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Michael Jones: Hello, this is Michael L. Jones with the Unfair Housing Oral History Project that's being done by the Metro Housing Coalition and the U of L Oral History Center. It is December 27th at 4:55 and I'm talking with Mark Jackson who is a longtime resident of the James Taylor neighborhood. How are you doing, Mr. Jackson?

Mark Jackson: I'm doing fine, thank you.

MJ: So how old are you?

MJ: I'm 68.

MJ: And how long have you lived in this community?

MJ: Since 1962.

MJ: Okay, and so do you live in the same house?

MJ: Live in the same house. (laughs)

MJ: Yeah, so is this something your parents had bought?

MJ: Yes, this is a generational home, yes.

MJ: And so not many people know about the James Taylor neighborhood.


MJ: That depends on who you ask.

MJ: Okay. (laughs)

MJ: Because there has been--if you want to do history, say for instance if you were a person who knew about the Retired Service Man's Club, for instance, then you knew about this neighborhood. Or if you were a person who was my age or older who knew about Ebony Park.

MJ: Well can you tell us a little bit about those two?

MJ: --part of this neighborhood.

MJ: Okay.

MJ: Smalls Park which is part of this neighborhood. Ake's Place which is part of this neighborhood. James Taylor, I mean, Jefferson Jacob School part of this neighborhood. It's a Rosenwald School. Jefferson Jacob is my great-great-great-grandfather.


MJ: Okay.

MJ: So my history and my family's history of the Trowel family in Prospect is deep in this neighborhood. Ebony Park, Smalls Park, was a juke joint that was right here on Duroc Lane where ball players would come out on Sundays and play ball, baseball and softball. Of course during the juke joints, you know, you had drinks and activities. Right now the property was sold to a developer which put patio homes on it.

All right. This area was a Rosenwald redline area. This Ms. Ake's Place was a restaurant, and she had cottages right next door to me where African Americans 3:00or black folks or Negroes, however you want to call them, traveled to come and have a safe place to eat and live or residents or even your hotels or cottages as well. She rented them out for people traveling--black folks traveling. The Rosenwald School is where the blacks in this neighborhood went to in order to go to school because of the racial inequalities.

MJ: So did you grow up with this history?

MJ: I grew up with this history. I've been coming out here, I was born in '53, my mother and her eight siblings lived here and was raised in this area. So all 4:00of the sisters still lived here. One of the brothers moved back here. One of the brothers moved here and then he passed away, but actually that history where they'd never moved away from here. So that's the reason why I guess Mr. Arnita said, "Well if you know anything, you can call Mr. Jackson. He can tell you because of my family history."

But it's been like the James Taylor family, for instance. Jefferson Jacob got here in 1910, and James Taylor, being a black entrepreneur got here in 1912 or 1913. Well my Grandma Badgett, which is on Jacob School which is Jefferson Jacob's daughter, she had property on Jacob School. You have to realize that James Taylor is Bass and Shirley, Riverway and Rest Way. Okay, Jacob School, 5:00Duroc, and of course, it was Liter's Lane which is where Sutherland it is now, was all here.

It was all here, so James Taylor was the one who said, "Okay, I'm going to sell property bought from Shirley and Bass owners." (phone ring) Decided to sell to African American's families to raise their families here. He didn't sell my grandfather's property to my grandfather. He didn't sell Grandma Badgett's house to her. They was already here is what I'm saying. James Taylor was a black entrepreneur that lived in the area that had business aspect.


He did a lot with us. He made sure that these kids got to school when they went from graduated from Jefferson--from the Jacob School. They either had to go to Lincoln Institute or they had to go to Central High School, was the only place they could go. You couldn't go to another school. Couldn't got the Males. You couldn't go to none of the other schools in Louisville other that Central. So most of the people out here that went--graduated from out here went to Central High School.

MJ: Did they have a bus?

MJ: Had a bus. He provided transportation for them to go from here to Central. He did a lot for the neighborhood. There was--it wasn't a time that you couldn't ask him to do anything that he would not do.

MJ: Did you ever meet him?

MJ: (Inaudible 0:06:51.3), yeah.

MJ: Oh okay.

MJ: Oh yeah. Years and years ago.

MJ: What was he like?


