WILLIAMS: She, well, she’s probably forgotten a lot too, just like myself, because,


WILLIAMS: She’s about 92.

MARSHALL: Well, now, let me see, Mrs. Williams, I’m ask you some questions that I asked you before, except the last time I saw you, [TELEPHONE RINGS] I was not, uh, [ ]

WILLIAMS: Excuse me

MARSHALL: All right.


MARSHALL: Now some of the things [ ] you know I know the answers to them, but I’m asking you so they get on the record here. Now. ’Course you’re Nina Williams now. What was your maiden name?


MARSHALL: You were Nina

WILLIAMS: Nina Kersey.

MARSHALL: Kersey. Okay. Do you mind giving me your birthdate? Or is that a secret?

WILLIAMS: No, no, [laughs] no secret, ’cause I’m proud of it. Um, May the 20th,





MARSHALL: Long time.


WILLIAMS: And I really feel


WILLIAMS: proud that I am that old.


WILLIAMS: and can

MARSHALL: I think you should. I really think you should. Now. What was your father’s name?

WILLIAMS: James Henry Kersey.

MARSHALL: James Henry Kersey. Now, what was your mother’s name?

WILLIAMS: Maryann Emmanuel Kersey.

MARSHALL: Maryann Emmanuel

WILLIAMS: Emmanuel is her maiden name.

MARSHALL: Okay. Now. Can you tell me anything about the Emmanuels? Where were they from?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don’t know, my, they, my mother was born, her, my mother’s mother


WILLIAMS: She was born Erie, Pennsylvania. My mother was born in Erie, Pennsylvania.

MARSHALL: Erie, Pennsylvania.

WILLIAMS: In a Dutch colony. But I never heard her, I got her father’s picture.



WILLIAMS: but I, ’course, I’ve never seen any of them


WILLIAMS: you know. But, uh, she was a twin, you know,

MARSHALL: Oh, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: and, um, quite a large family.

MARSHALL: Now, how did sh—did she migrate here or did your husband, did your father find her and bring her here?

WILLIAMS: My father found her and brought her, from Canada, see, they


WILLIAMS: they both, my father was born in Indiana,


WILLIAMS: on an Indian reservation,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: and his parents took him to Canada, and her parents took her to Canada.

MARSHALL: I see, uh-huh, uh-huh. And so they met over

WILLIAMS: They met in Canada.

MARSHALL: in, say, in Ontario someplace, uh-huh. And then they migrated to Ypsilanti.


MARSHALL: But they were married in Canada.

WILLIAMS: Oh yes, they were married and had two children when they came here.

MARSHALL: Now, there were, there were two children born in Canada. Who were they?


WILLIAMS: Yeah. Herman and Oscar.


WILLIAMS: Oscar died.

MARSHALL: Os—how do you spell that?


MARSHALL: Oscar. Okay, okay. Now, Herman, I think you’ve given me some information

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: about Herman. You don’t happen to remember Herman’s birthday, do you?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was April the 20th, wait a minute, I’m going to get this straight, eighteen…I think it was, eighteen…I can’t say right now.

MARSHALL: Well, that’s all right.

WILLIAMS: I could find out but I


WILLIAMS: can’t say it right now.

MARSHALL: Don’t worry about it, now.


MARSHALL: I’m not going to push you on anything, okay? Now,

WILLIAMS: I was looking at that this morning, too.

MARSHALL: How many,

WILLIAMS: But I can find it in a second, I’ve got his, um…he was born in 1882.




MARSHALL: okay, that’s good, okay. Now, and he died [ ] give me a death date also since you got it.




MARSHALL: 1964, okay. Now, uh, what other children were there, in addition to those two?

WILLIAMS: Well, there was Harrison,

MARSHALL: And yourself.

WILLIAMS: there was Harrison,

MARSHALL: Harrison,

WILLIAMS: and there was, uh,

MARSHALL: Know what year he was born?

WILLIAMS: He was born in, um, in 1888.





WILLIAMS: And then there was Ernest,


WILLIAMS: I don’t remember, I was very little, and I don’t remember.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. Now, I got to ask you this, that Ernest,


MARSHALL: that wouldn’t be the Ernest that’s up on one of the windows of the churches, would it?


MARSHALL: Was that it?

WILLIAMS: uh-huh.

MARSHALL: That’s the one that’s up there?

WILLIAMS: Because he was four—14 or 16 when he passed.



MARSHALL: Passed at around 14 or 15 or 16, something like that.


MARSHALL: Okay. All right, any other children?

WILLIAMS: And then there was the, then Bernice, my sister,

MARSHALL: Bernice, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: next, and then

MARSHALL: Remember her birthday?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, nine—eighteen ninety, let’s see, ninety-four, it would be.


MARSHALL: Eighteen ninety-four.

WILLIAMS: Four years older than I.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, okay.

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. Eighteen, that would be ninety-four, wouldn’t it.


WILLIAMS: And then there was Arden,






WILLIAMS: He was between my sister and I, he was born eighteen ninety-six I guess. And then I had a brother, Leonard, that’s Don’s,

MARSHALL: Leonard?

WILLIAMS: Don and Lee’s uh, father, he was born in 1900.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, uh-huh. What was that, about six,


MARSHALL: six children? How many of them still living? Just you?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. That’s all.

MARSHALL: Another one of those things that makes you proud

WILLIAMS: Makes you proud, and makes you lonely too, you know, sort of lonely.


MARSHALL: It’s the only thing they say about getting older, you, you, you, you get more and more lonely,


MARSHALL: because the people around you are no longer here.

WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, that’s right.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah. I can begin to see some of that myself, because I mean, kids I went to school with,


MARSHALL: Uh, every now and then, I have to get on a plane and go home, somebody else has died


MARSHALL: that I was close to, you know? [Laughs] Um, okay, now, were you, you were born in Ypsilanti


MARSHALL: and so you have, have you lived all your life here, or part of your life someplace else?

WILLIAMS: Well, I, right in Michigan, I, I, in 1942, I moved to Romulus,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: that’s right out here,


WILLIAMS: I stayed there in sixty-six.

MARSHALL: Now that’s when you were married,


MARSHALL: but you weren’t married to the Williams then


MARSHALL: That was to whom?

