHALL: Joseph Cook. And you have how many children?


COOK: I have nine.

MARSHALL: You have nine children.

COOK: Mm-hmm.


COOK: I have eight boys and one girl.

MARSHALL: Eight boys and one girl. Let’s start off with the first one and see if you can name those with their, with their, um,


MARSHALL: with their birthdays.

COOK: First one, first one’s name is Joseph Cook, Jr., Joseph E.,

MARSHALL: Joseph E. Cook Jr.

COOK: And his birthday is Decem—uh, no, November the 23rd, 1950, and then there’s Darlene, Cook, and she’s a West,

MARSHALL: She’s a West now, OK

COOK: and hers is the 7th of November, 51.


COOK: And then there’s Thomas Eugene, who was named Dr. Bass name,


COOK: And his is born November the 1st, 1953, in 53, and then Clyde Lowell, who 6:00is November the 14th, 1954, and then there’s Lucious Martin,


COOK: O, I-O-U-S, and we dropped the Lucious, and ’cause it, he’s re—he’s retarded, so we dropped the Lucious and he just use Martin, and he was born January 22nd, uh, 56, and then there’s Dean Sherman, he was born, let’s see, July the 5th, um, 48, 1948, no, 58,


COOK: 58. And then there—there’s Alvin Blake, and his is October the, the 7:0020th, 1959. And then there’s Harold, you—Harold Ren, who is


COOK: No, R-E-N.


COOK: Yeah, yeah. And his is September the 18th, 1960, and then there’s Terry Leon who is Jan—January the 15th, 1950—63. And that’s nine.

MARSHALL: That’s the last one.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: Now, how many, just, just for the, just for the record, how many grandchildren do you have?

COOK: I have seven.

MARSHALL: Seven grandchildren.

COOK: I have five, let’s see, five, six, five boys and two girls.

MARSHALL: Two [unintelligible]

COOK: And the first one was a girl and the last one was a girl.


MARSHALL: Two [unintelligible]

COOK: And all in between is, is boys.

MARSHALL: OK. Now, let’s back up once more and just I’m getting this for the record [neemer]. Your father’s name?

COOK: Sam Jack Woods.

MARSHALL: Sam Jack Woods.

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: And he married your mother who was

COOK: Ethel Lee Collier.




COOK: Collier.

MARSHALL: Collier. C-O-L-L-I-E-R.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: OK. Now, that was in Tuscaloosa?

COOK: Yeah, right, right.

MARSHALL: And, uh,

COOK: And my grandmother was Sara Woods.

MARSHALL: Sara Woods.

COOK: Uh-huh. And that was my father’s mother.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. OK. Now, what year, did I get that, what year they came here?

COOK: Um, my dad—my brother came here, hmm, must have been in 42.


COOK: Or 41.


COOK: And my daddy came in 43, and we came in 44.



COOK: 1944.

MARSHALL: [unintelligible]

COOK: I was 14 years old.

MARSHALL: Now, did your husband come here from Alabama, or was he already here?


MARSHALL: ’Cause you married here.

COOK: I married here.

MARSHALL: You married here.

COOK: Y’see, I went to school here.


COOK: Um, my husband had been here


COOK: And then he went in the service from here

MARSHALL: Oh, I see,

COOK: and then when he came back from the service he came back here.

MARSHALL: Mm. now, that puts you in, in here in a very crucial period in the development of the Ypsilanti.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: You just said you went to school here.

COOK: Right.

MARSHALL: Tell me about some of your experiences in public schools.

COOK: Well, y’know, uh, it’s always seemed strange, with, y’know people’s talking about busing.


COOK: We move, we came here in 44, and we live on First Avenue, we live on First Avenue for about a month or two months.


COOK: And then at that time they just begin to open up old Willow Run, well, Willow Village


COOK: And we moved out there. And we lived there from—oh, that must have—we 10:00must have moved in July, August we lived there from August till they tore it down.


COOK: And I went to school from ninth grade, we was bused


COOK: into Ypsilanti High School,


COOK: from ninth grade on.


COOK: And by the time, well, I guess my sister, who was behind me, they had, they did have an eighth grade, they had seventh and eighth grade.


COOK: And ninth grade there. But then we didn’t have no high school.

MARSHALL: Yeah, mm-hmm.

COOK: So, we was bused, to Ypsi High.


COOK: And, it was, y’know,

MARSHALL: It wasn’t no big thing.

COOK: No, no. You sat on the bus anywhere, and the bus come all the way out Michigan Avenue


COOK: picked us up and then come on back and then pick up, y’know, the other kids, the white kids, and, well, y’know, you got on the bus and you sit on the bus and then you got to school,



COOK: Y’know.

MARSHALL: But your philosophy was different though. Your philosophy was, then, you were trying to cut out the one room schools. And they were trying to say that the larger the unit, the more facilities they could put into the unit.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: So they figured if they cut out these little one room schools, [you got to die] and went to at that time, and then, make a consolidated school,

COOK: Mm-hmm,

MARSHALL: that’s what we used to call it, a consolidated

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: Then, you could have more courses, more offerings,

COOK: Yeah, yeah,

MARSHALL: in a consolidated school. And that was the total philosophy.

COOK: Yeah. And then that—

MARSHALL: But then later, later, you see, the objective was not that. The objective was integration.

COOK: Integration, yeah.

MARSHALL: And that’s when we got a different kind of [?]

COOK: I, I think one of the things, when, y’know, when they opened up the old Village, they didn’t think the peoples had, y’know, kids what, well, had went beyond the fifth,

MARSHALL: Oh, yeah, yeah

COOK: sixth, or seventh grade, y’know. So they had to have somewhere to put them,


COOK: and then no school, only, y’know, a couple schools, so, and they grow 12:00so fast.

MARSHALL: Yeah, right.

COOK: so they had to [summer]. Had to bus ’em. So, buses to me, haven’t been no problem.

MARSHALL: When you, when you, when your uh father and mother came here, did your father work with the, the bomber plant, and…?

COOK: No. My brother worked with the bomber plant, and my father worked for, at that time, mm, it wasn’t uh, Michigan Consolidated. It had some other [farmer gaze]. And he worked at the gas company, until Michigan Consolidated bought it.


COOK: They changed over from what natural gas, whatever that gas was, to, uh, Michigan Consolidated. And then he started working for, uh, stove works.


