Edna Kersey

Edna (Roderick) Kersey was born May 5, 1897 to David and Cornelia (Emmanuel) Roderick. She married Arden Kersey in May, 1916.  Arden’s parents were James and Mary (Emanual) Kersey. Edna and Arden were the parents of Floyd Kersey, also interviewed. Edna Kersey passed away on June 23, 1983.

Edna Kersey Interview, December 5, 1980
Ruthe Marshall, Interviewer

(Note: The original tape of this oral history interview is missing. This transcript is a copy of A. P. Marshall’s transcript of the interview. Thus, we cannot verify the accuracy of these transcriptions. Our historians have divided it into annotated segments.)

Synopsis: Mrs. Kersey describes her family history and her own history in Ypsilanti as a student at the segregated First Ward School and parishioner of Ypsilanti’s Brown Chapel AME church.

Keywords: Edna Roderick Kersey; Cornelia Roderick; David Roderick; Lillian Roderick; Archibald Roderick; Minnie Jean Roderick; Dora Roderick Perkins; Leo Roderick; Bell Street; South Washington Street; Adams Street School; Geraldine Kersey; Floyd Kersey; Alzie Call; Good Samaritan Hall; Marshall, Michigan; Arden G. Kersey; Arden G. Kersey Jr.; Marion Kersey;  Robert Kersey; Betty Kersey; Jean Kersey; Peggy Lundy; Lane Kersey; Atkins family; Brown Chapel AME; Brown University;Theron Kersey, Jr.;

Subjects: African American families. African American churches. African Americans–Michigan–Ypsilanti–History. Segregation–Michigan

Link: Listen to the interview with son, Floyd Kersey. 

MARSHALL: We would like to know something about your family. Your maiden name?

KERSEY: My maiden name was Roderick. My mother’s name was Cornelia, and my father’s name was David. My oldest sister’s name was Lillian Roderick, and then my brother Arch Roderick, and then Minnie Jean Roderick, and then Dora Roderick and Leo, and then me.

MARSHALL: Were you born here in Ypsilanti?

KERSEY: Yes. All of us were. I was born on South Washington Street, you know that double house where Bunt used to live, you know that old double house there, that’s where I was born. The rest of them were born over on Bell Street.

MARSHALL: You went to school here?

KERSEY: Yes. They had an Adams Street School, it was a colored school. I went to school there, all of us did. That school went up to the 3rd or 4th grade. I can’t remember. And then when we were too old to go there, we went up to the high school.

MARSHALL: Do any of your relatives, any of your sisters or brothers, live here now?

KERSEY: They’re all dead except Dora. Dora is in a nursing home in Ann Arbor. She lost one leg, but she’s still living.

MARSHALL: How old is she?

KERSEY: Ninety-two.

MARSHALL: Would I have known her?

KERSEY: I don’t think so. She lived with Geraldine and Floyd a long time, but she got sick and had to be moved. Dora was a singer—she sang all the time. She used to give concerts, her and her friend. They used to give concerts in the church to help raise money to help build the church. Lenthenheiter? She got married, and I’m calling her that because that’s what I knew her as, as a girl. She got married but I don’t know what her married name was. She played for her all the time. There was another girl, her name was Alzie Call. She played for Dora to sing. You know where she lived…right there on Adams Street, you know where the Hall is, and there is an old house sits there beside the Hall, you know the white house that is there; they lived there.

MARSHALL: What was your sister’s married name?

KERSEY: Perkins.

MARSHALL: Are you part of the family that came from Canada?

KERSEY: No. It’s on father’s side—it’s on my husband’s or the Kersey side. My mother was born up in a little town called Marshall, Michigan. My father was born in Pennsylvania.

MARSHALL: Your husband’s name?

KERSEY: Arvie G. Kersey. The G stands for Grant, of course.

MARSHALL: You mind telling me about the year you got married?

KERSEY: No, I don’t remember. I used to have the papers but I don’t know where they are. I could figure it out.

MARSHALL: No, that’s all right. Now, let’s get into your children, because we want them in that record.

KERSEY: There’s Floyd Kersey, Marion, Robert, Betty, Jean, and Arvie Kersey, II. We call him Joe but his name is Arvie, the same as his father, Arvie Grant, Jr.

MARSHALL: He’s the one that lives in Nashville?

KERSEY: Well, now he’s been transferred to Providence, Rhode Island—Brown University. He’s up there now. That’s where we went Thanksgiving.

MARSHALL: Yes, I remember you talking about it. What does he do?