WILLIAMS: I was married to Williams then, yes.

MARSHALL: Oh, you were married to Williams


MARSHALL: then, I see, uh-huh, uh-huh. And then you came back here after he died?



MARSHALL: Uh-huh. Now, what was Williams’ first name?


MARSHALL: Walter Williams. Was he from Ypsilanti originally? He was,

WILLIAMS: No, he was South Carolina.

MARSHALL: South Carolina.

WILLIAMS: [Laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs] And he died in nineteen—

WILLIAMS: Sixty-six.

MARSHALL: Sixty-six. And then you returned to Ypsilanti.


MARSHALL: Now, I, uh, something else I got to get to, and this is backing up a little bit, when we talked to you earlier, I remember your talking about the house where you were then living.


MARSHALL: And you did not say this, but I got the impression that you lived in that house, well, you did say you lived in that house with your father

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was born in that house.

MARSHALL: Because you remember, because, yes, because you remember there working with the plans for Brown Chapel,


MARSHALL: but I never did ask you, did your father build that house?


WILLIAMS: Well, he drew the blueprints,

MARSHALL: He drew—

WILLIAMS: and he worked on it, but I’m not saying, I don’t think he was the, I don’t know, I know he worked on that church.

MARSHALL: No, the house.

WILLIAMS: But I knew he—

MARSHALL: The house.

WILLIAMS: Oh the house,

MARSHALL: The house where you lived.

WILLIAMS: Oh yes, he built that.



MARSHALL: Because he was a carpenter.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah.

MARSHALL: And he built a lot of houses

WILLIAMS: Lot of houses

MARSHALL: around Ypsilanti. Yeah. So I, I, wanted to make sure I had that, that that is an old house, and it is one where you were born,


MARSHALL: And one where your father—you remember living there as a little girl,

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah,

MARSHALL: and, uh, I think I said in that other one, that it was in that house where the plans


MARSHALL: and so forth for Brown Chapel

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. He kept them on this big board,

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh,

WILLIAMS: you know, with tacks,

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh,

WILLIAMS: behind the front door, and we’d better not touch that.

MARSHALL: [Laughs].

WILLIAMS: And on the weekend, the pastor would come up there, and, and the 10:00trustees, you know,


WILLIAMS: they would get at the table in the dining room, study this thing.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Now, he was a carpenter, but didn’t he have a brother who was a carpenter, also?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, Uncle George, he was a carpenter too.

MARSHALL: George was a carpenter, uh-huh.


MARSHALL: Now, somehow I got an impression that there was another brother, I guess I got that from Henry, there was another brother who evidently moved to Detroit, but he was not a carpenter.

WILLIAMS: Another of my father’s brothers?

MARSHALL: Yes. Now that, yeah, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: He had an older brother,


WILLIAMS: but I don’t know what Uncle John was. I didn’t—

MARSHALL: She didn’t know what he did, but she thought—I got the impression that he didn’t live here in Ypsilanti.

WILLIAMS: No, he didn’t live here.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Well, I, I, I, I said Detroit, I got,


MARSHALL: I don’t know whether, where he lived, but I remember her saying he 11:00did not live here.


MARSHALL: Well, there were those two brothers who were both carpenters.



WILLIAMS: Uncle John, he was uh, he was much older than they were.

MARSHALL: I see, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: He was a Kersey, but there must have been a, I don’t know. [Laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: He was—I wish you could have—he, he looked just like a picture,


WILLIAMS: he just looked like an old Kentucky colonel,


WILLIAMS: He always wore this swing-tail coat and the hard-top hat, and [laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs] You were out one of those pictures, [weren’t you]? That’s the other thing

WILLIAMS: No, I don’t have Uncle John’s picture.

MARSHALL: That’s the other thing I meant to do, I have your pictures to bring to you,

WILLIAMS: Yes, you do!

MARSHALL: Preserved quite well!


MARSHALL: And I—the line I think about last night in thinking about this visit with you, and I said, I want to remember to go—pick up those pictures and take 12:00them to Mrs. Kersey. Now I have to come back down here to bring them, come, make a little trip to bring them pictures. [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: [Laughs] Well, as long as I know they’re all right.

MARSHALL: Well, you know I used some of them, I used some of them


MARSHALL: in the book. [Laughs] But no, I don’t intend to lose them.

WILLIAMS: Oh, I’ve got so many pictures all over.


WILLIAMS: When I moved,

MARSHALL: Now, I was just thinking,

WILLIAMS: When I moved, I had big boxes of pictures.


WILLIAMS: And they’re out to my granddaughter’s, out to Patti’s.


WILLIAMS: In a trunk.

MARSHALL: Well, now, uh, we, uh, you of course were born here and raised, where did you go to school?

WILLIAMS: Ypsi High, they used to call it Central Schools.

MARSHALL: Central Schools.


MARSHALL: That was down here on Cross.


MARSHALL: You, you, you, that, was that a high school, or where’d you go as an elementary school?

WILLIAMS: Well, it went from, all on through

MARSHALL: Oh, I see,

WILLIAMS: It had twelve grades.

MARSHALL: It went all the way, twelve grades.


WILLIAMS: Yeah, it had twelve grades.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. And,

WILLIAMS: Only school I ever went to.


WILLIAMS: Only school, well, after my sister graduated, she went to college

MARSHALL: Yeah. did she go to Eastern, Bernice?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, what’d they call it?

MARSHALL: Well, Normal.

WILLIAMS: Normal. Normal.


WILLIAMS: Well, it’s the same thing.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Sh—she—let me ask you something else, which has nothing to do with your family at all. On the tape that was done of Martha Neely, she said something about going to the Normal School and graduating. Now, that was somewhere about 1916. Did you know, do you remember anything about that? This is Martha Neely.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I know. Now, I think they went to the, to the Ypsilanti high school.


MARSHALL: Well, she went through high school.

WILLIAMS: Oh, she went through high school.

MARSHALL: But then she says she went to

WILLIAMS: And then she went to the Normal.

MARSHALL: went to the Normal.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah.

MARSHALL: And graduated. Because she said that the fact that she graduated didn’t mean she could get a job. So what she did, so, so, she said if she’d wanted to go South, she could’ve gotten a job, but she couldn’t get a job here.

