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Legacies Project Oral History: Web Kirksey

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:00am

When: 2018

Oral history interviews conducted with Web Kirksey by students of Skyline High School in 2018.  

Transcript

  • [00:00:09.19] INTERVIEWER: Can you please say and spell your name?
  • [00:00:12.25] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Daniel Webster Kirksey, last name is K-I-R-K-S-E-Y.
  • [00:00:22.69] INTERVIEWER: What is your birthday?
  • [00:00:24.77] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: December 3rd, 1933.
  • [00:00:29.02] INTERVIEWER: How would you describe your ethnic background? How would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:00:36.67] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Oh, African-American.
  • [00:00:39.12] INTERVIEWER: Do you have any religion affiliation?
  • [00:00:43.02] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No.
  • [00:00:45.03] INTERVIEWER: What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?
  • [00:00:52.10] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I have a bachelor's degree. And I had about a plus 15 hours, but bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan College.
  • [00:01:09.15] INTERVIEWER: Did you attend any additional school, or a form of career training beyond your college degree?
  • [00:01:18.99] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I took a little training, because I used to work at a boy's training school in Whitmore Lake. So we had to take some training in order to be trained to try to deal with the kids.
  • [00:01:35.99] INTERVIEWER: What is your marital status?
  • [00:01:38.81] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Married with two kids.
  • [00:01:42.86] INTERVIEWER: Is your spouse still living?
  • [00:01:44.76] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yes.
  • [00:01:46.40] INTERVIEWER: Do you have any siblings?
  • [00:01:48.56] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yes, I have a boy Chris, who lives in Annapolis. And then I have a son Gordon. And he lives in Minneapolis.
  • [00:02:05.75] INTERVIEWER: What would you consider your primary occupation?
  • [00:02:09.26] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Retired now, from the state of Michigan. And I worked for the state of Michigan boys training school to help delinquents who had gotten into trouble.
  • [00:02:22.19] INTERVIEWER: What age did you retire?
  • [00:02:26.64] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I retired when I was 69.
  • [00:02:39.44] INTERVIEWER: So we're going to go into the family history part of the interview. So do you know any stories about your family name?
  • [00:02:49.30] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, family name, no. My folks never really told stories about the names, or hardly anything. You probably got another question. So I'll just hold onto that. But, no, I don't-- I don't have anything about the name of our name. Parents never talked about it, for whatever reason.
  • [00:03:23.77] INTERVIEWER: Do you have any naming traditions in your family at all, like first name that gets passed down, junior?
  • [00:03:34.52] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No. No tradition names in our family, other than our regular names.
  • [00:03:51.33] INTERVIEWER: Do you know why your ancestors left to come to company United States?
  • [00:03:57.71] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No. My folks-- the history that I know of my family is that my mother came from a town called Boley, Oklahoma, which is one of the many all-black towns in Oklahoma. My father came from Texas. But further back, I have no knowledge of it. They never talked about it. I don't know if they really knew anything about what heritage they came from.
  • [00:04:36.55] INTERVIEWER: Do you know how they made a living?
  • [00:04:39.54] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: My father worked at a plant in Saginaw, Michigan. He left Texas, moved to Oklahoma, and then on to Saginaw, Michigan, which was one of the many car towns. And he worked in a car factory.
  • [00:05:03.49] My mother had some training and got a certificate to work in a beauty shop. And so that's what she did all her life. She was a beautician.
  • [00:05:19.61] INTERVIEWER: Do you know what car company your father worked for? General Motors?
  • [00:05:25.39] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: He worked for a Chevrolet factory in Saginaw, Michigan.
  • [00:05:35.00] INTERVIEWER: So why did they move to Michigan, Saginaw, Michigan?
  • [00:05:44.19] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I think my father moved-- my father moved was from the standpoint of trying to find employment, plus to get out of the South, because it wasn't that nice a place for African-Americans. My mother came to Saginaw with her seven siblings, and her husband. And they went through Saginaw.