KERSEY: He works at the Neuro-Psychiatric Institute with disturbed, problem children. He was at Vanderbilt University before he was transferred up there, and he was doing a very good job up there. He likes his job.

MARSHALL: Now, Marion and Robert?

KERSEY: You mean what they did?

MARSHALL: Are they still…do they still…

KERSEY: No, Marion was killed in a train accident about 35 years ago. She left a daughter, Peggy Taylor. That was her name then, but now it’s Peggy Lundy. He’s married and she has three boys and one girl. She lives right here in Michigan.

MARSHALL: Jean—you have some children that are doing some things, don’t you?

JEAN: Yes, I have a daughter and a son—Kathy and Dyke. They live in Los Angeles. She’s into land development and real estate. She’s also a professional interior designer and decorator, and Dyke, along with Flick’s son, Lane, they set up their own construction business.

MARSHALL: Now, is that your son-in-law?

JEAN: That’s my son. Both are Atkinses. They’re involved in building design and architecture. Kathy and Dyke work very closely together. If one doesn’t cover one end, the other one does.

MARSHALL: And he is in business with Floyd’s son?

JEAN: Yes.

MARSHALL: Is that Floyd, Jr.?

JEAN: No, that’s Lane. Lane Kersey. Daddy was connected with the church too.

MARSHALL: Yes, I was going to get back to that. Now, I’m ready for that. Can you tell me your part and your husband’s part in Brown Chapel together?

KERSEY: Well, I’ll tell you about him first. He was a carpenter, too. That’s what he did all of his life until he died. he was just a good carpenter. A lot of houses he has built around here in Ypsilanti for white people. All of his brothers were carpenters.

MARSHALL: Do you mind giving me the names of these brothers?

KERSEY: Herman Kersey, Leonard Kersey…Harrison didn’t do carpenter work. He was in Detroit all the time. I don’t know what harrison did, I really don’t. These are the boys. Bernice—you know she was a school teacher. Nina was a member of the choir. She played sometimes when Bernice wasn’t there, but Bernice played almost all the time in the choir.

MARSHALL: Did she direct that choir?

KERSEY: No. Well, when her father lived—he directed. And after he died, Theron took over.

MARSHALL: Now, your husband Arvie was the director?

KERSEY: No, no, no. Theron Kersey—you remember him? But he was no relation to this Kersey. It was a case where a Kersey matted a Kersey, but they were different families. That was Ebenezer’s husband. You remember Theron?

MARSHALL: You see, I don’t remember her husband. I remember the son, I guess. The thing about Bernice, the first day I came to Brown Chapel, the Chancel Choir must have been singing. We came in and I sat right behind Bernice, not knowing who I was sitting behind. And when church was over, she turned around and spoke and she said “I would like for you to join the Senior Choir.” That was the only time I saw her. She immediately went into the hospital. I was asking about her, then I read where she came home, and then the next thing I knew they had to take her right back to something, ands passed away. That was how I knew her, bur I knew Bill because he sang in the Cantatas and he had a beautiful voice.

KERSEY: Bernice’s husband was a different Kersey family, then she married him. She was a Kersey who married a Kersey.

JEAN: You asked before about Grandpa Kersey. He directed the choir before, and that was Aunt Bernice’s father and mother’s father-in-law.

MARSHALL: I see. Now, your husband was a carpenter, and his brothers were Herman, Leonard, and Harrison. Now Herman and Leonard were…

KERSEY: They are carpenters, all but Harrison.

MARSHALL: And Bernice was a sister, and Nina was a sister. Did any of the brothers who were carpenters assist your husband, I know they did, in the work on Brown Chapel?

KERSEY: On the church?

MARSHALL: On the church, the building.

KERSEY: Well, Herman did. I think Herman and Arvie helped some because at that time their father always took them with him when they were doing carpenter work. I can’t say for sure now, but they helped on the church, but I bet they were around there. If you knew James Kerset, they were there helping.

MARSHALL: Now let me go back and find James here.

KERSEY: James was her father-in-law.

MARSHALL: Arden’s father.

KERSEY: Arden’s father. And Mary Ann was his mother’s name. Mary Ann Kersey was Arden’s mother.

MARSHALL: Do you have any pictures of them?

JEAN: Aunt Nina has them.

KERSEY: Yes, she has them. I’m sure she has some of all of the family. She’s more or less the historian and she remembers pretty clearly and she has all the old pictures, etc.

MARSHALL: Who else is in the family? Can you tell me some more about the musical part and yourself?