JACKSON:He was a gentle man. He was a kind hearted man. I really grew up with his grandchildren. When they say Miss Broaddus, which was his daughter, had two sons, Stenson Broaddus and Chuckie Broaddus. And I grew up with them. They was in my age--well they was older than me, but we was all in the neighborhood together. Then there's other families that were here, say the Brooks family, Thornton Brown family, the Dunbar family--

MJ: Did most of these people work in Prospect, or--

MJ: No, most of them worked--most of the women, say for instance, I had a few of my aunties that worked domestics. You know, worked in people's homes. My mother was a scrub tech down at the old General Hospital, till it came to University of 8:00Louisville. My dad was at work at Fischer's Packing Company. I had a couple of uncles that worked at Fischer's Packing Company. People worked at GE, retired from GE, fired from Ford.

So everybody out here, we had teachers, principals, different variety of folks that lived in the neighborhood. Everybody was working class people. Nobody was filthy rich, but we all took care. I was just down cleaning out downstairs and looking at some of my dad's paychecks from the '60s and making $110 a week.

MJ: And where did he work?

MJ: Fischers Packing.

MJ: Fischer.

JACKSON:So take that to buy this house out here from--we lived at 2305 West Jefferson. I got baptized in the Green Street Baptist Church, Reverend Mitchell. 9:00Mama moved out here when I was 9 years old. But I was coming out here every day in the summertime because this is where our recreation was and Jacob School. My mother helped teach classes that we had. This is where all the neighborhood would come to.

We didn't have Hays Kennedy Park at that time. And Hays Kennedy was one of the ladies who was a very, very instrumental in this neighborhood also, to the point where the park is named after her down the--Hays Kennedy Park. So we had a lot of working class people. Ake's Place for instance, like I said was a restaurant that you had cottages for people to stay, blacks to stay.


Because years ago, white folks couldn't buy no property over here. Wasn't any whites that lived here. If you wasn't black, you couldn't buy nothing, you couldn't live in this neighborhood.

MJ: Is that because of James Taylor?

MJ: No, that's because of the--and yes, James Taylor would not sell to a white person. But it was set up for African Americans.

MJ: Okay, so there was a legal like--

MJ: Well, segregation.

MJ: Well segregation.

MJ: After the civil rights, you know, you can't discriminate against people wanting to move into the neighborhood.

MJ: So before that when Louisville had the discrimination laws, a white person couldn't live here because it was a black neighborhood?

MJ: That's right, as vice versa. We couldn't go in their neighborhood and live. They couldn't come in here then. That's of course when civil rights when the bill passed it, no discrimination. So yeah, now--now we're diverse. We've 11:00Indian, we got Arabs, we got Mexicans, you know, got whites.

MJ: So how big is the James Taylor area?

MJ: How big is it?

MJ: Yeah.

MJ: Four streets. You got Jacob Schools where it starts. From the water company down on the curve to the Sutherlands all the way to the river. Now there's a Beechland Beach down on the river, it's a white neighborhood. It's always been there, but they had to come through our neighborhood to get to their neighborhood. They are separate from us.

Actually there's a sign down there that say "Private Property" when you go through the stone gate down there--ain't no gate up there now, but it say "Private Property" that all whites live down there. They owned the river. Okay, 12:00so they was the ones getting flooded out. We never got flooded up there. (laughter)

MJ: So yeah, most people when they hear the story--they talk about black people in Louisville. They talk about the West End. They might talk about Newburg. But places like James Taylor don't get a lot of attention.

MJ: It depends on who you're talking to. You have James Taylor. You have Berrytown. You have Griffytown. All those black neighborhoods. All of them. People don't know about those either. But if you go to Griffytown, you wouldn't recognize it right now because of the building up. And that's all for US 60, which is Shelbyville Road. Berrytown is (laughs) right over here on 146.


These the neighbors that we have competition with when we had our recreations. And not counting the Shawnee Parks, Chickasaw Parks, we traveled to all of these areas and played ball against the--we had competition, athletic competition, horseshoe pitching, washer pitching--

MJ: Is that because it was segregated so you could only could play black schools?

MJ: Yeah, that also. Yeah. If you grew up in the '50s and the '60s in this area, you knew about all of the black areas in the city of Louisville. You knew where you could go, actually, basically you knew where you could go to have party and have fun and whatever. You got a little juke joint in every little town. Every little section that you (inaudible 0:13:51.6), you know, holes in the wall. (laughs)

MJ: They have music--live music there?

MJ: Yeah, live music and dancing and DJs and stuff and things. But yeah, I've 14:00had, say for instance, and I'm going to call the name because I know she's a celebrity. But she used to ride past this neighborhood--never knew it was over here. And her name was Jane West, Miss West. She used to drive past here, she said, "They told me," she said, Jane West, she said, "I never knew this neighborhood was over here, and I rode past down River Road every day."