  • [00:06:16.43] The husband went to Saginaw to find a job. That was a good place for people to go, plus a good place for African-Americans to get away from the South.
  • [00:06:30.33] INTERVIEWER: Did your father share with you any of the experiences of racism that he had in the South against African-Americans?
  • [00:06:39.75] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, my father never really talked about it. I guess people from the South try to get-- some people from the South try to get away from the talking about where they came from, what they had to put up with. So I guess they tried to, in some respects, spare the children how they felt, and what happened to them, just kind of leave that behind as much as possible and move on forward.
  • [00:07:11.46] INTERVIEWER: You said your mother came with seven siblings? Did your father come with any siblings at all?
  • [00:07:17.52] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: My father came-- I think my father came on his own to Saginaw. And that's, he just kind of came on his own. He wanted to get away from the South. He want to find some employment.
  • [00:07:40.60] And I think like a lot of African-Americans, that they went where there was an employment. So it was a good place for them to start over again.
  • [00:07:56.87] INTERVIEWER: Bryan has a question for you.
  • [00:07:58.32] BRYAN: So do you know the story of how your parents met?
  • [00:08:04.86] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, not really. I mean, it's really strange for me to have to talk about these questions, because my folks never really talked a lot about-- they didn't talk about where they came from too much. In there is about the siblings, none of them ever went back to where their parents came from.
  • [00:08:31.28] They just kind of, evidently, wanted to erase that. So I never knew how they met, which is, when I started doing this, I really felt kind of apprehensive myself, not knowing that. And none of the family really-- we never talked about how they met. It's like we woke up one day, and we had some parents.
  • [00:09:14.65] INTERVIEWER: Do you have any traditions in your family, like having fish on Christmas Eve or something like that?
  • [00:09:23.49] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Try to always get together on Christmas, the family, the families, for a while. But the family wasn't that close. So they didn't maintain a tradition. They just kind of got together, and enjoyed each other's company, but not on a regular basis.
  • [00:09:57.60] INTERVIEWER: So does your family is separated by geographically, where they lived somewhere else? Or just kind of they separated personality wise?
  • [00:10:10.23] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: They all kind of went different ways. My father's father had two sets of children, five and five. And five stayed, basically, my stepfather-- my father's family spread out. My mother's family all went to Saginaw.
  • [00:10:42.69] They all stayed there, except one brother. They all stayed there. And they all died in Saginaw.
  • [00:10:57.77] INTERVIEWER: Do you know anything about your grandparents, or stories about your grandparents at all?
  • [00:11:04.58] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I only saw my grandfather, my dad's father, one time. And that's when my father died. And he came to Saginaw.
  • [00:11:18.99] My mother's parents, they all lived in Saginaw. So we saw each other just about every day. And so because of the way things were in different parts of the country, we all lived in the same basic area. So we lived, basically, within four or five blocks from each other for a greater part of our lives.
  • [00:12:02.45] I think that's what happened. When they kind of came here, they all kind of came together. And told other members of the clan where there was places to live, and so they all stayed there.
  • [00:12:19.15] And there were these pockets of African-Americans in different parts of the city. And you didn't really-- you kind of stayed in that pocket, in terms of where you could find places to live, where you could buy a house or rent a house. There's only place-- we lived on the east side.
  • [00:12:43.90] So the east side of Saginaw was a pocket. Then there was the south side. And there was a pocket. And then sprinkled through different parts of the these different pockets were other people who came in there later on. Yeah, so that's.
  • [00:13:04.90] INTERVIEWER: Did you enjoy living in those pockets? Or were you like, oh, man, I wish I could go there?
  • [00:13:11.68] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: You know, in that time, people were just glad to be somewhere where they can enjoy their life. And so being in the pocket was being in the pocket. So it was all right, because there was more freedom.
  • [00:13:32.92] You were safer in these pockets. So it was OK. And, plus, all your friends were in these pockets. So it was all right.