KERSEY: Oh, I said Dora…and my sister Minnie Neely—her name was Neely when she died. I’m sure you’ll run across some Neelys if you keep going. There’s Mary Louise and her family.

MARSHALL: And then there’s Mr. Ben Neely.

JEAN: Ben was married—wasn’t that Aunt Minnie’s husband? No, no…Ben was…

KERSEY: Aunt Minnie married Mr. Neely, the father of Ben.

JEAN: Wasn’t his name Mark? Aunt Minnie’s husband?


JEAN: And that was Ben’s father?

KERSEY: Yes, and Howard. Howard was Mr. Neely’s son too.

MARSHALL: Ben became a [ ] patron of mine, [ ] just before I left. One thing about the job was, when we first started out, I did a lot of delivering and I got to know a lot of people. As I worked up and got an assistant and she did the going our, I missed a lot of people that I ordinarily would have known, because she was a person who did the delivery and would come back and talk about it She was telling me something about them just here when I saw her about a month ago.

JEAN: You want to tell Ruthie how old you were when you started singing? And maybe you can go from there.

KERSEY: When I started singing, I was 11 or 12 years old. I used to sing solos. They gave a lot of concerts at that time in the church to raise money for the church and I sang solos. I sang in the Junior Choir until I was old enough, until Mr. Kersey thought I was old enough to sing in the Senior Choir.

JEAN: And then you helped organize the Gospel Echoes?

KERSEY: Yes, I organized the Gospel Echoes.

MARSHALL: You have any idea about when that was?

KERSEY: I wish I could remember dates and things.

JEAN: I think she must have been about 25 or 30, or something like that.

MARSHALL: Didn’t you direct the Cathedral Choir? I call it the Cathedral Choir, the Senior Choir?

KERSEY: No, I didn’t direct them.

MARSHALL: Oh, I thought in later years you had.

KERSEY: That was Olive Kersey. That was another…she had married Theron Keresy, but they divorced and he married Bernice. Olive was Green, Mrs. Green, before she…

JEAN: Before she married Theron.

KERSEY: Before she matted Bill Kersey.

JEAN: Bill was the offspring of that marriage.

MARSHALL: Olive was a Green and she married Theron, that’s Bill’s father. I’m sorry to have to ask all these questions.

KERSEY: That’s all right. It is confusing when you have two different Kersey families that you’re working with.

JEAN: Bill was a Jr. also, wasn’t he? He was Theron Kersey, Jr. Olive also directed quite a few other musical extravaganzas. We did “Queen Esther,” we did performances—she directed quite a few Cantatas, she also had the Community Choir, she was the director of that, oh, just many other productions that we did, she was our expert.

MARSHALL: Can you think of anything of importance about the building or remodeling of Brown Chapel?

KERSEY: I can remember when the basement was first put up. We had church down in the basement—I can’t tell you how long it was that we stayed in the basement, but they kept working and getting money until finally they had enough to put the upper part of the church on. And the pastor that was there then was Reverend Pettiford, I remember him, I just knew him because I used to go to the parsonage and be with his daughter. He had one girl and we were good friends. I sued to go and play with her all the time.

JEAN: Did grandma play any part in the church?

KERSEY: Oh yes. My mother was [Sveard C] and a Missionary woman. She was the treasurer of the Missionary organization. And then she was a janitor. She always took me with her, church was the thing that I had to go to. She took me to church and she would sweep and clean, and I’d have to dust off all them seats. Sometimes I’d get, well, I’m not going to say that, but I’d have to do it anyway. She would even make the fires in the furnace or the stove, or she’d clean, mop the floors, and I had to be there with her because I had to help. I didn’t have to do anything hard or anything, just like dusting around, wiping off things, but I had to do it because that’s the way she was. I remember about Reverend Pettiford, he was a fine man. I used to go down there when my mother had to go off someplace else to work. She’s take me down there and I’d stay there until she came and got me, or I’d go to sleep and he’d carry me home when I was a little girl, but he was a fine gentleman, I thought. His wife was too, she was a very, very nice woman.

MARSHALL: Did anybody in your family go to war, were they in either of the wars, World War One or World War Two?

KERSEY: No, Joe was in service. Well, Ardin, Jr. He was in the service. He went to Africa. Lord didn’t go to war because he had something wrong with one [of] his feet, and at that time they wouldn’t take you in at all if there was anything wrong with you, so he didn’t get to go, in which I was very glad.