I said, "Ah," because she had once wanted to do this interview also. She had once wanted to, and I didn't know if she continued. We had just got through doing--going through her neighborhood plan and getting her neighborhood established and getting our--our plan was so old that a lot of stuff in it that needed to be throwed out, and we revised it.

And so I've been president of the neighborhood association for probably about 15:00five or six years, and we finally got the plan through Metro Council. And there's a lot of things out here that need to be done. Finally got MSD to do some work on our drainage. The--not Kelly Danner, used to be councilman out here now is--can't think of his name. He's a new guy. I can't think of his name, but he's interested in sinking a little money into the James Taylor.

See we were trying to get the James Taylor, and this is what's going to be good about this interview--GoFundMe for the Jacob School renovation. It's already 16:00been money is appropriated from through the bridge project. But they need more--we need more so that we can get the inside done in order so we can use it for our neighborhood meetings and--see we used to have an auction every year too at James Taylor, at the Jacob School. Farmers, but it was mostly farmers.

My grandfather had a farm, just an acre, but he raised pigs and chickens and ducks and he had two mules, two working mules, in this neighborhood. And he went and cut grass and hay and all around in this here--pick up slop from all around the different restaurants and stuff that used to be here. Brooks Garage used to be on the corner of US 42 and River Road. All of that across the street over there was a junkyard Brooks had owned, Brooks Garage, Brooks owned.


MJ: So when did the neighborhood start being integrated? When did white people start moving in?

MJ: When exactly, I couldn't tell you. All I know is right now, we had a lady move out that's lived back there off of Riverway, yeah Rest Way. She moved into an assisted living. Her husband had passed away. Her house wasn't on the market but five days and a white couple bought it. The house across the street, Miss Rose's house, she passed away. Her heir was in Chicago.


It took them, once they got it cleaned up and took them about two months and her house was sold to a white couple. Broaddus's house, James Taylor's daughter's house on Shirley Avenue was bought by white folks. (laughs) And we have a black man here that is a home builder. That house right there, you see it with all the lights?

MJ: Yeah.

MJ: Right here? He built that house. He sold it to the Mexicans. He built his house by the street back there, nice house, beautiful home. He built one on Bass, beautiful home. Next door to him, it was house built. Arabs I think, Arabs live in it. But people snapping this up and I tell you the reason why people snapping it up in this area. It's crime free.


We know there's one way in, one way out. (laughs) You can't come in this neighborhood--I'll put it this way, years ago you couldn't come in the neighborhood without somebody knowing that you--some stranger was in the neighborhood. You couldn't do it. Now it's total diverse because I'm retired so I see who coming in and out of Duroc all the time.

But other areas in the neighborhood, like now that the Hays Kennedy Park is down there, we have a lot of traffic--a lot of traffic. Actually they built their cricket field down there, and they built it and I don't know if it's privately owned or not on the public--on the public park system. But everybody can't get access to it. They got a lock on the gate. But it's a cricket field down in Hays 20:00County Park. Soccer field, they used to play polo down there.

This is when a lot of the whites start coming out in this neighborhood. We used to play ball down there all the time, but we didn't start out playing basketball down there. We started out on the dirt court, Jacob School. Basketball court on the grass. Baseball on the grass. (laughs)

MJ: And this was a neighborhood where all the kids knew each other?

MJ: Everybody knew each other. You have five sisters that live down here, and each one of them have four/five kids, basically, I might as well say. A few of them have four, but most of them have five. The Trowel family, but you had Dunbars, I don't know that name is familiar, Martin Dunbar. He's been in this neighborhood. His kids was raised up in this neighborhood. Margaret Demery, she 21:00was one--cheerleader down at Central High School, University of Louisville.

She just got honored--they're from this neighborhood. Arthur Walters, Urban League, big name in the Urban League. Arthur Walters raised his family out here. Okay, Wilsons, Sonny Wilson, worked at Ford Plant, raised his family out here. Taylors, there've been lots of Taylors out here. It wasn't related to James Taylor, but in a sense was James Taylor. So descendants was raised out here.

But the bulk of the people that lived down here was Trowel family. There was actually four sisters on this street, Duroc--then a sister on Shirley. Now this 22:00is a kicker. They was all raised on Jacob School.

MJ: So what schools did you--you went to Jacob School and then you went to Central High School?

MJ: I didn't.

MJ: Oh, okay. Where did you go?

