INGRAM: [ ] today. Today's date is August the 1st, 1981 at six o’clock, uh, pm. Reverend Harvey Leggett, when did you first arrive at Ypsilanti?

LEGGETT: I came here July of 1970.

INGRAM: From where?

LEGGETT: From Louisiana, a place you call Slidell, right up from New Orleans.

INGRAM: What was your reason for coming to Ypsilanti?

LEGGETT: Primarily to pastor, I had been through here several times and, um, though I was pastor in Mississippi as well as in Louisiana, there was a great need for leadership here at the St. John Baptist church and, and they asked if I would come and lead them in this, um, membership, um, so at first I was somewhat hesitant, but after prayer for consideration, we moved here in '70, 1970.

INGRAM: Oh, when were you born?

LEGGETT: May 14, 1935.

INGRAM: Your parents' name, first and last name?

LEGGETT: Well, my father's name was Reverend [Evrin] Leggett. My mother's name was Mrs. [Ethel Mcgee] prior to her marriage and course, they, they was too from 1:00Mississippi, but however I was born in Florida, but, uh, at a early age we moved back to Mississippi.

INGRAM: Your father also was a minister, right?

LEGGETT: Yes, he was.

INGRAM: Oh, do you come from a family of ministers?

LEGGETT: Well, [laughs] other than my father, uh, well, he had, uh, other, another brother that was a minister and he had three son that was a minister, but in my particular family, I'm the only s- one and,

INGRAM: Oh. How many brothers and sisters do you have?

LEGGETT: I have six, uh, two brothers and four sisters.

INGRAM: Could you give me their first and last names too?

LEGGETT: Uh, well we have [Nirmai]. He's, uh, in Chicago, Illinois, and also, uh, Thomas Leggett who is in Columbia, Mississippi, and 'course by marriage my older sister [Emmy-Lou Bash] is in Columbia, Mississippi. Helen [Harry] in Gulfport, Mississippi. [Armor] um, is in San Francisco, California, and [Mamie] Dixon is in, uh, Oakland, California. Armor [Harding], that- I was trying to g- 2:00think of her last name there.

INGRAM: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Since, uh, you've been here the last 11 years, I'd like to ask for you some of your observations about black life in Ypsilanti, primarily, uh, when you first arrived here, who were some of the major black leaders in leadership positions other than the ministers and, and could you name some of the names of those individuals that were in politics and versus those that were in leadership positions in the other ministries?

LEGGETT: When I first came to, um, Ypsilanti, uh, the thing that probably impressed me most is that, uh, we, I met the former mayor, uh, Mr. Burton and then, uh, I met the present mayor, uh, and then on top of that I met quite a few of the, uh, councilmen, um, especially on the, the man that's now the police chief, um, Mr. Moore I believe that's what his name, and then there was 3:00inspectors and what have you that I was, uh, introduced to upon my arrive here and 'course in general, I'd guess, uh, the late Deacon [Tipton] introduced me to quite a few of the black officials, that is of Washtenaw County as well as the city of Ypsilanti.

INGRAM: Mm-hmm. Um, what role did the black church play in Ypsilanti? Some o- just s- some of your observations, uh, what did you see him doing versus, uh, say now?

LEGGETT: Uh, I think from my observation, uh, I think that we try, we have tried extremely hard, especially the local churches that I'm familiar with is trying to meet the everyday need of, of black children and, and actually in some what I think we feel that we have failed because in our trying we have found that the, uh, uh, drug problem and dope problem and drinking seem like it's not, uh, you 4:00know, where it should be, but yet I think that's been one of our major concern, is to face the issues of today and when I think in terms of, I think in terms of the problem of today and ‘course, uh, being a counselor as well as a minister, uh, there's, uh, quite a few problems where that it relates to young people as well as to the adult people. So I think the problem now is we do have a problem with the generation gap and, and this is one of the things that the church have tried to deal primarily with, and that is to bring about a unity within a church family as well as in the individual family.

INGRAM: What, why, what do you see as some of the, the problems facing those youth? Why do you think the youth, uh, face with those kinds of problems and getting involved in those kinds of activities? Is it, uh, is it a need for a new kind of leadership or what? I'm just, I'm just you know, uh, troubleshooting.