COOK: Stove works. Who is now, uh, Norris Industrial bought out

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah

COOK: that company, he retired from them. Then my brother, he um, when the bomber plant closed, he went to Rouge. Ford Rouge company.

MARSHALL: Oh, I see.


COOK: And he worked there, and then he transferred finally back to [generate].

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. That’s interesting. Well. Now, when you were in high school, tell me about your life in the high school. What did you do, beside go to class?

COOK: Mm, that’s about it.

MARSHALL: Were you encouraged to get into any other activities?

COOK: Not really, although, s—well, see, we had the bus. We, we had those bus students.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

COOK: So we had to,

MARSHALL: You really didn’t have time, did you?

COOK: y’know, catch the bus, we really didn’t have time to do anything else. So we didn’t have—I didn’t have, y’know, participate in no sport. We had in the class sports,


COOK: but not, no, no after-school stuff. And then by the time I was, what, the second year, I got a job and start working.


COOK: after school, so.

MARSHALL: When you were, when you, as a part of your school work, now, were any of those teachers black by the time you got there?


MARSHALL: All white.

COOK: All white.

MARSHALL: Were you given any kind of black orientation? Anywhere [in your mind]?

COOK: No. Ah, by the time I got


MARSHALL: History of black literature

COOK: By the time I got to the twelfth grade, we was beginning to get some little taste of the history, y’know.


COOK: But not no in-depth.

MARSHALL: Yeah, mm-hmm.

COOK: No in-depth at all.

MARSHALL: Do you recall, when you were in the high school, whether there were blacks involved in, say, basketball?

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: So they were involved in

COOK: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. I went to school with Leo Clark, and

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm

COOK: Lawrence Perry, and Eugene Jacob, and all of those guys was in, aw, y’know, football and basketball and track and baseball.


COOK: Now, we had one, one boy that was involved in choir, and that was Darryl Davis. And he was always the one that, uh, was involved.

MARSHALL: [Man, did he man]

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yessir.

MARSHALL: I, I was just wondering how many people were able to take advantage of the musical programs and programs of that type.


COOK: I guess if you didn’t have no voice, y’know, why join the choir?

MARSHALL: Yeah, but you always find, if you got blacks, you can always find at least one or two that’s got some—

COOK: They, they, Darryl Davis was the only somebody I allowed to [player].

MARSHALL: [laughs]

COOK: That was in, in the choir. Yeah.

MARSHALL: Darryl Davis was in it.

COOK: Yeah. Well, see, I was there long about the time, um, Vanzetti.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. Uh-huh.

COOK: was at school.


COOK: I guess, uh, he graduated the, the year that I was there.


COOK: So um, uh, they didn’t, wasn’t, I guess wasn’t interested in choir. They was, y’know, football, and


COOK: basketball, was their thing, and, y’know, that was it. Track, and, very little track. Very few kids went out for baseball.

MARSHALL: Do you remem—do remember where there were many dropouts?

COOK: Yeah, I thought—I think it was. ’Cause I know some of the kids started with us, and they—

MARSHALL: Just dropped out.

COOK: Kind of dropped, yeah, yeah.

Marshall: And of course, nobody paid too much attention.

Cook: No, no, at that time, y’know

MARSHALL: Sort of expected blacks to drop out.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


MARSHALL: Now, in that particular period, and now we are, we’re into the 40s now. Um, when you—you said awhile ago you got a job. What kind of job?

COOK: Oh, doing housework.

MARSHALL: That was about the only kind of work you could get?

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, for a black, yeah.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. You couldn’t, you couldn’t, [’course, you not] you couldn’t get a job as a waitress, or

COOK: No, no, no, no.

MARSHALL: Nothing like the [gap]

COOK: Uh-uh, uh-uh, no. No, absolutely not.

MARSHALL: ’Course, jobs that were similar were men’s jobs.

COOK: Men’s jobs, yeah. No womens. Very few womens.


COOK: But, uh,

MARSHALL: Did many people go from here over to, um, Ann Arbor?

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: ’Course we did have the streetcars.

COOK: No, we had buses.


COOK: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s where most of them did their work.

MARSHALL: And then over there, of course, it was still, though, the maid, cook,

COOK: Yeah

MARSHALL: That kind of thing.

COOK: Yeah, the housework.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

COOK: uh, cleaning the dorms, and [very] day be—was beginning to open up like 17:00nurse’s aide, y’know, help cleaning the patients and this sort of thing.


COOK: But, no, no, no—

MARSHALL: Do you recall in those days running into any negro nurses?

COOK: No, uh-uh.

MARSHALL: And to your knowledge, the only doctors of course were you had were, were, could not practice over there, could they? at the hospitals?


MARSHALL: Not, not necessarily over there, but at the hospitals.

COOK: They could, they could practice at the hospitals. ’Cause at that time we had, y’know, Dr. Bass and Dr. Clark was the two black doctors, and Dr. Perry was the dentist.


COOK: So they, they practiced.

MARSHALL: You weren’t here none of that that time that that black doctor, [every] other doctor, had the, uh, hospital across the street from the high school?


MARSHALL: That was before your time.

COOK: Uh-uh.

MARSHALL: Um, did, um, were, do you, do you recall whether I know most blacks 18:00went to doctor—went to these black doctors and so forth, but do you recall if there was any problems about, uh, blacks going to white doctors or vice-a-versa?

COOK: No, no.

MARSHALL: In, in, in the 40s, it wasn’t

COOK: Uh-uh, uh-uh, uh-uh. No, most of the time if you had surgery, they referred you to

MARSHALL: White doctor

COOK: a white doctor anyway.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Now, um, if you, um, if you and I, uh, uh, say, went to church on Sunday morning, and we decided, “Well, let’s go downtown and eat dinner,” where’d you go to?

COOK: Oh, you’d go home.

MARSHALL: Not go downtown.

COOK: No, no.

MARSHALL: Can you go to Haab’s?

COOK: No. Sh—[laughs]

MARSHALL: [laughs]

COOK: Heavens, no! Uh-uh. No, uh, no Haab’s, um, went to church and you left church and you went home, and ate your dinner, and there was afternoon service, and you went back to church.


COOK: So, um.


MARSHALL: What about other recreation?

COOK: That was about all you had.

MARSHALL: Did you ever belong to any of the clubs back when you were young, social clubs of any kind?

COOK: No, no, no. We had a club out in the Village area, I can’t even remember the name of it.