WILLIAMS: Well, at that time, they would graduate you, but they wouldn’t give you a certificate to teach.

MARSHALL: I see, uh-huh. I guess that what it was.

WILLIAMS: Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. I pray you can erase that.

MARSHALL: Well, I think, you, you’re not the only one that said, and I think that’s part of history.


MARSHALL: That’s part of history. We all went through that.



WILLIAMS: My mom’s, my mom’s sister


MARSHALL: She said—

WILLIAMS: went to college, but she got her graduation, you know, certificate to teach, ’cause I have it.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. Well, she taught.

WILLIAMS: Who, my sister, yeah she taught.

MARSHALL: Your sister. ’Cause she taught down here

WILLIAMS: She taught for about twenty-eight years.

MARSHALL: Yeah. She taught, I know I have a picture of her at Adams School.

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: Yeah, I knew she had taught. Now, your sister was quite a musician.


MARSHALL: Did you have any other musicians in the family?

WILLIAMS: Herman was a


WILLIAMS: Herman was the musician. He could, Herman could play most any instrument. Piano, organ, and all the wind instruments


WILLIAMS: he could play,


WILLIAMS: but not the string instruments.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: But he could play all the wind instruments. Well, my father was a music teacher.

MARSHALL: Your father was a music teacher.

WILLIAMS: He was a music teacher in Canada.

MARSHALL: Oh. I didn’t know that. And, uh, now, do you remember that era had 16:00anything to do with, uh, I know Bernice did, tell me about that connection with any singing groups? Do you remember that, directing any singing groups?

WILLIAMS: She never directed any,

MARSHALL: She just played.

WILLIAMS: She just played.

MARSHALL: Well, what about Herman?

WILLIAMS: Herman didn’t direct, he just played.

MARSHALL: Did any of the, any of the Kerseys have anything to do with the formation of, of, say, community singing groups, or church singing groups?

WILLIAMS: No, I don’t think they did have anything to, now my father, he was the, the director of the choir there for, oh, gosh, I don’t know how many years, 21 or 22 years.


MARSHALL: At Brown Chapel.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. He had the choir, he was the director of the choir.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. Now, all those, uh, all these questions I, I’m asking you now, I remember you telling me something else, too, was it your father or your uncle, or your father, you were telling me, liked horses?

WILLIAMS: That was my uncle.

MARSHALL: That was your uncle.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, uncle George.

MARSHALL: You showed me a picture of him, some pictures of him with his horses.

WILLIAMS: Crazy about his horses.

MARSHALL: [Laughs] Now, somewhere I have picked up, Mrs. Williams, this bit of information and I want your reaction to it. I heard that when the Kerseys first 18:00got here, of course they came here as skilled people, and it wasn’t very long before they had acquired some property, and this property is out there in the neighborhood of where Flick lives now


MARSHALL: and somebody told me that that was, that they used to refer to that area out there as “Kerseyville.”

WILLIAMS: [Laughs] Well I don’t know, now my uncle, he uh, bought property on Second Avenue. He brought—bought property on Second Avenue. My father bought property on First Avenue.


WILLIAMS: because he bought all the property from where I live, that big house on down to Michigan Avenue.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. And then I heard that, uh,

WILLIAMS: And Uncle George he had, had other property.


MARSHALL: Well then I heard that as each, as each children would get married, you would get, you would receive a gift of a place to build a home.

WILLIAMS: That’s right, that’s right. I’ve been paying taxes in Ypsilanti ever since I was 20 years old.

MARSHALL: Yeah? Well, you know, I, I guess, I, that interests me, because

WILLIAMS: And we had to pay our taxes, too,

MARSHALL: Yeah, you had to pay,


MARSHALL he’d give you the property, but you had to

WILLIAMS: we had to pay those taxes.

MARSHALL: pay the taxes. Well, you know, that interests me, because now, uh, uh, in, in, in, in, in my case, in my mother’s case, she didn’t have any [shoes], she lived in the country, and coming up where we did, all of her children got a horse and a cow, and I remember the cow and the horse that my 20:00mother had, given to her by her mother, because one of the calves to the cow that my mother had was mine, and she was mine because I had the flu, in 1918,

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah.

MARSHALL: And they gave me my father brought this calf in and gave it to me, and we named that calf Cherry, and that’s the reason I remember all this.


MARSHALL: But I remember that she gave each one of my mother’s brothers and sisters a horse and a cow, when they got married. It wasn’t exactly a dowry, because a dowry is usually given to a girl


MARSHALL: but she gave it to the boys, too. [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: [Laughs]

MARSHALL: Then they told me that the Kerseys, all had, because they had this property then, and that’s why the Kerseys are there now, Flick’s



MARSHALL: still on the old


MARSHALL: place, and so are you. Uh-huh. That’s interesting.


MARSHALL: Um, tell me about this—how much do you know about the other Kerseys? Now I know Bernice married a Kersey, didn’t she?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, her, yeah, she did.

MARSHALL: What do you know about that [ ]

WILLIAMS: I don’t know anything about that.


WILLIAMS: I really don’t.

MARSHALL: They just weren’t related to the Kerseys of [ ] side.

WILLIAMS: I really don’t know,


WILLIAMS: I really don’t know. I really don’t know anything about, you know, their background.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Was she, was she was married twice.


MARSHALL: because when I got here, she had married this old man out here,

WILLIAMS: Mr. Hawkins.

MARSHALL: Haw—Hawkins,


MARSHALL: Uh-huh. I got to know him regular. See, we had just met Bernice.


WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.

MARSHALL: We just met her, because as we came in, she was very friendly to us, and then the next thing we knew, she was in the hospital,


MARSHALL: and the next thing we knew she was dead. So we never really got to know her that well.

WILLIAMS: Well, she was a beautiful person. When she passed, I just thought I had, I would too.

MARSHALL: [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: But I’m still here.

MARSHALL: Yes, well, that’s something for you to do. [Laughs]


MARSHALL: I always say that, as long as the Lord has something for us to do, he needs us here.


MARSHALL: And when he gets, when, when we, when he’s though with us, then we go.