MJ: (laughs) I went to James Bond Elementary.

MJ: (laughs) Oh, okay.

MJ: (laughs) You know anything about James Bond Elementary School?

MJ: I know who James Bond was, but yeah. So Julian Bond and the Bond family?

MJ: Yeah, right down there on Cedar?

MJ: Okay.

MJ: Yeah. Now it's Dann C. Byck. Okay, because they tore down James Bond School. (laughs) They tore it down. I went to Wilder Elementary when I lived (inaudible 0:22:44.2), I was 9 years old when I moved out here. Wilder Elementary and then I went to Westport I graduated from.

MJ: Okay, Westport High School?

JACKSON:Yes, but some of my cousins that lived out here when the time they was 23:00in elementary went to the Jacob School.

MJ: All right.

MJ: I did not.

MJ: So when you came up, you were kind of the new kid. (laughs)

MJ: I wasn't new.

MJ: So people knew you because--

MJ: I was out here every summer. My grandparents lived out here. All of my cousins on my mother's side lived out here. So we was out here and during the summertime, all the time. Christmas and Thanksgivings and all that kind of stuff. We was at my grandmother's house.

MJ: So what'd you do after high school?

MJ: What did I do?

MJ: Yeah.

MJ: I've been a United States Marine. I didn't go in the Marine Corps till I was 22. I went to Fischer's Packing Company and worked from 18 years old until I was 22.

MJ: Okay, were you still living with your parents then, or did you move out?

MJ: No, I had a child and married and went in the Marine Corps. Actually I lived 24:00in my first apartment was one of Ake's Place cottages right across the street here.

MJ: Oh, okay.

MJ: It's torn down now, but it was right across the street here. My first wife, we lived over there. And she was a Caucasian girl. That's my oldest daughter is 48 years old. I went in the military at 22, got out when I was 27. I spent five years in the Marine Corps. So sir, I saved this country.

MJ: (laughs) So what places did you visit when you were in the Marines?

JACKSON:I didn't do a lot of traveling. I was at North Carolina, Camp Lejeune for a year and a half. After three months at bootcamps and three months of school, I was a heavy equipment engineer truck driver. So I went from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii.


MJ: So did you live on the marine bases then?

MJ: Yeah, yeah.

MJ: Okay. Because I wanted to ask you about the kind of racial housing situations you saw when you were in the Marines, when you were traveling.

MJ: There wasn't any racial divide. It was rank orientated. If you had a family, if you had a family and your family traveled with you in the service, they went to every duty station that you went to. The military would make sure that they--that you had base housing. If there wasn't base housing, they would put you up somewhere in an apartment. Somewhere outside the base, okay. If you was a 26:00Marine or if you was a military and you was single, you lived on base.

You had housing on base. You didn't have no choice. You could choose to live outside the base, but it wasn't wise to do that if you wouldn't have your family with you. Or you didn't get paid no extra if you lived outside the base and you was a single man, okay. So my travels was basic--because I played basketball I was in the Marine Corps and so I traveled a lot.

But I didn't go to Okinawa. I didn't go to Korea. I didn't go to Australia on the Westpac float, and I didn't do anything on the East Coast. So my travels as far as me going anywhere was--I'd go from Hawaii to the mainland here, play ball-- Quantico, Virginia. Roanoke Jail in--

MJ: This is a marine team that you were playing ball for?


MJ: Yeah, yeah. I played sports, now. I was all marine. I was coaching marines. But this is--and we had a lot of them, my dad was Army, and my stepson was Navy. My son went in the Air Force--my oldest son went in the Air Force--he was air traffic controller. That was in '95. So he's right now in Hawaii with his brother and his mother and his--and my six grandbabies over there. And he's director of air traffic controllers over in Hawaii. So he's made a good career out of it.

You have to ask me--you have to--when you talk about this neighborhood and the people that lived in this neighborhood, most of the people's successful. I mean 28:00they raised their kids to be successful in whatever they was doing. Were they filthy rich? Nah. But it's not about the money. It's about how you was raised.

Actually I'm a have one of my cousins who's a realtor and a singer and her husband is a singer, Will Keys. We going to meet down at the Captain's Quarters tomorrow. That's part of my family.

MJ: Will Keys? He used to be called Billy Higgins, right?

MJ: Yeah.

MJ: We went to high school together. He was one of my best friends in high school.

MJ: Mike Ambrose?

MJ: Yeah.

JACKSON:He's taking care of his mother. That's my relatives. He's married to my cousin, Laura.