MARSHALL: What did they do?


MARSHALL: Just a bunch of girls?

COOK: Yeah, yeah, both girls and boys got together

MARSHALL: Had parties on weekends

COOK: Yeah, yeah, that sort of stuff. No, no big clubs.

MARSHALL: Ever go to the show?

COOK: Yeah, we had a, we had a theater, a big theater

MARSHALL: You mean, here in Ypsilanti, or out in the Village?

COOK: No, we out, we had one out in the Village, yeah, but we could go to the show here.

MARSHALL: You—had any

COOK: Martha Washington.

MARSHALL: Had Martha Washington still been segregated?

COOK: Oh, I guess they had, though, because we could go to the Martha Washington, the Wuerth too. I don’t know, I can’t remember where we sit, but, uh, we could go.

MARSHALL: You could go to both of them, I think, there was no problem. There had 20:00been, earlier, a problem.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: [We went] to Martha Washington, he didn’t accept them at all until somebody filed suit.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: I haven’t found out everything about that suit, but I do know there was a suit, and before that, the Wuerth you would go and you could sit in the balcony.

COOK: Sit in the—yeah, yeah. But, uh, we could sit—

MARSHALL: But the Martha Washington you couldn’t go to at all.

COOK: Yeah. We, we could sit anywhere. ‘cause we had off and [school wasn’t in at the time] Huh. Can’t remember what the name was. But we could sit anywhere.


COOK: That was, that was in the Village. [?] theater.

MARSHALL: Now, um, in that particular time, of course, uh, you were, you were around here, right after the second World War. That was the latter part.

COOK: Ah, yeah, well, we, we came, yeah. We was growing up in the north of town in the World War, yeah.

MARSHALL: Now, that was a period when, approximately all over the United States, almost in every community, there was a push for [two paul] because of the returning soldiers.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: for total integration.


COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: I think that during that time you had a, a local NAACP chapter.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: [They may not have came to phone,]

COOK: Yeah, yeah, we did, yeah.

MARSHALL: but I think you had a chapter during that time. Did you ever get involved, or ever have any involvement with that?

COOK: No, just

MARSHALL: Directly or indirectly.

COOK: No, not, not, indirectly, y’know, they had meetings, we would go, and, y’know, never did anything drastic,


COOK: until later on and we got kinda organ—we got organized and got interested in it.


COOK: ’Cause they would push for certain things, and y’know,


COOK: We, everybody got involved.


COOK: We was a kind of community then. Sort of band together in a kind of [crisis]. Everybody kind of, everybody knowed each other, um, yeah, we kind of band together.


COOK: The kids know the kids and the parents know the parents, and, if anything happened, if there was a crisis everybody got together, and [cherish].


MARSHALL: How about the relationships of those, those black folks with the white folks?

COOK: Well, you know, where, where we lived, we were sort of segregated. And it wasn’t till—they, they had the blacks in two areas.


COOK: And then, after they got filled, then they started putting blacks all over the community.


COOK: And then it, well, it was just like, y’know, just like it is now.


COOK: No problem. You had to have somewhere to stay.


COOK: So, um, and if your next-door neighbor was a black

MARSHALL: [So the] always anticipated problems didn’t show up.

COOK: No. Uh-uh, uh-uh. It didn’t show up until later on, y’know. ’Cause as long as, as, y’know, the, the government owned the houses,


COOK: they put you anywhere they want to put you.


COOK: So, you had to have somewhere to stay, so you stayed. But then after the government got out of it, then, that’s when your problems started, y’know.



COOK: This was, this area was too, y’know, “it’s not for me, I’ll move someplace else,” and y’know, all along when they government had it they lived next door to each other.

MARSHALL: So, as people became, as people got more money, too,

COOK: Yeah, yeah,

MARSHALL: they could afford to move out.

COOK: Yes, yes.

MARSHALL: First they had, they couldn’t do anything else

COOK: Else but live there, but then after they got jobs,


COOK: and the, the war was over, and jobs got a little bit plentiful, [right],


COOK: well, they moved anywhere. They had a choice.


COOK: But beforehand, they didn’t have no choice.

MARSHALL: ’Course, blacks had a choice too.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: And they began to move out.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, move out to, and then, y’know. ’Course, that’s when a lot of the blacks from out that area moved to Inkster.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

COOK: ’Cause, see, they opened up Inkster.


COOK: And then a lot of them moved there.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. You were, you didn’t, you didn’t, um, feel any particular, uh, pressures then at that particular moment,


COOK: Uh-uh.

MARSHALL: from the white-black situation.

COOK: Uh-uh, uh-uh.

MARSHALL: In 1954, the Supreme Court decision was handed down.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: being about May or June, May I think it was, May, sometime in May, [maybe before]. Did that have any effect on the, on Ypsilanti as a whole?

COOK: Now see, was, now see now, in—it was 54?


COOK: Um, we, we as a area got together, and we got organized. And that’s when we went to—well, before then, um, let’s see, well, one of the schools was all—they put all of the blacks in one of the schools. And we had a problem, they want to integrate that school.


COOK: So, uh, they did.


COOK: And then, uh, after oh, I guess, let’s see, was that fifty—they was 25:00talking about going to court then, in order to get the schools,


COOK: uh, integrated.


COOK: So they did.

MARSHALL: Did they go to court?

COOK: They, they must have, they must have, they must have went—they went to court, finally. They went to court in, must have been fifty, fifty-nine,


COOK: Fifty-nine, I believe. They went—they finally took ’em to court. And that’s when Willow Run schools became, became integrated.


COOK: They had to restructure, they had to just strip it, so all schools had, end up with blacks in them. But before then, they just had, certain schools

MARSHALL: Certain schools.

COOK: had blacks in them. Two schools that the blacks went, and, um,

MARSHALL: Was that elementary or was that on the high school level too?

COOK: No, this was, no no, the high schools had always been integrated.

MARSHALL: Even the one in the Village.

COOK: Oh yes, yes, yeah. But this, this was elementary school.



COOK: They had to [try and] change [the ballot], so.

MARSHALL: Now, in that change, of course, something else happened, I presume. And that is that you started having black teachers.

COOK: Well, we had, we had started having black teachers before then. Because when my sister was in the fifth grade, they had the first black teacher, and that was Johnny Chaney.

MARSHALL: Oh. [As Miss scene]

COOK: Yeah. They had her. And,

MARSHALL: Now you say when she was in the fifth grade. When would that have approximately have been?