WILLIAMS: Go bye-bye, eh? [Laughs]

MARSHALL: [Laughs] Oh, sure. Now, let me see, we came, we coming on down, moving 23:00on down now into a period of the, talking about the housing. Now, one of the things that I am looking for, I want to go take some pictures of some of the old houses where, where us-ses, us, lived. Where we lived. Now I know your house,


MARSHALL: And I, I want to go by and take pictures.


MARSHALL: What are some of the other houses in this area where, where colored folks lived, in those days? Some of the older houses where we lived.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Well, a lot of them are gone, you know.

MARSHALL: Yeah, I know. There weren’t too many real nice houses that we lived in, in those days, but we didn’t have money, lot of us didn’t have money to build that kind of houses, that would last.


WILLIAMS: Well there’s my house, you know, I was, and the one next to it was my brother’s, and the one next to that was my other brother’s and all, you know.

MARSHALL: In other words, the houses that’s north of you is one, too?


MARSHALL: Okay. And the house next to that


MARSHALL: is an old house also?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, that’s a pretty old house, I think that’s a pretty old house.

MARSHALL: And both of those were your brothers’.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Yeah.

MARSHALL: How old is the house where Flick lives?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don’t know.

MARSHALL: It isn’t that old.

WILLIAMS: It isn’t that old, no. Course he lived in the other one first, the one next to him,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: He built that one, lived in that one a while, and then he moved in the one he’s in now.

MARSHALL: I see. Well, I, I, I want to get around and take s—I was asking 25:00peo—I was asking questions about the house where Mrs. Clark lives


MARSHALL: Well, I understand it’s a pretty old house.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, it is. I’ll tell you another old house. You know where Gretchen Roach lives, on Second Avenue?

MARSHALL: Gretchen who?

WILLIAMS: Roach. She’s on Second Avenue, what’s her number? I don’t know. Now that’s a real old house.

MARSHALL: Gretchen Roach

WILLIAMS: Yeah. But she didn’t, you know, she has, um, let me see how long she been in that house, but it belong to the, you know, another person,


WILLIAMS: but that was a real old house on Second Avenue, and that’s a nice house,


WILLIAMS: you know. And the house, oh, there’s several old ones, let me see, I 26:00don’t, I don’t know those houses are all gone, I don’t know. There’s a house on the corner just as you go up Frederick Street, you know, from First Avenue, you know, that short street?

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh.

WILLIAMS: Right at the end of that street. You know where my daughter lives? No?

MARSHALL: Don’t think so.

WILLIAMS: well, it’s two doors from her. Now that’s an old house.

MARSHALL: On Frederick Street?

WILLIAMS: That’s old Washington house. No, it’s on Second Avenue, right at the end of the Frederick.

MARSHALL: Oh, I see.

WILLIAMS: Frederick just goes as far as

MARSHALL: on Second Avenue

WILLIAMS: Second Avenue. And then the street ends there. Frederick ends there.


MARSHALL: Okay. Now, one of the things that I picked up also, is that the Kerseys had such a good name, until, well, they were very much in demand,


MARSHALL: as builders.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Well, my father built so many houses here, some of them are still standing.


WILLIAMS: And my father worked on Pease Auditorium,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: he, he had a hand in that too.


WILLIAMS: I remember when they were working on that auditorium. They were short 28:00of carpenters,


WILLIAMS: so the contractor sent for a couple of men from the South, white men, come up here and work, you know. They came up here, and they saw that my father was colored, so they said, well, if we have to work with him, we won’t work. And the contractor said, well, if you don’t want to work with him, go back where you came from. Cause he’s the best one I got, and I’m not going to get rid of him. But they stayed.

MARSHALL: They stayed anyway. [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: They stayed. [Laughs]




MARSHALL: When you were a little girl growing up here, what would you do, for enjoyment?

WILLIAMS: Played. Played paper dolls, and.

MARSHALL: No, well, now, I’m—

WILLIAMS: Now we used to make our own toys and things, and my father used to make our carts.


WILLIAMS: You know. Our sleds, you know, toboggans, and. Lot of fun sliding down these hills here in Ypsilanti. Can’t do that now.


WILLIAMS: Too many cars.

MARSHALL: And then as you got older, you got interested in young men,

WILLIAMS: We went to church.

MARSHALL: You went to church. Well, you know, I, I know that, because even when I was young, we were always told, that’s where you found the good girls. [Laughs] My father went to church and found my mother there.


WILLIAMS: Is that so.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. But, uh, did you have any clubs?


MARSHALL: Social clubs, what social clubs did you belong to?

WILLIAMS: Now, um, we used to have a little sewing club, we’d meet on Saturday mornings,

MARSHALL: What was the name of it?

WILLIAMS: There was a hall, there on Michigan Avenue. It was the, oh. let me see, well, course it isn’t there now, what was that called? It was called, hm, I can’t think of the name of it, we used to go there on Saturday mornings. And then we had a junior Palm Leaf Club.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.


MARSHALL: You were, you were a Junior Palm Leaf.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Yeah. And just that, and go to church, course at church, they used to have a lot of socials, you know,


WILLIAMS: box socials, and things like that, it was so much fun, on Friday, 31:00they’d have ice cream socials,

MARSHALL: Yeah. And then of course, as, as time went on, then you developed a, and movies came out around 1930 and then of course you’d go to the movies

WILLIAMS: Yeah, we didn’t go to very many movies, we didn’t.

MARSHALL: Well, who, did, did, did the, did the movie houses discriminate

WILLIAMS: Yeah, they did, so, it was stopped.

MARSHALL: That’s what kept me from going. I didn’t go either. I was fourteen years old before I even seen a movie.

WILLIAMS: Well there was a group here, that they, you know, protested, a group from here and Ann Arbor, too, and they closed it.

MARSHALL: Closed the gate up.


WILLIAMS: Yeah. And there was one in Ann Arbor that was discriminating, and they closed it.

MARSHALL: Closed it up too. Heh. Well, I understand Ypsilanti has not been all that good, in, in some respects, but in other respects it has been.


MARSHALL: That people, in general, have always gotten along quite well.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah.


WILLIAMS: In fact, when we were kids, the, the churches used to have a lot of little plays,


WILLIAMS: And they would ask us to be there, and I’ve been in many a play down at the Methodist Church, you know, because they would want us to come down there and be in their plays, especially if they had a part for an Indian. [Laughs]


MARSHALL: [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: And my brother Ernest, he used to sing in the choir down there, he had a beautiful voice.