MARSHALL: What about the effect of the time when World War Two came, and you had the opening of Willow Run? Am I right in that? Did that effect working conditions or living conditions of people in Ypsilanti generally or did you have a big influx of people coming in? Nothing in particular—maybe it wasn’t as effective as it sounds to us who were not here at the time.

JEAN: This area was really effected by the group, by people coming to Ypsilanti and surrounding areas to work in the plant, and that made a big difference, where as I told you before, just about everybody in this area, in Ypsilanti, they knew each other, white and black, because most of the blacks worked in the homes and different places like that. It was just a big change.

KERSEY: A very big change. I can remember a woman, when I was going to vote, down at the high school, and we were voting, and I was standing there waiting my turn, and a white woman came in. I don’t remember what her name was but she knew me. She said to me, “Mrs. Kersey, are you going to vote for the black people to come up north here in Michigan? I said, “Yes, I am.” She said, “You really want them to come up here?” I said, “I don’t know, but I think they ought to have a chance to come up here if they can.” She said, “Well, I just think if you vote for them, you’ll be very sorry.” I said, “Very sorry about what?” She said, “You’ll just be very sorry because you don’t know how those people act down there.” I said, “I don’t know them, no—but if they want to come up here and have a better chance than the things they do down there, then I’m voting for them. I think that’s all right for me to vote for them.” She didn’t like it. She said, “You’ll be sorry.” I didn’t understand her but she said I’d be very sorry, and I jut went on up the line and voted for them to come here. It was all right with me. Ypsilanti was so close-knit at that time. The white people were different toward us then than they are now. They would help us, they would give us money for our church, they’d come to our socials, they would come to our entertainment that we’d have at the church, we would go to their churches and raise money to help our church to get along, they would donate to us, they’d write us checks, you know, for money—but they don’t do that anymore. That’s what they used to do. I tell you it was no different then than it is now. We could go to any of the stores and get anything we wanted, without question I mean, because they knew that it would be paid for. You didn’t have a whole lot of “Have you got a job, et cetera…” They were just very nice to us, to all of the black people on the South Side. But later on, they got funny. They didn’t care too much about helping us out.

MARSHALL: I think that’s a thing that has happened, with time.

KERSEY: They were very good to us before we voted. I guess every black person in Ypsilanti voted to have the blacks from the South come up here.

MARSHALL: I guess that’s interesting—because you mean you had to vote whether or not they would come?

JEAN: There must have been some issue or something that they were voting on; I’ve tried to figure that out.

MARSHALL: I was going to ask you—how was the housing—did the housing pattern change a lot, whereas in the past you had a lot of mixed neighborhoods?

JEAN: Well, basically the blacks were on the south side, but they were old residences, so I guess they had to do certain things, maybe change some zoning laws or something to build houses or to house these people with different social agencies. I really don’t know what she means.

KERSEY: Well, I do remember that because down at the high school, that’s where we voted, and I was standing there in the hall, and she said, “Are you gonna vote for the people to come up here?” I said, “Yes, I am.” She said, “You’ll be sorry.” So I voted too.

MARSHALL: Did they have to vote for the whites to come and work at Willow Run?

KERSEY: No, not that I know of. At that time, it was just the blacks.

JEAN: That’s the way she remembers it.

KERSEY: That’s the way I remember it.

MARSHALL: Well, there has to be a thing of truth in there some way, it might not be just exactly, but there has to be something in there.

KERSEY: They just didn’t want them up here.

JEAN: Daddy and Mother both worked for Eastern University, well, it was known as ‘Normal’ at that time. They started out working in the boiler house which was really outdated in those days. There was the shoveling of the coal and carrying it on your back—now it’s a big new modern facility. He was there for approximately 40 something odd years and Mother retired from Eastern University. She was in housekeeping then. As a result, Daddy took Flick into the boiler house—he followed him, and Flick saw the gradual upgrade of the boiler house and he became president of Eastern’s Union.

MARSHALL: Well, he has a conference all by himself. A. P. is going to do him at another time.

KERSEY: That should be interesting. I should like to be there.

MARSHALL: When blacks attempted to…you were saying that your brothers were carpenters, when people attempted to build houses here, did they have trouble getting them financed?

KERSEY: No, because the Kerseys had a name that everybody knew that if they wee working on it, it would be all right. is that what you mean?

MARSHALL: Yes, that’s what I mean.