MJ: Laura, okay, you know, Laura Keys, yeah.

JACKSON:That's my cousin. See how related, see how small this world really is?


MJ: Yeah.

MJ: This world is really small.

MJ: So after you got out of high school--or you're out of the Marines, what'd you do?

MJ: I went back to Fischer's Packing Company because I had a baby on the way.

MJ: What was Fischer's like then?

MJ: Fischer's treated you real well. They gave you a job. All you had to do is show up and go to work. That's all you had to do, show up and go to work. One thing Mr. Fischer didn't like, and this is one of the things that my dad was telling me. He went to welding school, so he got the nickname "School Boy." Went to welding school, got his welding certificate, never used it. "Why you ever used it?"


He said, "I was going to go to GE and work. But GE went on strike too much. (laughs) Can't be on strike, I got a family to raise." Mr. Fischer didn't do that. I think they may of had one incident, and I was just downstairs reading some of it, the stuff that they went on strike years and years ago. But after that, wasn't any. It wasn't any. But from a man who started out with just a little bit of nothing to where Fischer's is a big name, he took care of his employees.

He took care of his employees. He didn't like strikes. He's going to give you what you need to survive on. That's the way he was. He was a good man in that sense. Of course, it's a whole lot different now. They still have Fischer's product, but it's not Fischer's. (laughs) But it is a working environment, but I 31:00went on and started driving a truck for a living. My 19 years over the road, only operate big rigs. So that's what I did for my living.

That was my lifestyle was driving a rig over the road. That's my passion. Still today if I was--if it wasn't so crazy out there, I'd still be out there driving. But I retired from Allied Ready Mix, forced into retirement because we was on strike. Because they wanted to get rid of the union, which they ended up doing. Smyrna owns it now, but I drove a concrete truck for six years for them. I've driven a school bus with Jefferson County Public Schools, Oldham County Public Schools. But my main thing was, I was over the road trucker.


MJ: So how was it working as a bus driver? Because one of the things that we've been dealing with in this project has been the connection between schools and where you live.

MJ: And where you live (inaudible 0:32:22.5)?

MJ: Yeah, yeah, how it affects where you go to school and what kind of education you get.

MJ: I think busing was the worst thing they could ever done. I really do. What I felt they should had done was make sure that all the schools was equal. Don't take someone from down in the West End and bring them all the way out here to school, unless there's no school down there. Why you going to dislodge this person? And then you only did some of them. You didn't do everybody. That's the 33:00worst thing they did, busing.

I've been bused all my life to school. All my life I had to get on a bus to go to school. But I was in the area where I usually had to go to Westport High School. It was so many of us during the Baby Boom that I had to go to school at night. We had double sessions. We went to school at night. We got over to school with 3, 2:30, 3 o'clock, we didn't get out till 7.

And then when they got the school built, and then it's when they built Ballard. But they was already adding on to Westport. So I'm just saying, busing was the worst thing they could have done. You uprooting kids and bringing them out to--they not getting no better education.

MJ: So what years were you a bus driver?

MJ: Ah, 2007? I think that's when I started, 2007.


MJ: Okay, so it's rather recent?

MJ: Yeah, I started at Oldham County because Jefferson County wouldn't hire me.

MJ: Oh, okay. Was there a difference between the school systems?

JACKSON:Oh, yeah.

JONES:Yeah, what?

JACKSON:I drove for Oldham County. I had a nice route. But come Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, I get gift cards and candy and cookies and cakes from the parents would meet me at the bus and say, "Here Mr. Jackson." The kids would bring stuff on the bus for me. Big difference from Jefferson County. Way different. (laughs)

Okay, because I drove for Jefferson County, I had--I had three--I don't know whether you call them Indian, Arab, or anyway to ride my school bus. Their 35:00parents was the only ones that gave me anything. Okay, but them black folks and them white folks, they didn't give a damn about your bus driving or what you did.

MJ: What routes did you get, like what schools did you--

MJ: I was working for Cameron and--what was my high school? I can't think. I dealt with mostly elementary--elementary and middle school. My high schoolers, I can't even think now. Westport? No, that was my depot. That's what happens when you get old, you can't remember stuff. So I'm just saying, it was totally different school bus driving from Oldham County to Jefferson County.


But I tell any school bus driver, they are children and if you are an adult, you do not allow children to run over you. Stay in your child's place. When we was growing up, if adults was in the room talking, you didn't come in the room. Okay, you can deal with the parents. I used to tell my students from Cameron, that's the road to middle schools, they the worst. I'll come to your house. You don't know where I live at, why not, I got all your information.