COOK: That must have been in forty—mm, that must have been 45, 46, or something like—may have been 46.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. ’K.

COOK: ’Cause we, they just—she just retired.

MARSHALL: Yeah. I know.

COOK: And she was the first black teacher that they had.

MARSHALL: In, in the, in the,

COOK: In that district, yeah. And then they start hiring, y’know, few others.


COOK: Um, as the, as the years went along, they hired more and more.


MARSHALL: OK, in that process, now, From that time they hired Miss Cheney to the time, to now,

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: who got involved in bringing the pressures, there had to be somebody getting involved in pressuring the school system, to take this—

COOK: The blacks


COOK: The blacks did.

MARSHALL: The blacks.

COOK: Yeah. They, we kind of, we kind of,

MARSHALL: That wasn’t under the NAACP.

COOK: No, no, no, no, no, no, this was just some, some blacks that had children in school and they wanted to do something. We had to do something, so. We got organized, the same way when they started selling houses. Uh, when the government said that they was no longer going to keep Willow Run, it had to be torn down, they uh, started building houses, and they’d build houses in one area, and then they’d build houses in another area, and, the blacks got involved then. Because they had, we had to have somewhere to go.


COOK: And they was building houses where, y’know, the whites could buy.


MARSHALL: They did not consider the blacks.

COOK: No, no. So then we, we organized. But, y’know, once somebody started and then everybody else kind of joined in, and so we, we had a really good relationship.

MARSHALL: OK now, now, ’cause I”m learning something about the Village now. When they started doing that, previously, black people had had difficulty borrowing money to buy homes.

COOK: Yeah, right.

MARSHALL: Did that start easing up?

COOK: A little. By that, by that time, the federal government, FHA,


COOK: had changed.

MARSHALL: I see, yeah.

COOK: And, uh, y’know, you paid, you worked and you paid


COOK: enough money, so much a week or so much a month till you got your down payment,


COOK: and then, the, y’know, the government would finance

MARSHALL: Yeah, mm-hmm.

COOK: your house. So that’s what, that’s how we got started.


COOK: But ’long about that time, some of the blacks had moved out. That’s when my parents moved to, bought a house in Ann Arbor,


MARSHALL: Oh, I see.

COOK: They moved in, must have been 55.


COOK: They bought the house in Ann Arbor.


COOK: And then by that time, y’know, the older folks who had been saving their pennies


COOK: They began to move out

MARSHALL: and buy homes

COOK: Yeah, buy homes elsewhere. And then the younger folks was, was still there.


COOK: and they just kind of, y’know, we kind of worked and saved until, and then by that time the borrowing was a little bit, had eased up some.


COOK: and you could borrow money, so.

MARSHALL: [ ] In other words, uh, even, even, you could say that even in your time, you have seen the changes.

COOK: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, oh yeah. We have changed from, y’know, the point where you couldn’t get anything to the point now you can borrow a million dollars.


COOK: Y’know, you can, you can go in business. There was one time you couldn’t even go in business.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Well, several months ago, Johnny Barfield was down at the local 30:00bank and borrowed five hundred thousand dollars.

COOK: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. And [I also a gem bob we].

MARSHALL: And he had just a few years ago [he kind of] went down to the National Bank, he wanted to borrow, that’s when he was first going into business, he wanted to borrow sixty dollars to buy his wife a coat,

COOK: And couldn’t get it.

MARSHALL: and [john lennon, john lennon, no talent]. And now he can go in

COOK: He can—if they want

MARSHALL: successful and he can get a [ ]

COOK: Right. That’s true, that’s true. And, and it’s too bad.

MARSHALL: Well, it’s good,

COOK: In a way.

MARSHALL: it’s good, it’s, it’s too bad that, that they had to go through that.

COOK: All those changes in order to get it.

MARSHALL: Yeah, right.

COOK: But it’s uh,

MARSHALL: But there, there are still people around who were in on the denial.

COOK: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

MARSHALL: And I’ve met some of them.

COOK: Uh-huh, uh-huh. They still have that, y’know,


COOK: You supposed to be back here, and I’m up here.

MARSHALL: Yeah. But they also found some of their best credit risks.

COOK: Oh, are blacks.


COOK: Yeah, yeah.


MARSHALL: Now, I guess, uh, I guess I was interested in your general reaction to these changes, um, and and and and and, uh, you mentioned, now you mentioned the fact that in the Village, the people got together there, and began to insist that something be done, and that reminds me of something somebody had said. Somebody the other day was telling me that, “Y’know, when I came here, Ypsilanti was one of the most prejudiced places that I’d ever imagined.”

COOK: Hmm.

MARSHALL: And they said it was just like down south. Now, I admit this was a little different period, but the period that you came here, you could, you wouldn’t make that kind of a blanket statement.

COOK: Well, it was, y’know, it was prejudiced,


COOK: but, but, y’know, they had to, no, they had to, y’know, we was there, 32:00they had to live with it, or they had to deal with us. And they just, y’know, they deal with us on a snotty basis, but they still dealt with us. Y’know, that’s like in the stores.


COOK: Y’know, we used to go in, on lunchtime, we used to go, leave the high school and go downtown, y’know,


COOK: They had to wait on us.


COOK: They didn’t want to do it, but, y’know, hey, this is business.

MARSHALL: ’Course, you could go up in that old dime store that was still there when I was here.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the two dime stores.

MARSHALL: Could you get a, could you walk, you couldn’t walk in there and get a soda.

COOK: No. Not, not at first we couldn’t,


COOK: but then it got to the point where you could, you could eat anywhere. What, Cunningham’s was there, uh, there was a restaurant, a [ram], that’s, chicken place is on Michigan at the [falk]

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

COOK: Now, that place was the onliest place that we could go and have lunch. Uh, you could go in Cunningham’s, but you, y’know, you get out of school at 11:30, and you didn’t get served till, y’know, quarter to twelve, almost 33:00time for you to go back to school.

MARSHALL: Yeah, mm-hmm.

COOK: So, uh, a lot of kids stopped going to Cunningham’s, and then we started buying, then we started bringing the lunch and walking downtown and eating it on the way back and this sort of thing. But then it got to the point where they, y’know, had to serve us.

MARSHALL: [myron worked there]

COOK: That’s right. And then it got to the point where I wouldn’t [want him to lost] anyone else. But it was a long time before they would hire, y’know, anybody.