KERSEY: They were good carpenters, really good. When the Kerseys were going to work on a house, that was it. That’s what they liked. I tell you the white people then were more friendly to the blag people than they are now. They really were! They put up with us. You say the Kerseys are going to build this house? They know it was going to be right. Because that’s the way Arden’s father worked. Every board had to be just right, or you’d have to take it down. Arden said many times he took down a board and pulled the nails out because Dad said it wasn’t right. It was perfect when they got through with it.

JEAN: Didn’t Grandpa’s brother, Uncle George Kersey, work with them?

KERSEY: Oh, I forgot about Uncle George.

JEAN: Her husband’s uncle.

MARSHALL: Arden Sr.’s brother—George Kersey.

KERSEY: George Kersey was, yes, Arden Sr.’s brother, yes, that’s right.

MARSHALL: What about the stores? And we know about the Francois newspaper, and then someone told us about someone who had another little sheet—who told me about that? She referred to it as a gossip sheet.

JEAN: Is that the paper that Mrs. Simpson—

KERSEY: Yes, Mrs. Simpson had that paper.

MARSHALL: You wouldn’t know anybody who might have any copies or anything like that?

JEAN: Didn’t Mrs. Dorsey have something to do with that at one time?

KERSEY: The paper? I don’t know. Maybe she did, I don’t know. We always got ours from Mrs. Simpson, but after she died…

JEAN: Aunt Genevieve might have some.

MARSHALL: Who is Aunt Genevieve?

JEAN: Genevieve Williams.

MARSHALL: No, she didn’t.

KERSEY: No, I don’t know anybody that would have any outside of Genevieve.

JEAN: At one time, Grandpa and his brother owned most of the property from Michigan Avenue south, halfway between Michigan Avenue and Harriet Street. He was on First Avenue, and his brother George owned about equal the amount on Second Avenue, until they sub-divided, or broke it up for their children. I think the only other person over there was Wiard, wasn’t it, Mom? On Second Avenue. And all of that was just farm land and orchard land. Now they’re all built up, of course.

MARSHALL: We knew that there was a Dr. Dickerson here. Any other doctors prior to Dr. Bass?

JEAN: You know about Dr. Clark, of course. Dr. Dickerson helped deliver most of mama’s children if she wasn’t finished by the time he got there [laughter]. And then, you know about Dr. Perry. Those are just about all the doctors…were there any doctors before then, Mama?

KERSEY: They were all white doctors before Dr. Dickerson came.

JEAN: Was it Dr. Dickerson or Dickson?

KERSEY: Dr. Dickerson.

MARSHALL: I could have been mispronouncing it myself. Now, somewhere we learned that the Bows had a grocery store. That was back before your time, maybe? We were wondering if you could tell us anything about any other businesses or people who had businesses like that?

JEAN: How long was Mr. Begole in business with the little store there at the end of First Avenue? Was he there a long time?

KERSEY: He was there quite a long time. I can’t remember how long he’d been there. After Arden built our house, he came in with the store—grocery and gas. Now he was white. His was one of the few stores you could go to and get credit.

JEAN: He ran a list of credit for black people, and you were talking about after the Bomber Plant opened up, then basically I think that’s when his business really boomed. You only had to pay him once a week and he carried just about everything you needed, so it was like a commissary.

KERSEY: All the black people went there and traded with him because he was so nice to them. He wasn’t like some of them. He really made his money and he didn’t “dog” them or say “If you don’t pay me…” he’d just wait until they got the money. They’d go and pay him. That was just the way he was—he was a fine old white man.

MARSHALL: Did you know Mr. Fox who was the lawyer? Did he practice here in Ypsilanti, or did he practice…he could have been more Ann Arbor—we thought that he practiced here in Ypsilanti. His wife died at 91 just here a week or so ago…

JEAN: We had neighbors by the name of Fox, but that couldn’t have been the same family.

KERSEY: You don’t know Willie Fox—he lived on…what’s that street?

JEAN: Frederick.

KERSEY: No, I don’t think you know him. There was a Mr. Fox that lived next door to me, where I used to live. That was his son. They weren’t lawyers. I didn’t know a lawyer by the name of Fox.

MARSHALL: Vida was telling me about the changing or moving the black teachers over to Chappell when it first opened up. I was wondering if there are any other interesting things happening as far as the schools were concerned?

JEAN: We really weren’t affected too much by the school system, since Mother and Dad worked for the University—we went to Roosevelt High School which was there as a training school for teachers, so all of her children went to Roosevelt as a result of that.

KERSEY: Oh yes, I forgot about Roosevelt. I worked for the president of the school up there. I think I worked for them for about 12 years.