Your mama, making your daddy information, your phone numbers, your emergency phone numbers, I got all that in the book because I have to carry it for all my students that's on the bus. So you all act crazy if you want to. If I have to come to your house, I'm not a school bus driver. If you acting up on the bus--because they're not going put you off because it's all about money.

The more students you put off the bus, the less money the bus driver--the state 37:00gives to federal monies there. Okay, it's as simple as that. It's all about the money. They don't give a damn what them kids are doing. And it's all about safety. I'm here for your safety. If not, we'll give you a TARC ticket and let you drive TARC out too.

MJ: So are most of the kids that you know in James Taylor, are they getting bused now?

JACKSON:Out here, it's not a whole lot of kids live out here now.

MJ: Really? Is it just an older, the generation that--

MJ: Older generation--everybody used to meet at the end of the street because there wasn't no turnaround. All my cousins that lived back there on Duroc, they 38:00met up here. Our bus driver was Gilbert Smith, that lived down on the corner where the water company is now. But before then, it was another man. (laughs) I can't because he wasn't my bus driver.

These are the ones that was older than the ones that drove the bus going down to Central, a different area. And my other cousin was talking about him and how they--but they treated us--we used to go down there because they can't bring the bus home. In the wintertime, we'd go down there, start the bus up and flash the lights and everything.

And Mr. Smith would come--Gilbert Smith, he'd come on across the street to us, say, "You all got the bus warmed up for me?" "Yes, sir." He was a little short fellow. But he drove--he drove us, and--so kids out here now going to school, going to Cameron and Ballard--they built Ballard. My younger brother went to Ballard because he was in that age group. There's a lot of them that lived out 39:00here, that when Ballard was built, went to Ballard instead of Westport.

Of course now, Westport's a middle school. Actually it was ironic because I had to play against my younger brother in basketball in high school. It was a rivalry. Which he actually should have been on my team at Westport. But being that Ballard was built, we played against each other. We played against our cousins at Eastern and Seneca and Thomas Jefferson and Mosey Dewalt, and all of that group.

See I knew all of them guys. Buntons, Bill Buntons, Stanley Buntons, I played ball with all of them guys. We was in different areas, but we--and then, we went to the school in our area. Busing hadn't came in until after, what it was, '73, '74 when they start really busing? I was already out of high school when they 40:00started busing.

MJ: What about some of the other kind of civil rights things that were going on when you were younger? I wonder what the--how they impacted James Taylor, like the 1968 riots and Parkland, the open housing--

MJ: You didn't have none of them crazy folks coming out here acting that way. You didn't have none of them crazy--you didn't have people--you didn't have people tearing up their own stuff out here. No, sir, didn't happen. Didn't happen and it did not happen in Berrytown. It did not happen in Griffytown. All these black neighborhoods that it didn't happen out there in Newburg. It only happened downtown.

Why you want to tear up your own area? That's the most stupidest thing I--if 41:00anything, you go to--and I understand peaceful rioting. But when you start tearing up people's stuff, that's a whole different ball game. Now you just a--you just--you're not showing your smarts. You're showing how ignorant you are. You're showing you don't have no education. And that's what--one of the things about Martin Luther King and the group on the--you educate yourself.

You do it in the proper manners. And you make the people that are denying you all these rights that you have already look stupid. It's like this, we still talking about voting rights, and this 2021. Come on, if I don't have the right to vote and people in our country doesn't have the right to vote, then you ain't got a right to vote. If you're going to mess with my rights, you ain't got no 42:00right either.

MJ: Yeah, I wonder how were people in James Taylor involved in the Civil Rights Movement? Was there a vocal talk among your neighbors about what was going on?

MJ: Yes, mostly, yes, I would say so. Arthur Walters was big in the Urban League. Now I didn't go to the first march of--the King March on Washington, I wasn't there at the first one, but I went to the second one, the one that was the anniversary--25th anniversary and one that had the big march, well I went to that one.

My sisters always lived in the D.C. area, so my high school graduation present was--first time on an airplane, I went to Washington, D.C. where my sister lived at Northwestern D.C. area, that's where she graduated out of college down here. 43:00And she stayed here for a little while, then she went on up there to D.C. area and worked. She's been up there ever since. But yeah, we would talk about it, but most of our talk would be mainly with the--either in the lodge hall or the 109 Lodge Hall Masons, or at the church. Okay--

MJ: Were you still going to Green Street?