MARSHALL: [Ever] seeing a black person working in Cunningham’s?

COOK: Yeah. They fin—they finally did hire

MARSHALL: Only thing I know is [looking at the one] I know is on Washtenaw. I’ve never seen blacks working there.

COOK: No. Well,

MARSHALL: Never have. I’ve never seen one. I haven’t seen—

COOK: Uh, there is, what is the guy name, he had been there for years.

MARSHALL: One downtown?

COOK: No, the one out on Washtenaw.


COOK: Uh-huh.


COOK: A black guy. I don’t know whether he is—he used to be the custodian 34:00or what, but he works, he’s, he’s in there, and he waits on customers. You see him walking around in there. He’s been there a long time.

MARSHALL: [Is that so?]

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: [sent a reso] I didn’t know that. We hadn’t known that. Um, in this whole matter of this, uh, this, this, uh, racial progress, what do you see as the thing that really, really brought it about?—really responsible for it?

COOK: I, I, I think a lot of it when the boys came back from the service, after World War II. Um, y’know, those guys didn’t take no stuff! You did it or you, y’know, hey, we can come in to wreck up the place. And a lot of the merchants got afraid,


COOK: y’know. So then it kind of changes, y’know. Gradually, you could go in the bank, and, y’know, you could go into the finance companies and borrow money and, y’know. So I think, uh, that changed a lot. And that would have 35:00been in the, in the 50s.


COOK: 51, 52, things begin to change.


COOK: Somewhat.

MARSHALL: Did we change? [ ]

COOK: I think, I think some of us did, and then others, no. No. Some of ’em, I, they still haven’t changed. And this is the 80s. Y’know, they still sitting back in the same old, y’know, world that you was in, and everything should be the same way, but hey, y’know, it’s not like that. Life change, everything change. Seasons, time. This is a new day.

MARSHALL: As you look at, as you look at Ypsilanti and look at your children and grandchildren, and think in terms of Ypsilanti as you grew up here, and Ypsilanti as they grew up here,


COOK: There’s a, there’s a lot of difference.

MARSHALL: What are the differences, and have they been—are they advantageous, or are they disadvantageous?

COOK: Um, in my eyes, I think it, it have changed, a lot.


COOK: ’Cause my kids, a lot of their closest friends are white friends. Um, my son was recently in a wedding, and uh, he—

MARSHALL: Now, what does that mean insofar as his—does that have any particular meaning, the fact that he, that his friends are white?

COOK: He felt that, y’know, this boy, and he was a friend from second grade, I think,


COOK: All the way through high school. And they have that closeness.

MARSHALL: You didn’t have that.

COOK: No. No.


COOK: Well, when I came along, the whites wasn’t as open or wasn’t as giving


COOK: as they are, at his age.

MARSHALL: Were you?


COOK: I felt I was.

MARSHALL: [laughs]

COOK: but my mother always told me I was different. Um, ’cause I, I have always said what I think, what I feel, and I have always tried to be a friend to ’em, y’know. But, uh, sometime you don’t, even though you try to be friendly, you don’t get


COOK: anyplace. Uh, now my granddaughter, sometime I think as the kids grow older, and their parents get to the stage where, y’know, one of regress instead of progress. And I think that some of the kids that coming along with her now is kind of regressing. But in the, y’know, the 60s and 70s when my kids, my other son, my kids was in school, it was different. And that was a different era. But, um, now those kids have children like my granddaughter. And 38:00I, I don’t know, I don’t know why. ’Cause they, the kids, their mom and daddy didn’t go through with it. But now their children are sort of going through it. But in our area now, um, they going to have to do something with the schools, because the school that my kids went to, um, and the area where I live, all of the kids in that area are grown, um, y’know, we have very few little kids.


COOK: So in turn that school, next year, will be back to integrated.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, yeah.

COOK: So they got to do something to, y’know restructure that school.

MARSHALL: Well, of course you, you, you are, you are active. You are active, and it is just your, just your nature to be active, I think.

COOK: Yeah, well, I, I, in a sense I, I am. I’m not as active now as I used 39:00to be. I had Cub Scouts for 11 years, and I had 4-H kids, and, y’know, so I have always been one of those folks on the side of youngsters. I like to see them progress.

MARSHALL: Well, I guess the question I’m after is, we see, you see it as regression.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: And at the time you were going on because you were active and there was purpose in your activity. There was, it was not just the fun, least I think it wasn’t. It wasn’t just the fun of being out there. That was not all of it.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: But part of it was that you were trying to push for a, uh, uh, uh, an understanding, a push for a future, you were thinking about your children, and I want to make a better world for my children.

COOK: Right. Yes.

MARSHALL: So you [got out] here and worked [ ]

COOK: Right.

MARSHALL: Today, they got all these freedoms that you didn’t have and that you 40:00were fighting for and fighting to get and maintain.

COOK: Sure.

MARSHALL: Now they’ve got it all.

COOK: And they don’t—

MARSHALL: And they don’t worry about that.

COOK: Well, I guess that is a point. Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: So what they do is more or less pull back and they say to the white student “I don’t need you.”

COOK: Mm-hmm. They still have that. We got everything.

MARSHALL: And the white student, and the white student who is talking to his friends, who never was quite convinced anyhow—

COOK: That it was, it was working.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Uh, the, the thing that they’ve been teaching their kids is beginning to come out again.

COOK: Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

MARSHALL: And it’s the negative. And you get these two negatives together.

COOK: Together, and, and it’s—

MARSHALL: [and it’s pale].

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: So you get

COOK: I [guess that] yeah,

MARSHALL: your, so you see why you and I, in our generations, you talk about kids going downtown. Well, I [was one] going downtown too. But there was a black kid going downtown.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: And a white kid going downtown. But we didn’t meet,

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: unless it was [on a rockford].

COOK: Yes, yes. True.

MARSHALL: But you see, here we are, we’re coming up here now, and, we came in, 41:00we went through a period when everybody felt, “Well, I’ve got to get to know this person.” You felt, you, your kids felt they had to get to know the

COOK: Know the white kids

MARSHALL: white kids, white [structure],

COOK: had to, yes.

MARSHALL: and not only getting back to the other [ ],

COOK: to the old thing, yeah

MARSHALL: getting back to the [ ].

COOK: Yeah, right, right.

MARSHALL: Except the ground rules are slightly different.