MARSHALL: I’ve heard that, too.


MARSHALL: But at the time you came along, there weren’t any colored folks that belonged to that church.

WILLIAMS: No. I don’t think so.

MARSHALL: Why, the reason I ask that question is way back earlier they had. And they belonged to that church until Brown Chapel came, in fact for a while after Brown Chapel


MARSHALL: But I guess they soon got to the point where [ ]


WILLIAMS: Excuse me…see who this is.



WILLIAMS: That was Ruthie.

MARSHALL: What’s she talking about?

WILLIAMS: She said she has a ride to the club.

MARSHALL: Oh, okay.

WILLIAMS: She won’t be there when you get there.


WILLIAMS: She didn’t want you to rush.

MARSHALL: Okay. She has Palm Leaf tonight.


MARSHALL: Uh-huh. You were later, were you ever a Palm Leaf? I mean, as you got—


MARSHALL: Taught—you didn’t, you didn’t follow through on it.

WILLIAMS: No. My mother was a charter member.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: I never joined them.


MARSHALL: Uh-huh. Uh, uh, as you, uh, course I know there was some circumstances under which, that weren’t too pleasant, Do you re—well, yes. [Who] we at the end of the World War One, you were still—you were around in those days, and of course some pretty nasty things went on across the United States.


MARSHALL: Did any of those things go on here?

WILLIAMS: Let me see, that was about in nineteen—

MARSHALL: Nineteen nineteen.

WILLIAMS: Fourteen…

MARSHALL: The war started in nineteen fourteen, we got into it in nineteen seventeen, it was over in nineteen eighteen,


MARSHALL: And then along about nineteen, latter part of eighteen, nineteen, and nineteen nineteen and nineteen twenty, was a rash of lynchings, across the United States. And North and South.



MARSHALL: The Ku Klux Klan just was around.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, but I don’t think they bothered too much around here. I know they did at one time, they had sent word out that they were going to come out here and, and, uh, run all the colored people out of Ypsilanti.


WILLIAMS: But every colored person here I think was armed,


WILLIAMS: that night. And they never showed up.

MARSHALL: [Likely] was.

WILLIAMS: And they never showed up.

MARSHALL: You know—

WILLIAMS: You know Marshal Scott, he was, he, he, he got word to everybody.

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh. Well, that’s interesting, now of course, I was in Oklahoma, small town. And that same thing happened, very much the same way there.


MARSHALL: But nobody paid any attention to that. Most people didn’t.


MARSHALL: But there were some people who did. Because I remember that night we went to church, and we passed people pulling carts and everything else. But my 37:00father went home and loaded up his shotgun.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Stay at home.

MARSHALL: And by the way, I don’t know whether I told you this, my father was a carpenter also. [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: That’s the best trade you can have.

MARSHALL: It’s a good trade.


MARSHALL: So he got in in 1924.

WILLIAMS: Now my brother Herman was a carpenter, Arden was a carpenter, and Leonard was a carpenter. All three of them were carpenters.

MARSHALL: Well, my father died in 1924, and that sort of left us high and dry for awhile, cause my mother was, like a lot of women in those days, my mother had been brought up to be a mother,


MARSHALL: And a wife.


MARSHALL: So she had no skills. And, as, and, when she had to go to work, after she died, there was only one place for her to go, and that was in somebody’s 38:00kitchen, and that’s what she did. But she worked very hard to take care of us, and help us hold our heads up,


MARSHALL: So I’m used to, I mean, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m accustomed to the kind of thing that you’re talking about


MARSHALL: Now uh, uh, after World War One, of course, we sort of settled down, and then we got into a period of uh, a period of so-called prosperity, white folk prosperity, from about 1920 up until 1929, that was when the bottom fell out of everything.


MARSHALL: When I talk about that period as being a period of prosperity, do you remember it as such?


MARSHALL: That period the, the twenties, the twenties, do you remember the twenties as being a period of prosperity?


WILLIAMS: Well, I, I really don’t…remember


WILLIAMS: You know.

MARSHALL: Yeah. It was just a normal period. I bet you remember 1929.


MARSHALL: Were you old enough to lose any money?

WILLIAMS: Oh yes. We lost money. I thought it was a lot [ ] just a little bit.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, well, didn’t have much.


MARSHALL: What you had was in the house. [Laughs]

WILLIAMS: Cause I just built a house, we just built a house on Michigan Avenue.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. When you built the house in those days, Mrs. Williams, when you built—you say you just built a house on Michigan Avenue,


MARSHALL: Did you get financing?

WILLIAMS: No, we paid for things

MARSHALL: Pay as you go.



MARSHALL: But you couldn’t walk downtown to the bank and say, I want a [mortgage]

WILLIAMS: I guess you could have,


WILLIAMS: Just like that house up there now, it’s never had a mortgage on it

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

WILLIAMS: My father paid for the house, he built it, he paid for it, and he never had a mortgage on it.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

WILLIAMS: Now I think that’s sort of unusual.

MARSHALL: Yeah. One other thing I want to ask you about, too. This, this matter of insurance, life insurance, do you remember much about that?

WILLIAMS: No, we always had it.

MARSHALL: Tennessee?


MARSHALL: National?

WILLIAMS: Metropolitan.

MARSHALL: Metropolitan. Metropolitan.

WILLIAMS: That’s the only insurance we ever had.

MARSHALL: Only one you ever had. You al—you remember always having that.


MARSHALL: Well, I, I, Metropolitan has been around, it’s been, it’s been one of those was sort of [haven], to Negroes, I know, over a long period of time. Up 41:00to about 1900, however, there weren’t any insurances that would take me,


MARSHALL: and uh before that time, that’s why, so many, so many of us belonged to lodges, because in those days, we could pay our money into a lodge and the lodge would take care of us in our old age, take care of our widows and orphans, it wasn’t a lot, but it was something.