MJ: No, Harrods Creek, right over here. Yeah, this is the home church, had 50 something years over here. Where my grandfather (inaudible 0:43:41.8) and a group spun off of Green Castle Baptist Church used to be off of Rose Island Road, which is now over off of Murphy Lane. We spun off of that church and developed Harrods Creek. Harrods Creek Baptist Church used to be down on the 44:00creek down there by the Merriwether House.

Okay, and it was all the way back in the corner until the two floods flooded them out. Then Miss Merriwether sold them this property right over here where they're at now. So that history also, that's history at the Harrods Creek Baptist Church has been out here for a hundred and twenty-five, a hundred and thirty--eight, let me see, 1891 is when the church was established.

MJ: And it's always been a black church?

MJ: Yeah, it always been a black church. Yeah, when I got out here, they was transferring from Reverend Young, which was the pastor when I joined to get a new pastor here, C.E. Salter. And then Salter was there for 33-1/3, 33 years until he couldn't no longer pastor. We got Kirk Bush now. They got Kirk Bush 45:00now, I left the church in 2012 and went down to Bethel Baptist Church down on 35th and Garland. I was called to the ministry in 2012, and I went down to Bethel under Dr. Bell.

MJ: So you've been preaching?

MJ: Yes, sir. I do more teaching than preaching, but if I'm called to preach easy. (laughs) He'll let me know to do a Bible study or what he wants me to do on a Sunday morning here. I've done a couple of three messages, about four eulogies. A friend of mine just said, "I think I've got a wedding for you." So I--whatever the (laughter) is called for. Got my bachelor's degree in theology, so.


MJ: When did you go back to school?

MJ: We had the school at Midwest College of Theology brought the school which is in Missouri, they brought the school to Dr. Bell which is educator. And offered him the opportunity to teach out of the school--out of the church. So anybody who wanted to take the theology classes through Midwest College of Theology, which is accredited school, we did it every Monday night. And we had our booklets, that's all packed up now.

We had our booklets and we go through our booklets and take our tests and do all that stuff. And he turns them in--turn them in and we get our diplomas and all that. So it takes about--it took us two years for associate's, it took us two years for a bachelor's degrees. And then, of course, you could take the next step up if you wanted to, all the way up to your doctorate.


And you don't have to be (inaudible 0:47:01.3) Midwest College of Theology did it because a lot of people didn't want to go into a school setting with a whole, but like a seminary. Okay, it's nothing wrong with seminary, I don't--but our pastor says seminary teachers are a lot of things that you're really not going to utilize. When there's theology, the basics in theology, it's teaching the basic. You're teaching the basic, and let God guide you through the rest of it.

But man is intervened in so much and put so much of his stuff into the seminaries that you get off track. There's nothing wrong with learning Latin, it's nothing wrong with learning Hebrew. Nothing wrong with learning Greek. Nothing wrong with those languages, but if you speak Greek or Hebrew to me, I 48:00won't know what you're talking about. (laughs)

The Bible say don't speak in tongues unless there's somebody there to interpret it. There's no need in speaking in tongues, and basically speaking in tongue mean that you're talking to God. God understands you.

MJ: Did they do that in the church you grew up with? Were people speaking--

MJ: No, no, Baptists.

MJ: Oh, okay. (laughs)

JACKSON:No one did that, they'd code you. I'm a walk away for a second.

MJ: All right.

JACKSON:After they code you, that's the one who's doing a lot of that speaking in tongue.

MJ: Yeah, my grandmother was--

MJ: There was Patterson.

MJ: My grandmother was Pentecostal, so she (laughs)--

MJ: Pentecostal, they fell out on the floor and rolled around. They purged you too, didn't they? (laughs) And actually, denominations is okay. Religious 49:00denominations is okay. Denominations is okay--don't have a problem with that. My thing is stay at the basics. Who are you serving? Each one of the churches, each one of denominations, who are you serving? We serving the same Jesus. You can serve him anyway you want. (laughs)

JONES: So do you have any of your neighbors come and seen you preach?

MJ: Yeah, my cousins and some of my friends when I did my initial sermon.

MJ: So how many--but how family members do you still got living in the neighborhood?

JACKSON:Ah, let's see, Chester Trowel, which is my first cousin. Sylvester Wilson, which is my first cousin. My daughter lives in her great-grandma's house on Jacob School, where her grandmama was raised. Where her grandmother was 50:00raised. She's living in that house now.

MJ: Do you every worry about the history of this neighborhood as a black community being lost?