LEGGETT: Well, I think, [Doctor], that, I think there is not enough people that 5:00really care and when I think in terms of care, and I, I have worked very closely with the school system, I have worked with other ministers, and I have, uh, observed quite a few, uh, you know, avenues in where there could be progress, simply meaning that, um, you know, it seems like that everyone is out to [help] but it's always a given. They, they seem to say, "Okay. I can provide this provided I get this," and it seemed like there no one is there to say, "I can give without expecting something," and I think that we have not given enough of ourselves to, uh, the young people and, and I speak in terms of not only, uh, in the church or in the community, in the school system, I, I, I feel that even in a individual home, I think there's a, there's a problem there that we have to deal with, and that is that, uh, okay, like for an instance in my case, there, I didn't have a say so and yet I recognized that we're living in a time now where 6:00that the youth have a great deal to put into this life and yet, uh, some of us having the tendency to say, "I didn't do it," or, "I wasn't allowed to do it," so we kind of more or less shut them back, and I think that's a mistake. I think we have to deal with this problem, and when you're talking about dealing with the problem, I'm talking about really caring and that's the problem. I really don't feel that there is enough people that really cares. I think they, they are caught up in a job where they have to respond to situation. I think they're caught up in a society where that, uh, if they don't respond th-, you know, the position that they have will look somewhat dim, but I think that you have to care. Even in your heart you have to care.

INGRAM: Um, in your l- in your, in your total of 11 years now as you've been here in Ypsilanti, what have been some of your observations concerning, uh, race relations in Ypsilanti? Is it very conservative, very liberal, or is it sort of 7:00fragmented in terms of how blacks and whites relate to one another? Could you discuss some of that or elaborate on some of that?

LEGGETT: In my observation, I, I have dealt primarily with, uh, young people, uh, when it come to race relation and even though we can find ways of playing together, we can find ways of, uh, of, uh, competing against each other, we can find ways of even living with each other as long as it's not a permanent situation and I see the problem. The problem stops, uh, well [inaudible] relationship, okay let's take for an instance, uh, at the school there's black and white on the football, black and white on basketball, black and white on track and when the track meet is over, then the black go to the black, the white go to the white, and, and yet I, I don't, I don't see, uh, I don't see any different here really, than, uh, than the state of Louisiana where I came from. 8:00It's just a [inaudible] uh, people just do what they're supposed to do and when, when they don't, uh, have the obligation to respond for any particular person, then they go back being themselves and I think being themselves, uh, in many ways, we're very separative.

INGRAM: Wow. That's interesting. Uh, what about the, uh, educational, education in Ypsilanti? Do you think that, uh, that blacks in Ypsilanti have the kinds of, uh, educational opportunities available as others in, in most, uh, cities, or, or, uh, what I’m, uh, I guess I'm trying to [drive at] is, uh, what are some of the problems with education in the [area facing] the black communities in Ypsilanti? Or, or are there any?

LEGGETT: I, I feel that the education facilities is excellent here. I mean, for as the facilities that we have for education, I think, uh, Ypsilanti High School, the one that I'm primarily, uh, involved in, they have, uh, excellent 9:00teachers. I, I, I feel that they have, uh, great leadership there, and yet I feel that even though all of these facilities is there, I feel that our young people are still being short changed, now I don't know how I'm going to dig out of that. When I say short changed, I simply mean that even though the, uh, education, I mean, the teachers and the principals and whatnot is there, but I don't think there's enough input in imposing on that kid that he must or she must receive a proper education and that's when I come back to care and that, that word care and that has to be one of the mas- major issue, uh, in the city today. If the teacher, though she be qualified or he be qualified, though they have their degree in, in, in any, uh, given study that, that a student might have, but if they do not apply this to the welfare of that child, then there's a problem and I feel that this is one of the major problem. It's not because of 10:00they're not qualified. It's not because, uh, they don't have the know-how, but it's simply because, uh, I don't know. Uh, some of the kids leave home with an attitude and they go into the classroom and seem like the instructors say something like, "Well, he's in one of those moods so I'm gonna just let him have his way today," and finally the kid recognize, "All I have to do is get in a particular mood and the teacher kind of more or less let me have my way," and I think that's a no-no. I think that teachers should insist that that child get a proper education. I think in that, in that end I think we're somewhat slight.

INGRAM: Uh, in the last, in, in the last 11 years, what kinds of, uh, advancements have, uh, blacks made in the area of politics here? Do you, do you, do you see any advancement made on the part of blacks? Like, I'm referring specifically to black participation into the, uh, local political structure here such as black serving coun- counsel members, having some input, some 11:00participation, some decision making, in the decision making process that affect the lives of, of, of blacks on the south side, for example? [ ]?