  • [00:13:49.87] There was no, like it is now, there's no protest, because you can move. And you can live just about anywhere. At that time, there was certain areas you could live in. And that was it.
  • [00:14:07.17] INTERVIEWER: Move on to the earliest memories of childhood pat.
  • [00:14:11.26] BRYAN: Actually, let's take a break.
  • [00:14:13.35] INTERVIEWER: Take a break? All right, we'll take a break. Do you want some water?
  • [00:14:18.84] All right, so we are going to focus on your earliest memories as a child now. So you said you grew up in Saginaw, Michigan.
  • [00:14:26.54] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yes.
  • [00:14:27.36] INTERVIEWER: And what are some of your strongest memories of that place?
  • [00:14:32.63] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Of Saginaw?
  • [00:14:33.50] INTERVIEWER: Yeah.
  • [00:14:43.55] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I guess I could say, it was-- as bad as it was, it was OK, because that's the way it was, in terms of where we lived, and what we could do. There was a lot of things we-- because of segregation, we weren't allowed to go to certain places. So like I said before, like all our life was kind of basically early on in one pocket, two pockets that were set aside, or maybe not set aside.
  • [00:15:21.44] But that's where, in terms of African-Americans, that's where we usually went. Because of the way the country was, the people in Saginaw ran the town, ran the city, the same way as they did. We couldn't go here. We couldn't go there.
  • [00:15:45.81] We had our own theaters, kind of. And they were over in our area. We hardly went downtown very much, except for Christmas holidays, because they wanted our money. So we were OK then.
  • [00:16:05.01] But we never thought about it, because that was the way it was. So you just operate in the place where you were. So you live the life that was afforded to you.
  • [00:16:23.17] We never thought about it. I mean, nobody protest about not being able to go here, or being able to go there. There was no such thing as protests when I grow up.
  • [00:16:35.99] Your life is the way it is. And you try to make the best of it. You play the cards you're dealt. And that's just the way it was, until later on when people start trying to say that, things ought to be different, that we all should be able to do the same things, afford the same privileges.
  • [00:16:56.91] INTERVIEWER: So what was your house like? Could you describe the pocket that you were living in?
  • [00:17:04.12] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: They are all kind of small houses. My house was a small, two-story house, two bedrooms. And just a regular two bedrooms, and there was a living room, and dining room early on. And then my dad added a place where we-- they had a vegetable garden.
  • [00:17:43.32] So they canned a lot. So we canned peas, canned tomatoes, a lot of can in this house. And then my dad and some more men made an addition to our house.
  • [00:17:54.92] That's when my mother went out on her own as a beauty shop operator. We had a shop right there at the house. But it was a small house. And it wasn't-- the upstairs, there was a little-- now that I think about it, I was glad I wasn't too fat, because going up the stairs was the narrow stairs.
  • [00:18:20.73] Then you're upstairs, and the ceiling was not very tall. But, again, you're glad. We had a house. We had a place to stay. So it was OK.
  • [00:18:37.68] We looked around, and the community was like that. There were no great, big houses. Most of them were like small two bedrooms, or just one-- not two bedrooms, one floor, and basically not many of them were two floors. It was kind of like houses that they built for the factory people.
  • [00:19:06.45] So you didn't have a whole lot in terms of what you see around us now. We didn't have that. We had, again, the same things, like we were glad to have a place to stay, as opposed to when my folks left it wasn't like that, in terms of where you could go, what kind of house you would have. We had a house. So we glad. We had friends were there. So like I say, we tried to make the best of it.
  • [00:19:39.69] INTERVIEWER: How many people did you live with? And who did you live with, like in relationship to you?
  • [00:19:48.24] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Our house, it was just the three of us, my mother, father, and me. I had no brothers or sisters.
  • [00:19:56.44] INTERVIEWER: Did you guys just speak English?
  • [00:19:59.16] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yes.
  • [00:19:59.64] INTERVIEWER: No other language?