MJ: I do because most of them are gone. Miss Richardson lives over here on Shirley. Miss Edmunds, she lives back on Bass. They are probably the two oldest original neighborhood people here.

MJ: How old are they?

MJ: Miss Dunbar is in that group also, and I think she's either in her late 80s or she's just busting into 90. Miss Richardson and Miss Edmunds, they are both 51:00in their early 90s. Okay, so those are the folks that--if you could sit down and talk to those folks, Miss Dunbar's over in the nursing home. Miss Richardson still lives in the house where she raised her son at. He lives right next door. Miss Edmunds is back here on Bass.

There wasn't but two houses on Bass before Hays Kennedy Park--before they put the nursing home back there. Actually you couldn't get through Bass, because it was growed up so much. (laughs) You couldn't get through it. You couldn't get through it. They put the nursing home back there, so and they had to open up the street. Miss Edmunds' house and Mr. Cox's house was the only ones on Bass. Wasn't no other houses on Bass.

All the houses on Shirley on this side backed up to Bass. The places on Shirley 52:00that backed up to Jacob School didn't go all the way over to Jacob School. It only went so far because it was an acre, half acre, an acre. Then you had the houses that was on Jacob School. You couldn't go over into the other property because now, it's the water company. So all their property and Shirley and Bass's property was backed up to each other.

So yeah, you--I have a few cousins out here, but I have cousins, Dwight Gibson, that Gibson family, Taylor family, Wilson family. Wilson family sold their home to (inaudible 0:52:50.3) to a generation, second cousin, but then he and his wife decided to move out. So now the wife's family living in there. And that's 53:00right across the street from Broaddus' house, which is descendant of James Taylor.

But the descendant of James Taylor built a house here too. So Carol Lewis, she was a realtor, Carol Lewis. Her grandson lived in her house. So there's a few which may not be related to me, but they still in the area. Doris Wilson, Larry White, Larry White and his family back there. Actually Rudell Stitch raised his family out here.

MJ: The boxer?

MJ: Yes. I'm looking at people now when you're bringing in history back and forth about who lives in this black neighborhood, Rudell Stitch.

MJ: What was the reaction when he died? Didn't he die saving somebody from drowning?


MJ: Yeah, he died saving somebody in the locks up there. He was a fisherman, so. And that wasn't--it was the second time. The second time he didn't make it. The first time he pulled somebody out of the locks. But this was the second. And then they just got his picture up on one of the buildings downtown.

MJ: Yeah, I've seen that.

MJ: I raised up with his family. Donny, Rudell, Daryl, Janet, a couple of them have passed on, but yeah, I was raised up with Rudell Stitch. I remember his auntie raised him after his mother passed away.

MJ: Well that's all the questions I had, is there something I didn't ask you about that you would like to mention?

MJ: No, but I would like for you if you're putting it, I mean, if you break it 55:00down, this was a redline district. This was a historical redline, and if I'm not mistaken, it's in the Green Book. Ake's Place would be in the Green Book for black travelers. We are diverse. I mean, we don't have no prejudices. We are a very--people moving here because it's safe. There's one way in, one way out. We have no crimes out here.

We don't have no kind of people come down shooting up people. It's none of that. I would like for more information about the Jacob School than anything, because it needs to be revitalized. Do you remember black man who cooked Derby City, man 56:00who cooked when the sororities would have it at the American Heritage, down there?

MJ: Yeah.

MJ: See I won an award down there. But the award that I won down there is because I do fried chicken wings. I'm a pretty good cook. Well I had James Taylor school picture up on my display, and it's strange how people would walk by and look at it and say, "Where is that at? Oh, I don't know nothing about that." Now mention Retired Service Man's Club? Oh, yeah I know where (inaudible 0:56:33.9) Club is.

Well it's not here anymore. It's patio homes. But the party district, if you want to really go back, Ebony Park, Smalls Park, Ebony Park, just different owners. To Retired Service Man's Club, was kicking on Sunday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday? It was kicking back here. But you didn't hear about no shooting. You 57:00didn't hear about no gang banging.

Nobody who want to be--my main goal right now in this neighborhood is to revitalize the Jacob School, Rosenwald School. They have money to finish the outside, they need monies to do the inside, GoFundMe and I wish I had the--(inaudible 0:57:28), Barry sent me the information to send to where the monies go send to. I don't have it with me, but I got your phone number, I'll send it to you.

MJ: All right, well thank you.

[End of interview][0:57:43.8]