LEGGETT: I have seen a, a great deal of concern and there has been quite a bit of input that have been, uh, put into the south side, especially and this is where we passed it in this particular area, and yet, uh, the major criticism also come from among the blacks. You know, I, I don't know, I think that we are very critical when it come to, uh, our representatives that represent us and it seem as if though, uh, when we do get someone, and I will not name this, uh, any particular person, but it seem like when we get someone that is doing an adequate job, uh, on the south side or trying to or, uh, have some input into the south side, into the black communities, etc, etc, it seem like then that any 12:00opponent that, uh, want to run against that person it’s always black running against black and that's, that's the part that,


LEGGETT: uh, I don't know. It just don't seem like it's, uh, that we are unified to the extent whereby the black can get behind a black and say, “Okay, we're going to push you." Uh, it always seem like when the black is there, uh, we expect too much from the black and because we don't get everything we expect, then we, uh, pick someone else and then the criticisms start and I don't know. I think, um, uh, if we could learn how to support our black leaders, our black representative that represent us, I think they can do a more adequate job, I d- regardless of who they are, but I think the main thing that is hurting us as black people here is that we are being very critical one to the other and that's a problem. I mean, even though there has been, uh, uh, a great concern for the south side, people have shown great concern. People have [search for] avenues to 13:00help the south side and even in their [search], even in their concern, there are still a lot of criticism and the minds of the people is very much confused. Uh, for an instance, I can face the congregation here and we have some who are pretty close to a thousand members here. They're not here all at the same time, of course, but, uh, sometime you know, when a issue is in the community, uh, it, well the church is almost c- you know, complete spit, split. You, only thing I think that we are really together on here in the black community is that most of us just vote for the mayor, you know, when it comes. Other than that, we are always trying to figure out who is the best for the...

INGRAM: Why is that? Why, you mean th- are you saying that when the election comes up for Mayor Goodman everybody votes for him?

LEGGETT: Everybody vote because normally when, um, Mayor Goodman is running, is, uh, simply because, uh, his opponent is always, uh, either quite a, a unknown black to this community, so to speak, and, uh, Mayor Goodman, I don't know his input, uh, in this particular area. I don't know. I think that the reason why 14:00everybody usually vote for him is simply because just about everybody know him. He, he's, he's you know, he, he makes, takes time to, um, to make himself known, especially among the churches and if you ever invite him, he, he sh- usually come unless he's, uh, you know, prior committed to some other place.

INGRAM: Hm. That's interesting. So, uh, what do you think are some of the reasons why people wha- was, okay. They'll seldom come out to vote for anybody else, eh, other than the mayor?


INGRAM: Ah, well, they don't trust, they don't trust newcomers? Or...

LEGGETT: Uh, let me take my [myself] for an instance and maybe that back in, um, uh, back here a few years a- ago, there was a man that was running, uh, for political office here and, uh, I'm one of these that I don't know what you would call me a chauvinist or, [laughs] or whatnot, but I don't know. I, I kind of like mayor lea- male leadership because I just believe in that the strong arm of 15:00a man and of course that goes back into my religious belief and so forth, but there was a particular man that was running for office here and this lady, o- opposed him in this particular office and he counted her so lightly you know, and, and the thing that, uh, moved me [laughs] was to the extent that the lady would come here, she would talk to us, she would, uh, say what she would like to do, she would say what needed to be done, and this gentleman felt like he was so in the driver's seat until he ignored us. He ignored the churches and whatnot and as a result, he lost, he los-. As a matter of fact, I think I even ended up voting for the woman, and that was the one thing that I started out, [laughs] that was the one thing that I started out saying, "I'm not gonna vote for no woman," but, uh, I don't know. I think that what it is, if a person that is running for a political office, if they recognize the people,

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: the people recognized him and that's the reason why, uh, see, the time 16:00is out now where you get yourself 35 or 40 dollar and go down to your favorite bar, your favorite tavern, and buy everybody a drink on the house and say, "Hey, vote for me," because that won't, that won't [crosstalk] do it anymore. It just won't do it. No, I think we have become aware of the fact that it take more than just a, a beer to buy a vote and, and this what black people is waking up to.

INGRAM: I'm glad to hear that. Um, when you came here in back in the 1970, '71, did you notice any, uh, blacks that were owners of businesses in Ypsilanti and if so, could you provide me with their names and then the, the kind of business that they had? Any, any blacks that own businesses? That you noticed?