MARSHALL: I guess one of the things, since all of you are here, you could help me get the Kersey family tree together.

JEAN: Ooh, that’s grown!

MARSHALL: Your husband was Arden? Now, the Kersey family that Bernice was a part of…let me go back and get her father…

KERSEY: James.

MARSHALL: Her father was James.

JEAN: She was Arden’s sister. Arden and Herman.

MARSHALL: And her father was James. And then the children were Arden and Bernice—I have them all listed so I can put them down…

JEAN: Then you know that James’ wife was Mary Ann.

MARSHALL: Yes, I have that. Then I get over into Orville.

JEAN: Orville…Herman Kersey was Orville’s father.

MARSHALL: Isn’t there a Kersey that lives in Westland that goes to our church?

JEAN: That lives where?

MARSHALL: In Westland.

JEAN: I don’t know where they all live; I really don’t. All I could do would be to tell you the children of Herman, the children of Leonard, the children of Arden, and the children of Nina. Aunt Bernice didn’t have any children.

MARSHALL: And Nina’s children are Rolanda…

JEAN: Right, Rolanda, Edward and Frederick; they call him Fritz.

MARSHALL: And then Leonard?

JEAN: Leonard had Leonard Kersey, Jr., that’s Pete, and what’s Eenie’s name? What’s his real name?

KERSEY: Lennie, Ernest? His name was Leonard and they called him Lennie.

JEAN: No, they called Leonard Pete, and then there’s Eenie, but I don’t know his real name. And then there’s Don Kersey. Don Kersey gave to our church.

MARSHALL: That’s who I’m talking about, that’s who I’m talking about. Don! I knew I had heard that name. his name was so plain to me, and I could just see him ushering and all those things and I thought, “Why can’t you think of his name?” That’s who I’m talking about, yes.

JEAN: Those are the children of Leonard, and then Herman Kersey…Herman Kersey had Maurice, Kevin, Herman Jr., Clyde, and he had a girl named…as well as I know that child’s name…I can’t remember her name either.

KERSEY: I can’t remember her name either. isn’t that awful—as well as I know that child’s name.

MARSHALL: Well, anyways he had a daughter, and I’ll be looking for it.

JEAN: It’ll come up—Aunt Nina may be able to help you. Harrison has children but I don’t remember all the names…Mildred…

MARSHALL: I’m looking back here, and I’m asking about all your grandchildren. I didn’t ask about Betty’s children.

JEAN: You don’t know all of Flick’s either, but you’ll get that later. Betty has 1 boy and 2 girls. There’s Leon and Valerie and Ann. Ann lives in California.

KERSEY: And Ann has a son.

JEAN: Betty has 2 grandchildren. one is Valerie’s daughter—her name is Robin Marie and the other one is Ann’s son—his name is Jonathan.

MARSHALL: And Ann is in California.

KERSEY: She’ll be here Christmas.

MARSHALL: That should be a nice time, and you really had a nice time in, in…

JEAN/KERSEY: Providence. It was just great. We certainly did.

MARSHALL: I know what I wanted to ask you—something that has been said and then has been disputed about Brown Chapel—that someone early had made the statement that the present Brown Chapel was built around the first building. That has been disputed and it has been said that it could not have possible been done that way.

KERSEY: As I remember it, there was nothing there and they built the basement first, and we were in there a long time. When we got out, we begged money and did different things like having concerts at the white churches, and having them at our church and people came. I don’t remember any other building there.

JEAN: You told me you remembered when they laid the corner stone.

KERSEY: I remember when they laid the corner stone, because they had a band [laughs] and Herman Kersey was the director of the band, and that band played out there when they had the services out there.

MARSHALL: You know something—we’ve got all this done, and we have not talked about Palm Leaf!

KERSEY: Oh yes, you’re so right. Yes, Palm Leaf did a whole lot in the church. After they were organized by the Methodist preacher, they became real strong, and they did so much for the church. Then they had a little argument—the Trustees wanted us to give them our money and we wouldn’t do it, so they kind of left the church and worked for themselves but they did things—they paid all the insurance on the church, for years and years. The church didn’t have to pay insurance. We did things like bake sales, sewing, had concerts and things, and we got together and still paid the insurance on the church until something went wrong again. They stopped paying the insurance. But they put these lights in, put carpet on the floor, and they did so much! They’d even go there when the church needed cleaning and clean the church up—dust or wash woodwork, windows, all those things—Palm Leaf did that. Right there!


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