MARSHALL: But around 1900, of course, we had, well, [Mark and Mine] Mutual started, Banner Life started, and then we had our own insurances, but these were still little industrial insurances, but we didn’t get beat out of so much, and they became rather substantial. But it was since that time, oh gosh, even as I grew up, I couldn’t get first-rate insurances. It’s only after I got to be well, I was married, I was married and had a family before I was ever really 42:00able to get nice insurance.

WILLIAMS: Even Metropolitan?

MARSHALL: Well, Metropolitan, up until just a few years ago, what they sold all black people was the same thing. It was what they called an industrial type. And they wouldn’t sell a, they wouldn’t sell black folks regardless of what they did, any of that preferred insurances. That was their policy, until, until even after 1950.


MARSHALL: We had insurance with them. My family had insurance with them. But they were the kind of insurance where the man come around every week, and collect. It’s what we call an industrial type.

WILLIAMS: Oh, I see.

MARSHALL: But, see, what they, the kind of insurance I have now is a professional type.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah.

MARSHALL: And you’re based upon, based upon different criteria.


MARSHALL: But in the old days, they lumped all Negroes together, didn’t matter 43:00what you did, what kind of work you did, you bought an industrial type of insurance. And, uh, when we had Metropolitan,

WILLIAMS: Just for Negroes?


WILLIAMS: Just the Negroes?

MARSHALL: Well, they, no, they, well, industrial white folks got that, the laboring white folks.


MARSHALL: If you worked in the steel mill, you got the same kind of insurance that the, that the Negro schoolteacher got.

WILLIAMS: Now I see.

MARSHALL: See what I mean?


MARSHALL: But of course, now, they have changed it. But up until just a few years ago, that wasn’t so. I, uh, my wife and I was talking yesterday, I bought an insurance in Ypsilanti in nineteen, one in 1970, and one in 1972, with Equitable Life,


MARSHALL: after 10 years, it pays for itself.


WILLIAMS: Ten years?

MARSHALL: And it’s the size—After, after, after ten years.

WILLIAMS: After ten years.

MARSHALL: It pays for itself. I had a premium to come due on one that I took out in 1970, my premiums have been running eight hundred and fifty-eight dollars a year, and I paid it once a year, I wrote a check out and left it in the mailbox last night for the man, for fifty dollars. That’s all I owe, for the year. Because it earned enough to take care


MARSHALL: of itself. But see, we couldn’t, it was kind of [impossible] before. [Laughs]


MARSHALL: Well, and then we move into another period, there, we move into the period of the Second World War. What do you remember about the Second World War? Any of your folks go to war?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had two sons go to war.

MARSHALL: I haven’t asked you about your children.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have two sons.


MARSHALL: Tell me about all of your children.


MARSHALL: One, the oldest, we’ll start with the oldest one.

WILLIAMS: Rolanda’s oldest.

MARSHALL: Rolanda’s the oldest. What’s her birthday?

WILLIAMS: Eighteenth, I mean, excuse me, sixth of November, 1918.

MARSHALL: Sixth of November, 1918, okay, and, uh, then what’s the next one?

WILLIAMS: Then I got Edward,


WILLIAMS: Uh, he was born the thirteenth of January, 1921

MARSHALL: 13 January, 1921.

WILLIAMS: and Fritz was born on the


WILLIAMS: thirteenth of September.


WILLIAMS: Fritz. Frederick.

MARSHALL: Oh, Frederick. Thirteenth—

WILLIAMS: Thirteenth of September, 1922.

MARSHALL: You had three?


MARSHALL: Now, all the rest of them? Now these two boys went to war.


MARSHALL: They came back all right. Now they still living.

WILLIAMS: They don’t ever come back all right, but, I mean, they don’t ever 46:00come back the same,

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, no, you’re right.

WILLIAMS: I don’t think. War does change people.

MARSHALL: It changes, right. It changed me, too, it changed me.

WILLIAMS: It really changes them, uh-huh.

MARSHALL: Yeah, you’re right. My wife always said it changed me. I was married and had a child when I went, but I was still changed.


MARSHALL: So you’re right.

WILLIAMS: War does change everybody that takes part in it.

MARSHALL: They live here?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah.

MARSHALL: In Ypsilanti.


MARSHALL: Now, Rolanda of course has, has a family of her own, how many children does Rolanda have?


MARSHALL: Six children. [Laughs] How many, uh,

WILLIAMS: Edward doesn’t have any, and Frederick has one.

MARSHALL: Frederick has one. Then you didn’t, then of course with those there, you didn’t have anybody in the Korean war.



MARSHALL: Ah, let me see, I was just trying to think of other questions that I wanted to ask you, I guess the one question I wanted to, um, one thing I want to do with you again, I want to go down in my desk and get your pictures out and bring them back here, but then I want to come over, I’d like to come over, some time at your leisure, and see what other pictures and clippings you have. You gave me a number of clippings,


MARSHALL: and I have made copies of those, and yours are ready to come back, but there, I remember there are two or three others that I didn’t recognize at the time as being important, that I’d like to have, for example, one of your, your uncle with the horses. [Laugh]

WILLIAMS: Don’t you have that one?


MARSHALL: I don’t—I, I may have it. I can’t swear I do. All I know is I have all of your—everything I got from you is in an envelope.

WILLIAMS: Uh-huh, well, I’m going to tell you, you know, since I moved, I don’t know where all of my pictures are.


WILLIAMS: I wouldn’t know where to start looking for them.

MARSHALL: Well, I just, you know,

WILLIAMS: Some of them are at my granddaughter’s, and some at my daughter’s, and I guess there’s some still up there at the house.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Anybody living in the house?



WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have it rented, and [it renters]

MARSHALL: You don’t want to leave it vacant.


MARSHALL: Well, I just want to say, is it, now, is it possible some time for, oh, say some time in the spring, you had a couple of hours we get together with Rolanda and go over and, and go through those that you have over there?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: And just, just


WILLIAMS: I can have them, you know, look for them.

MARSHALL: Yeah, right, uh-huh. That’d be great, great. But the things that you gave me already have been very, very valuable.


MARSHALL: And the information you gave me, of course, was,

WILLIAMS: Well, I hope so, I hope so.

MARSHALL: also valuable. Now, it’s, it’s good, and, and you see, what I’m doing, and I think you understand that,

WILLIAMS: I can appreciate what you’re, what you’re doing, you know.