LEGGETT: Uh, that would take a lot of hesitation. Uh, uh...

INGRAM: You had John Barfield here…

LEGGETT: Right, wi- with the Barfield and then there was [Russell] Construction. He was doing, uh, s- truck, uh, service as well as, uh, concrete service and then that was the little small business people that you know, just did a little 17:00odds and end job, but for someone to come up and say that this is a black owned business, uh, other than Barfield, I guess, uh, i- it, it took me some time to become aware of the fact that, uh, there was any black business. I think the next, the, the first black business that I went to was a little store out on Holmes Road and if my memory's serving me right, I think, uh, Mr. [Hall] was

INGRAM: Yeah, Officer Hall.

LEGGETT: Right. I believe that, that who owned the store, but other than that, I was not too much familiar with any black owned business.

INGRAM: Oh, wow. What about today? Are you familiar with any, uh, owners of black businesses today?

LEGGETT: I try to make it my business, uh, that, uh, you know, when, uh, black go into business that, uh, I even stress the fact even here among the people that, uh, the only way we're going to keep the blacks in the business, we have to patronize you know, their stores or what have you and then recently we had a 18:00friend of mine, uh, that bought a bowling establishment and we in the process now to get a bowling league just to try to help, uh, him stay in business and I, I don't know. I, I don't know whether or not that the blacks, uh, merchant have to pay more for their merchandise or not, but a lot of people challenge me to the fact that if the blacks put up a store, you know, their, their prices usually run higher and stuff like that and then, and yet I, I can find in most places that I've, I've gone, they are, uh, you know, compared to, uh, like say Stop-and-Go and, and the other you know, 7/11 stores and whatnot, but I don't know. I think blacks as a whole, uh, you have a lot of crawfish and a lot of crabs. That's what we used to call them in Louisiana, that every time one started rising, it seemed like we are the one that's going to catch ‘em and said, "No, no. That's too fast."

INGRAM: What is the name of your friend that owns the bowling alley and what is the name of the bowling alley and where is it located?

LEGGETT: Uh, it'd be John [Ratcliffe] and, uh, he owned the Thunderbird bowling lane down on East Michigan Avenue.


INGRAM: Oh, who is he?

LEGGETT: He is the president of the NAACP in the Willow Run area.

INGRAM: Willow Run area?


INGRAM: How long has he owned his Thunderbird bowling lane?

LEGGETT: He just bought this year.

INGRAM: Just, just bought it this year? [crosstalk]

LEGGETT: Just bought it this year, right. Sure did. I think it was from the Great Lakes, uh, bowling [inaudible], they have several lanes and he purchased that one there and I don't know, I think it's one of the greatest thing because we do have quite a few blacks bowling and as matter of fact, I roll a pretty good ball myself [Laughs]

INGRAM: Fantastic. My goodness. Um, what have been, uh, since 1970 versus today, if you were to look back at yesterday and look at today, what could you say were some of the most, uh, significant advances that blacks in Ypsilanti have experienced? [ ]

LEGGETT: Uh, in spite of my criticism, I feel that, well, here, okay? Here, for an instance, and I'm sure that it happened in churches on top of churches, uh, I 20:00would say that we have at least 50 maybe 75 young people that, uh, have been persuaded you know, to come off of drugs, to stop smoking marijuana, etc, and but the advancement, I think if we look at it in, in, um, in the proper perspective, I would say that the black man, I think he have finally reached a point of his life that he knows and she knows that a education is, is, is a must, that you know, it, it's, every job that comes in now is a complicated job and you have to have some skills, some knowledge in order to take this job and I think they know this now and the greatest advancement that I've seen among blacks, e- especially I, we've had so many people right here out of this church, some 30, 40, and 45, and 50 years old have gone back to school and got their high school d- uh, diploma and some have even gone back into college and what 21:00have you and, uh, they some have worked in the plants. They, they froze their, uh, you know, uh, priorities down that they just froze it and, uh, they plan to go back if they want to, but they're trying to make a better life themselves and they are doing it through knowledge and through skillful, uh, uh, you know, preparation and so forth, but in education that would be the most advancement that I've seen among the adults.