COOK: Yeah. Hadn’t thought of it that way.


COOK: I guess it is. ’Cause they have like the, y’know, the kids have the options, the Boys’ Club, the Girls’ Club, um, the Boy Scout, and the Girl Scouts, and, and all these things, they have them now. And they can take them or leave them.

MARSHALL: This is what you fought for.

COOK: Yeah, yeah. And the things we was fighting for, in order to get there.


COOK: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: Even in occupations.

COOK: Yeah, yes, yes.

MARSHALL: I mean, you talk about working, going out and working for Miss Ann,

COOK: Yeah, and, and now, and now, they

MARSHALL: cleaning up the house and this kind of thing, no blacks don’t want to do that any more.

COOK: No, oh no, Lord, no

MARSHALL: But they get those jobs that you never thought about.


COOK: That’s right. In the bank, and,


COOK: Yeah, post office, and


COOK: We didn’t have that.

MARSHALL: So they don’t have that limitation.

COOK: Yeah, yeah. Our limitations was a little bit lesser


COOK: than theirs. Even going in—as far as going in business.


COOK: y’know.

MARSHALL: yeah, right.

COOK: We had very few folks that was in business.

MARSHALL: And if they would have gone into business, they couldn’t go out and get the money.

COOK: No. Uh-uh. [They go and get it soon]

MARSHALL: [You want] to go into business, you go down there and get a small business loan.

COOK: That’s right,

MARSHALL: [laughs]

COOK: that’s right. Sometimes I think I might apply for me one of them.

MARSHALL: [laughs]

COOK: [laughs]


COOK: Stuff that I really didn’t approve of.

MARSHALL: Now, as we, as we sort of recap this, uh, re, re—recap this whole thing, and everything that we’ve said, I’m not going to put on the paper, ’cause some of these [have been] are side issues,

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: beside the issue. Um, I guess the thing that I’m after is a kind of a “Where do we go from here?”

COOK: I don’t know.


MARSHALL: From your point of view.

COOK: I don’t know. I think somewhere along the line my children, y’know, who I fought for, for out there


COOK: ah, need to come back and do something, some stuff here. Now I don’t know—or do some stuff someplace. Now I don’t know why, when, and how, but, um, I tried to instill in them that, y’know, we are all equal.


COOK: There is no such thing as black white world. There is a world, and you fit in it. Ah, you can have anything you want to have as long as you work for it. And not to put all your eggs in one basket. Have a variety of eggs to go in the basket, y’know, in other words, don’t, if you going out, look for a job, um, get you a little more education with, with that job. It don’t have to be 44:00in that field that you were in,


COOK: but get it in something.


COOK: And try to get as many little education things as you can. You can be—I, I have been doing a lot of things, y’know, like I train for, um, welding, I took a class in welding, and I took a class in, um, I been a 4-H leader, I’ve been a program assistant, I taught nu—foo—food and nutrition for five years, um, and then in time I cooked for the senior citizens for a year and a half, and I drove for them, and, y’know, [sort of] a, a, a multitude for things. And right now I went to school and I took up home health aide and now I’m working in that, and the nurse’s trying to convince me to go and get my R.N. Um, these are some things that I keep telling my kids, 45:00don’t, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Find out what’s out there. There is, there is a job out there for you, special made for you. Seek and try to find what that job is.

MARSHALL: But you’re blessed with an inquisitive mind, and not everybody has that.

COOK: Well, I guess that’s—I

MARSHALL: See, unfortunately, they don’t. You have this inquisitive mind, and I can recognize that, that, that you, you are what we, what, what we sometimes refer to as a dilettante, that’s what I am.

COOK: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: But you know this about me already.

COOK: That’s right, got to do something else.

MARSHALL: Got to do something, [and] I got to find something else. But there are people who don’t believe that. There are people who look for that one thing, and once they settle on that one thing,

COOK: That’s it.

MARSHALL: That’s it. And they do that the rest of their lives.

COOK: Yeah. But then, in turn, they get bored. Some [ ].

MARSHALL: Well, sometimes they get bored, they, I guess, yes, I guess, I guess we all get bored to a certain extent, but some people would rather do that than 46:00to put forth a little extra effort to do the kind of thing that you’re doing. You put forth extra effort to go out here and learn how to, uh, weld, for example.

COOK: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: Or to learn how to cook certain ways, you put, that was an extra effort, because you are going to put, put forth that. And, and the only thing you can hope is that your kids

COOK: would do something, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: are like you. But they’re not all go—all going to be like you.

COOK: That’s true, that’s true. ’Cause none of them is. Well, I, I think one of them is. Now, I have one that’s um, right now he’s, he’s, uh, an apprentice, carpenter apprentice. And he been in this for a good while. Um, and he’s working with my brother in his shop


COOK: and he would like to go to school to take some accounting or something in, in that, that area.

MARSHALL: Well, in four years, in four years, he could go to school and he wouldn’t have to be an apprentice carpenter.

COOK: That’s right, that’s right, that’s true.

MARSHALL: But that’s the way you see it.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m seeing it that way, but he ain’t quite seeing 47:00it that way, yet.

MARSHALL: It’s too hard [to see].

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: I mean, I say this, I say this, uh,

COOK: Ypsilanti had, Ypsilanti had all black teachers until I would say the 50s. At the high school. So, y’know, where that make Ypsilanti stand? I don’t remember who was the first black teacher, but it uh, when we was going there was no black teacher.

MARSHALL: Mm. [ ] the black teacher was [ ].

COOK: All the teacher was white. ’Cause I understand Leo, Leo teach, Leo taught in Ypsi or not.


COOK: But, um, y’know, a lot of the other teachers didn’t, did not teach it.


COOK: At the high school. They didn’t teach, teach until they moved the high school, build a new high school.

MARSHALL: They were just moving, blacks were just moving up in the teaching when I came here, and that was in the 60s.

COOK: [But would Arun have had] black teachers [hold on]

MARSHALL: Longer than

COOK: Yeah. Longer than Ypsilanti. ’Cause, uh, Vanzetti taught.



COOK: In Willow Run. He taught my brother.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

COOK: So, y’know, you look at the different school systems and say, “Hey,” y’know. Even though Ypsilanti was here when I was going to school, they still was, was segregated, y’know.

MARSHALL: [it’s a great mission]

COOK: That’s right, that’s right. Well, all [phase] is the same, they say, but it’s not. And it’s still not.