MARSHALL: I’m piecing together a lot of things. Well, I’m trying to piece together a lot of things.

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. It’ll be something like that other history.

MARSHALL: Yeah, right.

WILLIAMS: That other black.


WILLIAMS: That other—up to 1915.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you mean. And one was published about Michigan.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have it here.

MARSHALL: Yeah, I have a copy of that.


MARSHALL: Uh, that’s very good,

WILLIAMS: Uh-huh. Yeah.

MARSHALL: that’s a very good direction.


MARSHALL: And I’ve gotten a lot of information out of that.


MARSHALL: I found out, that’s where I found out about Fox the lawyer, who used 50:00to practice here, and, uh, Dickerson, Dickinson?

WILLIAMS: Doctor Dickerson,

MARSHALL: Dickerson, Dickerson, I found out about him first time in there.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, uh-huh, he was a, he was a wonderful physician.

MARSHALL: Now, did he deliver your children?

WILLIAMS: No, he delivered Edward and Fritz, my two boys.


WILLIAMS: But not Rolanda, she was born in Ann Arbor.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. Evidently he was quite a popular person, well-liked person.

WILLIAMS: He was, he was. Everybody…he was a trustee in the church.

MARSHALL: A trustee at Brown Chapel?


MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. In connection with Brown Chapel, when did you join Brown Chapel? Do you remember?

WILLIAMS: No. I don’t remember, you know me,


MARSHALL: Well, you sort of grew up in

WILLIAMS: You grow, you grow up in it.


WILLIAMS: But I really, i really joined in um, oh, what year would that have been, thirtee, nineteen,

MARSHALL: Well, let’s see, that would have been about nineteen-one, wouldn’t it?


MARSHALL: You see, you born in, you born in, no, not nineteen-one, that’s [your laughter],

WILLIAMS: Thirteen—it would have been nineteen eleven.

MARSHALL: Yeah. 1911.

WILLIAMS: Uh-huh. That’s when I really joined the church.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. Do you remember who the minister was there?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, Reverend Sheldon.

MARSHALL: Sheldon.

WILLIAMS: Reverend Sheldon. [safety have the old]


WILLIAMS: No, 1911.

MARSHALL: I mean, 1911, 1911, yeah. I was thinking, that was before I was even here,


WILLIAMS: [Laughs]

MARSHALL: My, my mother and father hadn’t even married in 1911. They married in 1912. I was born in 1914. [Laughs]


MARSHALL: Ah, sure.

WILLIAMS: Well, I’ve really seen Ypsilanti grow, and seen a lot of things happen.

MARSHALL: There was a, gosh, I should have brought my little sheet of paper along, I had a piece of paper, had it around today, I think I left it at home, it was about a murder, I’ve been trying to find out about that murder, it took place here, and it’s somewhere around 50 years ago

WILLIAMS: Who was that?

MARSHALL: Blackstone!


WILLIAMS: Blackstone murder.

MARSHALL: Blackstone murder, you remember anything about that?

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I do.

MARSHALL: Where’d they get the word Blackstone? Was it Blackstone who was murdered?

WILLIAMS: That was the man’s name.

MARSHALL: Who was murdered.

WILLIAMS: No, that, uh,

MARSHALL: That did the murder.

WILLIAMS: that did the murdering.

MARSHALL: Now, was Blackstone black or white?

WILLIAMS: He was white. He was black. I’m trying to think of the man’s name they murdered. And I knew him so well, too, you know. What was his name?

MARSHALL: Well, that was about 50 years ago.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.

MARSHALL: So that would put it around 1930.

WILLIAMS: Mm-hmm. Yeah, because it was, um, shortly after I moved over on Second Avenue.


WILLIAMS: See, I built a house on Fir—on Michigan Avenue. And—

MARSHALL: That house still there?

WILLIAMS: No, there’s a gas station there.



WILLIAMS: Right up there where the, where the, there on the corner of First and Michigan.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: I built a house up there. My brother had the corner lot,

MARSHALL: Oh, yeah.

WILLIAMS: and I had the lot next to him, facing Michigan Avenue. And he sold his lot to a gas station.


WILLIAMS: And they wanted to buy mine. And at first I said no, and they said, well, you just might as well, because your brother sold his, and I know you don’t want to live in a gas station. So I sold it. And moved it. Didn’t sell the house, they gave me the house.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

WILLIAMS: Sold the property. I moved it. [ ] house Rolanda lives in now.

MARSHALL: Oh, it is? When’d you build that?


WILLIAMS: In nineteen, twenty, um, twenty-five.

MARSHALL: Twenty-five.

WILLIAMS: I moved it in 1930.

MARSHALL: I can’t blame you for moving it, it only five years old.

WILLIAMS: Moved it and didn’t take a thing out of it.


WILLIAMS: The, the Bow men, they were movers.


WILLIAMS: You know. Old man Bow and his brother, they moved that house.

MARSHALL: Oh, yeah.

WILLIAMS: All these things [that you] [ ].

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

WILLIAMS: Uh huh, so different than now, isn’t it?


WILLIAMS: And I bought the property from my uncle, Uncle George, cause he owned that property [ ].


MARSHALL: Well, can you think of anything important that I’m not asking?

WILLIAMS: No, I can’t

MARSHALL: Then I’ll think about tomorrow.

WILLIAMS: I can’t, I can’t think of anything.

MARSHALL: Well, I do appreciate your taking the time and, uh, because you have so much, I want to, I want to give you prior notice that it just might be after I get all this information together, there might be some missing links and I’ll be coming, ringing your telephone.

WILLIAMS: Well, any way I can help, I will.

MARSHALL: [I’m sure you would, I’m sure you would.]

WILLIAMS: You know, that’s what we’re here for, to help each other.

MARSHALL: I sure appreciate it, I sure appreciate it. Cause I want to, I want to finish this thing up, well, I’d like to finish it up in two years.



MARSHALL: In other words, I’d like to, now I’ll finish the research, by the end of '81, and I’d like to be ready to go to press by '82.


MARSHALL: Cause I have other things I want to do.

WILLIAMS: Well, that will be quite an accomplishment, won’t it?

MARSHALL: It would be, yes. But there’s other things I want to do, Mrs. Williams.