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: Now, [ ] have been a, uh, one of the major thing that I have observed as, uh, well, for an instance, when I came here, there was several people right here in this church couldn't even sign their name. They had come from up down south and they had grown accustomed to making their X and so forth and, and you know, I'm concerned about that and we brought some into this church here, sit ‘em down, start off just as you would a child in the, uh, first grade, uh, 22:00showing how to make an A

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: and show 'em how to sign a name and as a result, uh, you know, now each one of ‘em is signing their name as they should have been signing all their life, and so these are some of the thing- they are concerned about their tomorrows.

INGRAM: Okay, um, are you familiar with any black organizations that are doing things in Ypsilanti, [promoting progress in the] black community? Could you name some and individuals that you might know, or even more importantly, what are many of the black ministers in Ypsilanti doing today, okay, to, to bring about you know, uh, uh, better economic, social conditions [on the part of] blacks in Ypsilanti, or, or even religious things, you know?

LEGGETT: Well, there, there…I know this probably gonna bring about some criticism even, even among the other minister, black ministers, but there is not very much that preacher, pastor is going to accomplish as black ministers until 23:00we can straighten out our differences in religious beliefs and that...[laughs]

INGRAM: Is that...

LEGGETT: ...that's a major problem.

INGRAM: Is that, oh, that's a major problem here?

LEGGETT: That is a major problem.


LEGGETT: I mean...


LEGGETT: I mean we, we put up with each other, but we, we are very, disagreeing with each other. Uh, uh, uh, you know, a- as a result, some ministers just say, "Hey, I don't want nothing to do with it." You know, "I'm gonna stay, uh, neutral and whatnot," but you see, you got this kind of thing where some churches feel that they have to put down the other church in order for their church to gain the recognition that they would like for it to have and, uh, then there, uh, other churches that will come up and say, "If you're a member of that church, you're on your way to hell," and, and, and, and it brings about quite a bit and so even, even when we meet together as black ministers, even if we meet together as black preachers, there is this thing, you know, who is right? There is this thing, uh, which one of us, uh, pastors the greatest church? Which one 24:00of us, uh, you know, is really looked up on a- as one of the big preacher and, and yet all we have to do, I don't know, I think to bring about positive, um, uh, thinking and bring about positive in the future, we as black preacher have to first bring ourselves together and to find out what is best for the community rather than what is best for our individual churches,

INGRAM: Yeah, yeah.

LEGGETT: what is the best [for our] membership, and that's one of the thing that we have not yet, um, we, we just haven't accomplished that much as black minister and I think it's because, uh, y- you know, we have certain people, which I refuse to name, that really feel like you know, it's sort of like, it's sort of like ten preachers sitting up on a podium or a [ ].

INGRAM: Pedestal?

LEGGETT: ...and, and, and, and one preacher is sitting there with the mind that, "Everybody in this church want to hear me and they don't care nothing about the other nine. They really want to hear me and I know that," so you know, you have 25:00that tendency to say, "I am the big preacher," or, "I'm pastor of the biggest church. I got the most people. My church is this," and you got this kind of a problem and then you have the people that have a few member and they kind of sit in the corner and say, "Let's see what the big preacher's gonna say," and that's, that's, that's, when we come together as ministers, I like for every preacher to feel on the same level and we have not been able to feel that way.

INGRAM: Has that, has that been going on for a while?

LEGGETT: It's been going on since I've been [crosstalk]

INGRAM: Ever since you've been here, right? [crosstalk]

LEGGETT: That's been going on even before I came here. I mean, even, uh, the way I was pastoring back, uh, in Louisiana, i- it's, they have that kind of a classification. A lot of the people feel like the membership bring about classification. They s- feel like the big church is [ ] church.

INGRAM: What kind of impact do you think that's had, uh, on the black community in Ypsilanti?

LEGGETT: I think that it have brought about somewhat a challenge for some members. I think that if we, if we paint that type of picture, then the members of these churches will have the tendency to say, "Hey, look who we are. I'm from 26:00this church," or, "I'm from that church," and it, and that's the, um, that's the wrong attitude. Now, I think in a few days, uh, I don't know exactly when, there is a church, excuse me, of a different denomination, and if we put this on, it's going to be the first ever in Ypsilanti, and that's one of the churches of God and Christ.