MARSHALL: [You know that]. A white man told me this. That way back, I think the guy’s name was [Alice], he said he used to every year, run for the city council, and every year he’d lose.

COOK: Huh.

MARSHALL: And then he said, then one time he won. So they decided they wasn’t 49:00going to tell him.

COOK: That he won?

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. So they didn’t tell him.

COOK: Oh my goodness.

MARSHALL: Until the end of his term.

COOK: Then they told him he—

MARSHALL: They [determined him out] then they told him. That was before the election [of] any black.

COOK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But y’know, it was a long time that they had, y’know, you would see even in election you would see, y’know, all the election you never seen a black person working, um, y’know.

MARSHALL: Well, they said,

COOK: And then, and then we changed that.

MARSHALL: Well, they said that the way black people got to work, uh, uh, the people on council, y’know, the people in public office, each one, would appoint people to work in the election.

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: So you had to get a black person elected before you get people to work [ ].

COOK: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: So when Seymour was elected, Seymour had the opportunity of naming some

COOK: some blacks

MARSHALL: blacks to work in the election.

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: [For], ’course, since Seymour was in there, we’ve always had a 50:00black in the city council.

COOK: Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

MARSHALL: So there’ve always been blacks [ ].

COOK: See, I’ve been working the election, ooh, about twenty…five, twenty-five, twenty, twenty-six years.

Marshall: Mm-hmm.

Cook: I’ve always worked in the elections.


COOK: And I started, I started in the, y’know, the township election first


COOK: And then I, um, went, well, I was talking to somebody and they said, “Well, why don’t you sign up for the school [new], school.” So I signed up for the school and I’ve been working the school election for, oh, I guess about maybe 15 years.


COOK: I’ve been chair for last 10, maybe 10, 15 years. So, y’know, it, uh, nothing, new. But we always work in one, in our election we always work in one general area.


COOK: Um, they trying to put in now where most of the blacks vote, they have a 51:00black worker, at least we, at least try to have three worker, three blacks working.



MARSHALL: In this last election [ ] school [ ]

COOK: Thurst—uh, Fletcher.

MARSHALL: Fletcher.

COOK: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: [ ] black

COOK: Yeah, no.

MARSHALL: Now, occasionally there is.

COOK: Yeah. But now, um,

MARSHALL: Do you know why that is? We in Ward 2.

COOK: Yeah. Yes, yes.

MARSHALL: [And there aren’t any whites] black folks on council in Ward 2.

COOK: Really? Well, now, we have one, I was, uh, I have, uh,

MARSHALL: We have, we have, we have, we have, uh, Nat Edmunds,

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: And this, oh, this Republican fellow, just, just got elected, and I’m saying also, well, ’course, this is a predominately white area,

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: But I’m saying also that we could possibly have blacks working in the elections up here,

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: but we got to go and bring pressure on Nat Edmunds, and nobody’s 52:00ever done that.

COOK: Mm-hmm. Yeah, but the, well, the lot of, let’s see, my daughter voted the Fletcher [ ].


COOK: ’Cause she live over by, um, [Pinckney].



MARSHALL: Well, see, we’ve never, I don’t know if anybody ever bring any pressure against her.

COOK: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: I know Nat.

COOK: Yeah. And, and it seems like, uh, Ypsilanti seems like, them, the controversy that you have is among the area where the black voters. That’s, uh, Perry and Metropolitan.


COOK: Now, all the controversy.


COOK: But, now, in our township we have both the township have both. They have an equal, try to have at least one


COOK: black, uh, two black, now, I always try to have at least, if there’s six working, it’s three and three.


COOK: So which is good.


MARSHALL: Well, we, [what Georgism] is for. But I don’t think George has any point. Now, he may have, I don’t know. And there’s probably some more, I know there are, there’s some other p—other precincts in this ward,

COOK: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: and maybe in some of the other precincts there are blacks, but I just don’t see that here.

COOK: Well, you know, I, I, we, I, we go to the uh, meeting, area meeting,


COOK: It’s not that many.

MARSHALL: Well, I know Evelyn [Beatty], but she’s in Ward 1.

COOK: Is she.

MARSHALL: Now she works in, in the election.

COOK: Does she.

MARSHALL: But that’s down there on the South Side.

COOK: That’s [the word]

MARSHALL: Yeah. [ ] Someone else works there.

COOK: And, yeah, [ ] Bradley, and Mose Bass,


COOK: and, ’cause I think Mose is a chair.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Uh-huh.


MARSHALL: But see, over the years, [there’s, there’s], I mean, it’s growing, so far as blacks are concerned, but it’s never a lot [roo].

COOK: Yeah.

MARSHALL: And then we still, we got the same kind of problem the other folks 54:00have, even some of the blacks over here don’t vote.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. We, we try to get, uh, I have worked as, um, registrar,


COOK: um, trying to get, y’know, registering folks and this sort of thing.


COOK: But, um, I have always, most times, y’know, I usually work all school elections I work.


COOK: And most of, most of the township elections.


COOK: It depends on who’s the, who’s the clerk is.

MARSHALL: We try to, we, we went, we actually helped them on the South Side in their registration.

COOK: Did you? Mm-hm.

MARSHALL: [The rule] is, I can only tell you [Luther] over there, I mean some places I wouldn’t let her go by herself.

COOK: Yeah, yeah, well, we, we, we do a, we do a lot in, y’know, in trying to register the young.

MARSHALL: Well, you say ‘we,’ and you say that nicely, but I’m just aware that whatever you’re doing you out there by yourself

COOK: Eh, well, Tessie and I

MARSHALL: You two may be [ ]

COOK: Well, Tessie and I do, um, we try to work with our senior citizens. We 55:00get them to the poll, we get absentee ballots and we take them around


COOK: and register them for absentee and then we take the absentee ballot back and y’know, we assist them in they vote, and we have done this for, oh, I guess, the last six or seven years. Um…

MARSHALL: Well, that’s nice.

COOK: Somebody had to, I said somebody had to do it, y’know, hey, I’m going to be a senior citizen.

MARSHALL: Sure, we’ll all be senior citizens.

COOK: So, uh, somebody have to do it for me, I figure, maybe somebody do it for me, maybe, maybe nobody will, but, that’s the reason you see [Miss C] and, y’know.

MARSHALL: You are doing your bit. You are doing your bit to make the world a little bit better for somebody else. [ ]

COOK: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s true. I don’t know, I, I was always taught y’know, to help your fellow man.