  • [00:20:01.26] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No. I mean, you guys don't know how fortunate you are, because we didn't have any of those possibilities. Even I lived in-- it was a mixed neighborhood. And there were a lot-- there were, as time went on, a lot of Hispanic people came there.
  • [00:20:26.61] A lot of them didn't speak Spanish either, because everybody wanted their son and daughter to speak English, because that was the language that's going to get them and move them along in life. So a lot of my friends who were Spanish couldn't speak Spanish. And so it made it hard when their grandparents came from Mexico, or wherever they came from. It was hard for them to have a relationship because the parents from Mexico didn't speak any English.
  • [00:20:58.00] INTERVIEWER: What was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:21:05.48] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: My family was-- my dad was a working man. My mother was working-- I mean, we had a house. In order to buy a house, we had, just like it is now. So it was just kind of like a working family.
  • [00:21:28.51] We never had a car. My father lived five or six blocks from work, from the factory. So a lot of the men get together and walk to work. But we never had a car. I was the first person in my family to have a car.
  • [00:21:51.19] I was like 20 some years old then. Now, the kids drive a car at 14 or 15. But we didn't care. We caught the bus, or we walked.
  • [00:22:07.18] And it wasn't too bad, because everybody was-- all our friends, all of them were walking, or we're all catching the bus. And that kind of made it fairly nice, because you had all your friends going to school with you. So it was all right, so in that sense.
  • [00:22:25.39] INTERVIEWER: So you said your mother worked in a beauty shop that was kind of a part of the house?
  • [00:22:31.92] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah, at first she got a-- she was working for another person. She got a certificate, beauty shop certificate. And she worked in this lady shop. And then she decided to have a place of her own. And so she went and got a place of her own.
  • [00:22:54.57] INTERVIEWER: Was she the owner of that company, or not company, but beauty shop?
  • [00:22:59.67] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah, she was the owner, yeah. For a while, there was my mother and her friend who had worked at another place moved in to working for my mother. And they both worked together.
  • [00:23:16.62] So it was nice to have a friend working with you, that you knew. And so that what was good. So they had a good relationship. And they worked together for a long, long time.
  • [00:23:34.90] INTERVIEWER: So you said your father worked in the General Motors?
  • [00:23:38.43] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Chevrolet plant.
  • [00:23:39.97] INTERVIEWER: Do you know exactly what he did specifically?
  • [00:23:43.41] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, I really-- he didn't talk about that either. I guess they just kind of kept everything to themselves. I mean, the hard part of it, because they always wanted the children to go to school, and get a education so they don't have to do the kind of work. They were doing hard work, because early on, it wasn't all the robotics and all the stuff that you had now.
  • [00:24:05.77] It was picking things up, and moving these heavy objects from one place to another, and putting them on a line. So it wasn't like it is now, where they have all the help that they have now.
  • [00:24:22.67] INTERVIEWER: How many hours do you think your parents worked a day?
  • [00:24:27.53] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: My father just worked a regular eight hour shift. And then as the car factories progressed, they start having to build more cars. So they had overtime, just like they have overtime now. So they had a lot of over time.
  • [00:24:53.16] So more or less just a regular eight hour day, except when they wanted to make more cars, and more things involved with the cars. They would do, just like they do here, four hours, eight hour overtime, or whatever.
  • [00:25:11.19] INTERVIEWER: Do you know what wage your father made?
  • [00:25:16.78] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, I don't know what they made. It wasn't a whole lot. But it was sufficient to be able to do what a father wants to do for his family. My mother helped. But he was the main caretaker of the family.
  • [00:25:45.97] INTERVIEWER: What was your earliest memory?
  • [00:25:51.89] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: You know, I knew this is going to be a hard one, because I really can't-- I guess my first memory was school. And then that was like, I started school in the six-- well, it was kindergarten. So my first memory was of school, because that's where my relationships were.
  • [00:26:14.21] And that's where everything happened was where we all went to school together. From school, we went back home together. So those are my first memories, and playing. There was no TV.