LEGGETT: And this church, we are in planning now to bring about a complete musical with their choir and our choir, just [ ] their voices together is a start. I mean, now, this should have been is- uh, instigated by the ministers, but this is being done with people within the church. They're saying, "Hey, we're tired of you all separating us." You know, if we are worshiping one ... I think that's what they're saying to us, "If we are worshiping one God, then let us sing together. Let us pray together. Let us talk together. Let us walk together," but yet when we get back in our own individual pulpit, we're trying to say, "Hey, uh, you know, uh, but you belongs here," and I think that's, 27:00that's kind of a bad ... Of course I'm not patting myself on the back, but I'm never, I'm never taught people

INGRAM: Yeah, yeah.

LEGGETT: in my life, not even, uh, since I've been here, that Baptist is the only church that, uh, you know,


LEGGETT: you should be, you know, should be in.

INGRAM: Has the, uh, we've moved beyond the church in, uh, church leadership and the ministry, what about, uh, just black leaders in Ypsilanti? The leadership, has it in fact made the cause of those problems in, in terms of in the community? Has that had an impact on the, just on the, you know, the community unifying, homogenizing itself together to promote some, some various kinds of social changes? Like, who are the, who are the leading leaders today in Ypsilanti other than Mayor George Goodman, um, that are seeking to bring about change and, uh, enhance community life for black folk? Are, are any, are there any m- significant ministers, any significant individuals that are, that are doing something today?


LEGGETT: [Laughs] That is, that is a, a kind of a hard question there. If I tried to pinpoint that particular thing, maybe it would, uh, show prejudice. Uh, there are some minister that is very much concerned about, uh, and then there are other. Now, I, I remember, uh, Attorney Mullin, who is now the, um...

INGRAM: Ray Mullins.

LEGGETT: Ray Mullin, right, who is the, uh, president of, of the NAACP here in Ypsilanti [ ] now, and he brought about some ideas that I thought was excellent. Uh, he, he had spoke to me about some ideas, some things that he would like to do as president and, uh, after he told me some of his program, yet, I don't you know, I, I, I haven't gone to a meeting since. I have not, uh, attended one of the meeting or I have not been informed and I, I'm a kind of a year, you know, I just pay each year and I kind of wait to see what the leadership is going to do. Then you got people that, uh, the church folks is somewhat reluctant to even 29:00trust politicians.


LEGGETT: We feel, for an instance, so many time people come a- up in the church you know, just before election time and, and, and they will give you that, "I just want you to know," and, uh, you know, to get up on the podium and they say, um, uh, "I want to read my favorite verse," you know, and they would go into this religiously, you know, and they would go like, “‘The Lord is my shepard' and that means so much to me." You know, imagine that, uh, y- so, so, uh, uh, y- they want to leave an image that, "Hey, I'm a Christian, and I want you all to know that if you all help me get in, I'll come back another time," and you never see them anymore. You know, I mean, that's to me that's false representation. Even y- if there's no more than just to come back and said, "I really appreciate it."

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: Some don't even think enough is to just sit down and write. I had one, one man to do that and that's why I say, y- um, maybe I'm putting George Goodman 30:00on a [inaudible][crosstalk] pedestal, but, uh, he, he just, if he say he's gonna back and, s- and you know, he does it. He'll come back through here and just say, uh, maybe he, uh, ea- each time he come [inaudible] but sometimes he just waves his hands and I say, "No, no. You are the mayor. I want you to,” you know, and he'd get up and he'll thank the people and, and that's why I say as long as, uh, you know, we get that kind of representation or that people will at least [inaudible], "That wasn't a big thing to him," but it was a big thing to the people here in this church.

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: It's a big thing to me, uh, even as a preacher. I have that kind of a pride that if I can stand up and talk to the mayor of the city,

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: I, I don't know. Uh, may- maybe it, it bothers no one else, but I, I, I feel a certain sense of pride. If I stand up there with the chief of police, y- of the police department, if I stand up and started talking with him and people started passing, I don't know. I have that sense of pride. "Hey, look, wh- this is the chief of police," but, uh, but when they fail to recognize us...



LEGGETT: ...then the, there, there's a little tension that comes in there, so when they come in and say, "Hey, I'm a be by there [Sunday],” I said, "Good, but you won't say nothing."

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: You know, that's the kind of thing that we, we, we get into, but now for us black leaders that's really trying, uh, I, I just don't, um, I just don't see any one individual. There are several that is just, you know, kind of more or less, I think waiting on, uh, someone to say, "Let's go," and, and I don't know who that person is. I, I don't know that person...