COOK: And that’s what I was only trying to do. Satisfy my,


COOK: y’know,


COOK: responsibility to, to whoever.



0:00 - Family background, marriage and children

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Gonna start off with, I’d like you to tell me, um, full name, including your maiden name.

COOK: Ha ha ha. My name is Emroy, spelled E-M-R-O-Y,


COOK: Lois is my middle name, and my mai—maiden name was Woods.


Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Cook discusses her unusual first name, Emory, and her children and family history.

Keywords: Alvin Blake Cook; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Clyde Lowell Cook; Dean Sherman Cook; Earlie Mae Woods; Emory Lois Woods; Ethel Lee Collier; Fred Woods; Harold Ren Cook; Inkster, Michigan; John A. Woods; Joseph Cook; Joseph E. Cook Jr.; Leevonia Woods Markham; Lois Cook; Lucious Martin Cook; Reverend Chuck Woods' Columbus, Ohio; Sam Jack Woods; Sara Bell Porter; Sara Woods; Terry Leon Cook; Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Subjects: African American families

Hyperlink: Photo of Lois' parents, Sam and Ethel (Collier) Woods.

8:39 - Coming to Michigan and going to school during World War Two

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Oh yeah. OK. Now, what year, did I get that, what year they came here?

COOK: Um, my dad—my brother came here, hmm, must have been in 42.


COOK: Or 41.

Segment Synopsis: Lois discusses her family's arrival in Michigan and settling at Willow Village after housing was opened to African-Americans.

Keywords: black high school experience; black history in schools; black teachers; Bomber plant; Consolidated Schools; Daryl Davis; Eugene Jacobs; First Avenue; Ford Rouge plant; Great Migration; integrating schools; Joseph Cook; Lawrence Perry; Leo Clark; Michigan Consolidated Gas; Michigan Stove Works; School Busing; Segregation; Vanzetti Hamilton; Willow Run; Willow Village; Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti High School; Ypsilanti Public Schools

Subjects: African Americans--Migrations--History--20th century. African Americans--Education--History--20th century. Busing for school integration.

Hyperlink: Aerial photo of government housing at Willow Run during World War Two.

16:03 - Memories of segregation during the 1940s and 50s

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Now, in that particular period, and now we are, we’re into the 40s now. Um, when you—you said awhile ago you got a job. What kind of job?

COOK: Oh, doing housework.

Segment Synopsis: Lois discusses her memories of social activities, segregation and race relations in Ypsilanti and Willow Run during the 1940s and 50s.

Keywords: African-American doctors; African-American social clubs; African-American women workers; African-American Ypsilanti; Ann Arbor; black labor; domestic work; Dr. Bass; Dr. Clarke; Dr. Lawrence Perry; Federal Housing Authority; Ford Motor Company; Haabs; housing segregation in Willow Run; John H. Dickinson; Martha Washington theater; segregation in movies houses; Weurth Theater; Ypsilanti black doctors

Subjects: Segregation. Race discrimination in employment. African Americans--Social life and customs--20th century.

Hyperlink: Ypsilanti theater segregation article. Detroit Free Press. July 8, 1914.

24:07 - After Brown vs Board; Desegregating Willow Run

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Now, in that particular period, and now we are, we’re into the 40s now. Um, when you—you said awhile ago you got a job. What kind of job?

COOK:Oh, doing housework.

Segment Synopsis: Lois shares her memories of the movements of the 1950s in Willow Village to desegregate schools and housing and the district's first African-American school teachers.

Keywords: African-American school teachers; Brown vs. Board of Education; Ethel Collier Woods; Federal Housing Authority; John Barfield; Johnny Chaney; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-Willow Run Branch; Sam Woods; Willow Run school segregation court cases; Willow Village; Ypsilanti school segregation

Subjects: School integration. African American educators. Race discrimination.

Hyperlink: Detroit Free Press article on Willow Run school desegregation cases. September 13, 1961.

31:04 - Changes in Ypsilanti race relations after World War Two

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL:Now, I guess, uh, I guess I was interested in your general reaction to these changes, um, and and and and and, uh, you mentioned, now you mentioned the fact that in the Village, the people got together there, and began to insist that something be done, and that reminds me of something somebody had said. Somebody the other day was telling me that, “Y’know, when I came here, Ypsilanti was one of the most prejudiced places that I’d ever imagined.”


Segment Synopsis: A.P. Marshall and Lois Cook discuss changes in Ypsilanti race relations after World War Two and what brought it about.

Keywords: African-American World War Two experience; Cunningham's Department Store; Michigan Avenue stores; Race relations in Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti

Subjects: Race relations--Michigan--Ypsilanti--History.

Hyperlink: Photo of Michigan Avenue stores in Ypsilanti, 1946.

38:46 - Difference in generational attitudes

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Well, of course you, you, you are, you are active. You are active, and it is just your, just your nature to be active, I think.

COOK:Yeah, well, I, I, in a sense I, I am. I’m not as active now as I used to be. I had Cub Scouts for 11 years, and I had 4-H kids, and, y’know, so I have always been one of those folks on the side of youngsters. I like to see them progress.

Segment Synopsis: Lois Cook and A.P. Marshall discuss the differences between generations and the dangers of reversals in race relations.

Keywords: 4H Kids; African-American Scout leaders; Cub Scouts

Subjects: Race relations--Michigan--Ypsilanti--History. Intergenerational relations.

Hyperlink: Photo of Lois and her husband, Joseph, in the 1980s.

49:20 - Electing African-Americans in Washtenaw County and hopes for the future

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Partial Transcript: COOK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But y’know, it was a long time that they had, y’know, you would see even in election you would see, y’know, all the election you never seen a black person working, um, y’know.

MARSHALL: Well, they said,

Segment Synopsis: A.P. Marshall and Lois Cook discuss getting African-Americans elected to various positions in Washtenaw County and racial patterns in local voting. The interview ends with Lois and A.P hoping their work leads to a better world.

Keywords: Evelyn Beatty; first black elected officials in Michigan; Frank Seymour; George Goodman; Mose Bass; Nat Edmunds; racial voting in Michigan; Ypsilanti City Council

Subjects: Local elections. African Americans--Politics and government.

Hyperlink: Photo of Frank Seymour, elected to Ypsilanti City Council in 1945. Frank was the first Black elected official in Washtenaw County.
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