MARSHALL: Many things I want to do. I’ve been delving into—cut this off now.


MARSHALL: Uh, one thing that um, I, I guess I expected it and I, I’m not yet sure whether it ever occurred to you. I expected this being a very old town that there was some resentment of these people coming in from other parts of the 58:00country and settling in here, and disturbing the peace and quietude of the town. The Southerners, not only blacks, but also whites, that came in here to work for automobile industry somewhere around 1930, 1931, especially when Henry Ford started paying $5 a day.


MARSHALL: Did, is that, is that a true assessment of that?

WILLIAMS: I don’t think so.

MARSHALL: There hasn’t, you say there hasn’t been too much of that resentment.

WILLIAMS: No, no, mm-mm. I’ve never found it that way. I really haven’t.

MARSHALL: Well, I, I didn’t know, I, I, I say I expected it because the only other place I have to compare it to is Seattle, when you lived in Seattle.


MARSHALL: There was such a resentment of the local people of the people coming 59:00in from the South, who came in to work for Boeing Aircraft.

WILLIAMS: No, I don’t think that, I don’t think that was the case here in Ypsi.

MARSHALL: I’m glad to hear you say that, because somebody else said the same thing. Well, I’m going to pick myself up and go home.

0:00 - The Kersey family comes to Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: WILLIAMS: She, well, she’s probably forgotten a lot too, just like myself, because,


WILLIAMS: She’s about 92.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Williams is asked by A.P. Marshall about the names of her siblings and parents. A large, prominent family, the Kersey's were one of dozens of families that came to Ypsilanti from Canada in the decades following the Civil War.

Keywords: Arden Kersey; Bernice Kersey; Black communities in Canada; Buxton, Ontario; Erie, Pennsylvania, James Henry Kersey; Ernest Kersey; Harrison Kersey; Herman Kersey; Kersey family, Ypsilanti, Michigan; Leonard Kersey; Mary Ann Emanuel; Nina Kersey Williams; Oscar Kersey; Romulus, Michigan; Walter Williams

Subjects: African American families. Canada--Emigration and immigration. United States--Emigration and immigration.

Hyperlink: January 9, 1902. Ypsilanti Commercial death notice for Ernest Kersey.

8:26 - The Kersey brothers build Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Now, I, uh, something else I got to get to, and this is backing up a little bit, when we talked to you earlier, I remember your talking about the house where you were then living.


MARSHALL: And you did not say this, but I got the impression that you lived in that house, well, you did say you lived in that house with your father

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was born in that house

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Nina talks about her father James Henry and uncle George Kersey's work as carpenters, including building Ypsilanti's Brown Chapel AME.

Keywords: Brown Chapel AME; First Avenue; George Kersey; James Kersey; John Kersey; Nina Kersey Williams; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: African American families. African American churches. Carpenters.

Hyperlink: April 24, 1901 Ypsilanti Commercial article on the rebuilding of Brown Chapel.

12:35 - "Kerseyville"

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Well, now, uh, we, uh, you of course were born here and raised, where did you go to school?

WILLIAMS: Ypsi High, they used to call it Central Schools.

MARSHALL: Central Schools.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Williams talks about growing up in a musical family and the houses and properties owned by the Kersey family on Ypsilanti's First and Second Avenue. Mr. Marshall asks about the old homes in the area and Mrs. Kersey remembers the many other homes and buildings of Ypsilanti that her father worked on, including Eastern Michigan University's Pease Auditorium.

Keywords: A.P. Marshall; Adams St. School; Bernice Kersey; Black teaching students; Brown Chapel Choir; Central School; First Avenue; First Ward School; Floyd Kersey; Frederick Street; George Kersey; Gretchen Roach; Herman Kersey; James Henry Kersey; Martha Neely; Michigan Avenue; Michigan Normal College; Nina Kersey Williams; Pease Auditorium; Second Avenue; Ypsilanti High School

Subjects: African American families. Ypsilanti (Mich.)--History. Carpenters.

Hyperlink: Tintype photo of Nina's uncle, George Kersey.

29:05 - Growing up in early 1900s Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: When you were a little girl growing up here, what would you do, for enjoyment?

WILLIAMS: Played. Played paper dolls, and.

MARSHALL: No, well, now, I’m—

WILLIAMS: Now we used to make our own toys and things, and my father used to make our carts.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Williams remembers her activities as a child growing up in Ypsilanti in the early 1900s. Mrs. Williams talks about her life in the church and family life with the Kersey family. Mr. Marshall and Mrs. Williams discuss racism in the period after World War One and segregation in the local theaters. Mr. Marshall tells how loans and insurance worked to deprive Black people of access.

Keywords: A.P. Marhsall; Arden Kersey; Black financing and insurance needs in Ypsilanti; Brown Chapel AME Church; Ernest Kersey; First Methodist Church; James Kersey; Junior Palm Leaf Club; Ku Klux Klan; Leonard Kersey; Marshall Scott; Michigan Avenue; Nina Williams Kersey; Palm Leaf Club; Ruthe Marshall; Segregation in Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti Black women's clubs; Ypsilanti, Michigan


Hyperlink: Photos of sister Nina and Bernice Kersey, circa 1954. Courtesy the Ypsilanti Historical Society.

44:46 - Children and assorted memories

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Well, and then we move into another period, there, we move into the period of the Second World War. What do you remember about the Second World War? Any of your folks go to war?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I had two sons go to war.

MARSHALL: I haven’t asked you about your children.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I have two sons.

MARSHALL: Tell me about all of your children.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Williams talks about her three children, Fritz, Rolanda and Edward and gives assorted memories of growing up and the various houses she lived in. Mr. Marshall asks about family photographs and events in Ypsilanti in the 1930s.

Keywords: African-American Ypsilanti; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Black Ypsilanti veterans of World War Two; Blackstone murder, Ypsilanti; Bow family; Brown Chapel AME; Edward Williams; Frederick Williams; John Dickerson; John H Fox; Nina Kersey Williams; Reverend Sheldon; Rolanda Hudson; Second Avenue; World War Two

Subjects: African American families. African Americans--Michigan--Ypsilanti--History.

Hyperlink: Circa 1917 photo of Brown Chapel AME's choir including Nina and her sister Bernice.
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