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: ...that will get up today and be a Martin Luther King, or be a Charles [ ], someone like that, would get up and say, "Let's go," and the people will follow behind. We j- I don't see that leadership in, in Ypsilanti. Maybe it's here, but I haven't, I haven't found it yet.

INGRAM: You haven't found it?


INGRAM: Oh wow. That's, that's interesting, to say the least. So you're saying, 32:00[in essence, you’re saying] saying that you don't see any major form of leadership in the black community then?

LEGGETT: I just don't see it. I just don't see it. Um...

INGRAM: What do you see as some possible viable alternatives to resolve or help mediate the situation or improve the condition, should I say?

LEGGETT: The one thing, get a black representative that is representing the south side. Let him get to know the people and the honest way you're going to do that, you're going to have to go to them. They're not going to come to you...

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: ...and let that black representative come through these churches where I would say 80% of the people are on Sunday, maybe he could come here one Sunday. I would give him the chance to let the people know what some of the ideas. "Give us some leadership. Let us know. Tell us how we can help. Get us involved," and the honest way you're gonna get a community out of a [ ] is they 33:00have to get involved themselves and it's impossible to get involved when we don't know where to go.

INGRAM: Mm-hmm.

LEGGETT: No one have come here this year and I got a letter now that, uh, has to do something with some kind of, um, economic situation where that they are asking the church to give us a hand because if, uh, if you all don't give us a hand on that, we, the revenue's going to be cut off next year. You know, that's, that's the, all this kind of, uh, a, a, a, a,

INGRAM: Fundraiser.

LEGGETT: you know, you get what I'm saying. The honest way they use us is when that it's going to take some money away or something like that.

INGRAM: Right, right.

LEGGETT: And, and when you said, "Take the money away, taking it from who?" Taking it out of his pocket or her pocket or whatnot, but I'm saying if, if that avenue then tell us how we can bill this program, no? Okay. For an instance right now, uh, we have, uh, a bus service. Like, we pick up a whole lot of kids all over the city of Ypsilanti and in the township and we bring them to this 34:00church everyday and there is a concern that [furnish the luncheon] here. Okay. Now, we don't get nothing. The church don't get nothing.


LEGGETT: Uh, we have just like our gas bill come out this money, $600 just for gas this month for hauling these kids back and forth. We don't ask for nothing. If we feel that we have helped a kid, even though these people are furnishing the food, but we would like to think that the recreation and this religious guide that we have given them across the summer, we have a couple of ‘em a week, that we have contribute something.


LEGGETT: Not that you know, I mean, what I'm saying, even though it's costing us, but we want to have a good feeling about this thing that we have, but we need one person. It don't have to be a whole lot of 'em, that each one of us as, uh, as citizens of the city of Ypsilanti that can look at it and say, "Okay, where do we go?" Even if it's you, we [ ] "Where do we go from here?" You know, 35:00you say, "Okay. Uh [claps], do that." Get you some strong arms you know, to hold you up and stuff like that and, and, and you know, add a couple of clergymen, that you know, clergy in there and, uh, and let the clergy keep the other clergy, uh, and so that we will, we'll be fighting for the same cause, and right now we've, what cause are we fighting for?


LEGGETT: I, I don't know.

INGRAM: [I understand]. Well, Reverend Leggett, I, I'd like to thank you for providing me with this opportunity. [Oh, I know what I meant to] ask you. Tell me something about your background training, school training. I'm getting the thing on all the ministers too.

LEGGETT: All right.


LEGGETT: Well, um, I finished high school in the state of Mississippi at a school you call Marion High School. [ ] [wasn’t an] accredited school and I ended up going back to high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the El Paso High School where I...

INGRAM: What year?

LEGGETT: ...gr- that was in ni- I went back after when I went in the service.


LEGGETT: That was in 1954.


LEGGETT: And after that I had a tour in the army and I stayed there until 1958 and I got out of the army 1958 and that's where I attended Denver University 36:00there and I left there in 1960, uh, I had gone there, uh, three and a half years. After leaving there, I went back to the south and I had my degree there from Jackson State in Jackson, Mississippi. My further studies, I went to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Gulfport, Mississippi there at the southern there and there I have a Bachelor of Theology there. But, uh, I don't know, I think the, every opportunity that I get to try to further my education,


LEGGETT: I try to take it. I have taken courses here in Detroit Bible College since I've been here. I've also had courses in drug abuse and drug [users] at Michigan University here in Ann Arbor.

INGRAM: Okay. It's been a general policy of, uh, I'm going to have this tape transcribed and typed out, and once it's typed out you'll receive a copy of it in the mail and it'll allow you an opportunity to, to read the document, to make deletions or additions...


LEGGETT: Thank you.

INGRAM: ...um, to what you might have so that it would more reflect, you know, what our conversation's all about today.

LEGGETT: All right.

INGRAM: I'd like to thank you.

LEGGETT: My pleasure.

0:00 - Thoughts on coming to Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: INGRAM: today. Today's date is August the 1st, 1981 at six o’clock, uh, pm. Reverend Harvey Leggett, when did you first arrive at Ypsilanti?

LEGGETT: I came here July of 1970.

INGRAM: From where?

LEGGETT: From Louisiana, a place you call Slidell, right up from New Orleans

Segment Synopsis: Reverend Leggett gives a brief history of his family and coming to Ypsilanti to minister at St. John's Missionary Baptist Church. He is asked about his impressions, coming from the south in 1970, of Ypsilanti's Black community and race relations in the city.

Keywords: African-American churches in Ypsilanti; Armor Harding; Deacon Tipton; Emma Lous Bass; Ethel McGee Leggett; George Goodman; Helen Harry; John H Burton; Mamie Dixon; Nirmai Leggett; Reverend Ervin Leggett; Reverend Harvey Leggett; Slidell, Louisiana; St. John Baptist Church; Thomas Leggett; Ypsilanti High School; Ypsilanti race relations; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: Ypsilanti (Mich.)--History. Race relations--Michigan--Ypsilanti--History. African American churches.

10:41 - Political life in Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: INGRAM: Uh, in the last, in, in the last 11 years, what kinds of, uh, advancements have, uh, blacks made in the area of politics here? Do you, do you, do you see any advancement made on the part of blacks? Like, I'm referring specifically to black participation into the, uh, local political structure here such as black serving coun- counsel members, having some input, some participation, some decision making, in the decision making process that affect the lives of, of, of blacks on the south side, for example? [ ]?

LEGGETT: I have seen a, a great deal of concern and there has been quite a bit of input that have been, uh, put into the south side, especially and this is where we passed it in this particular area, and yet, uh, the major criticism also come from among the blacks.

Segment Synopsis: Reverend Leggett gives his assessment of political life on Ypsilanti's south side. He discusses then Mayor George Goodman and the nobilization of the city's Black vote in elections.

Keywords: George Goodman; Monroe Avenue; Rev. Harvey E. Leggett Sr.; St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church; Ypsilanti African-American religious leaders; Ypsilanti City Council; Ypsilanti race relations; Ypsilanti, Michigan

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

Hyperlink: Red and listen to A.P. Marshall's interview with George Goodman.

16:25 - Business owners and religious leaders in the city

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Partial Transcript: INGRAM:Um, when you came here in back in the 1970, '71, did you notice any, uh, blacks that were owners of businesses in Ypsilanti and if so, could you provide me with their names and then the, the kind of business that they had? Any, any blacks that own businesses? That you noticed?

LEGGETT: Uh, that would take a lot of hesitation. Uh, uh...

INGRAM: You had John Barfield here…

Segment Synopsis: Reverend Leggett and the interviewer discuss Black political leaders in Ypsilanti centered on businesses, the church and city government. Reverend Leggett asserts that the churches need to find common ground and work together. Rev. Leggett also discusses Ypsilanti's Black leadership in the early 1980s.

Keywords: African-Americans and education; Black businesses in Ypsilanti, Michigan; Church of God in Christ; East Michigan Avenue; Harvey E Leggett; Holmes Road; John Barfield; John Ratcliffe; Mayor George Goodman; NAACP Ypsilanti; Officer Hall; Ray Mullins; Russell Construction; Thunderbird Bowling Alley; Willow Run NAACP; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: African American business enterprises. African American leadership. African American churches.

35:30 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: INGRAM: Tell me something about your background training, school training. I'm getting the thing on all the ministers too.

LEGGETT: All right.


LEGGETT: Well, um, I finished high school in the state of Mississippi at a school you call Marion High School. [ ] [wasn’t an] accredited school and I ended up going back to high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the El Paso High School where I...

Segment Synopsis: In the final moments of the conversation, Reverend Leggett gives a brief account of his long educational history and the degrees he has received.

Keywords: Colorado Springs, Colorado; Denver University; El Paso High School; Jackson State University; Marion High School; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Subjects: African Americans--Education--History.

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