  • [00:26:29.32] TV didn't come in until I was-- I think '48 and '49 was when TV first came in, with a couple of stations and not much else. I grew up, it was radio. Everything was radio, music.
  • [00:26:56.95] It was just radio. The programs were like The Voice, but it wasn't like The Voice. But there was a program like that. That was for the older crowd.
  • [00:27:11.41] And then we got Lone Ranger, and Hopalong Cassidy. That's for the boys. And the girls got-- I forgot what they got. But the girls kind of got a thing of their own.
  • [00:27:26.12] So like I say, there was no nothing-- it was radio. I grew up with radio. Radio was good. At that time, since there wasn't anything else, we all congregated around the radio. So that made it nice.
  • [00:27:47.32] Everybody was together. So that was a good day. But that was early on before what we have now.
  • [00:28:00.58] INTERVIEWER: So did you go to preschool? Or did you just go straight to kindergarten?
  • [00:28:06.22] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: There was no preschool. It was like kindergarten was where everybody started. Sometimes, the Catholic schools had something a little different. But everybody kind of started in the kindergarten.
  • [00:28:27.31] Kindergarten to sixth grade, and then we had seventh, eighth, and ninth, which was middle school for us. High school was 10th, 11th, and 12th. That's the way it was for a long time, until they changed it here.
  • [00:28:43.56] INTERVIEWER: So you said what you did for fun was listen to radio and stuff? Did you do anything else for fun?
  • [00:28:52.13] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Boys did what boys do. We played football, baseball, basketball. We made wooden scooters. We didn't have a whole lot.
  • [00:29:08.24] So you got a chance to be inventive about, we made scooters. We made boxcars, push each other in. We played in the woods. We played in the woods, because the river was three blocks away.
  • [00:29:28.71] So we would go to the woods, and play Tarzan, and Hopalong Cassidy. So we played a lot in the woods, because our folks wanted us to get out of their hair too. So everybody was kind of happy with that one. It's the same way with everywhere, you kind of invent things.
  • [00:29:55.01] It isn't this, and then you create your fun. We ran relays, and all kinds of things. And we were boys-- we wouldn't tell our friends this. But we made mud pies.
  • [00:30:10.41] You know, we made mud pies, you would think that's what the women, the girls would work with. It was something to do, something to put your hands on. It was something to do.
  • [00:30:20.27] Other than that, there wasn't much out there for us. We went to the show. We went to the theater.
  • [00:30:29.23] Children went to theater in the afternoon. and that's where we went. We went on Saturday. Adults went to the theater on Friday. And when you got older, you got to be a teenager, they would allow you to go at night.
  • [00:30:49.18] That was cool. Going at night, that means you're more of an adult. When you were younger, you did the theater in the afternoon. And sometime, we would see the same movie twice, because we would be together twice.
  • [00:31:09.10] So that was good to be around your friends. It was all right. You watch the movie once. And then you just talk the rest of the movie again, just to be around your friends.
  • [00:31:24.43] INTERVIEWER: So on the topic of having fun with other things, did you have any yard games, games that you played in your yard?
  • [00:31:38.05] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: We played marbles. Kids don't play marbles now. But marbles was a big thing. In fact, they had a marble championship in our city.
  • [00:31:51.94] It was nationwide. The championships were in New York. So marbles was kind of a big thing. We played-- well, we played hopscotch.
  • [00:32:08.10] We played a game called mumbly peg. And it was a game where you had an ice pick or a knife. And you would flip it over to make it stick in the ground.
  • [00:32:22.65] And that's how, when it stuck in the ground, you move to the next one. And you try to do something with that. The boys liked that, because we had dexterity.
  • [00:32:34.53] You know, you could brag about, I was four pegs ahead of you. So that was-- I can't remember all the games we had, because we had more games, more things that-- sometimes, we just invented games. It didn't make any sense to anybody else. But it made sense to, you know, like us five in the room now.
  • [00:32:58.32] It made sense to us. We were having fun, enjoying each other. So a lot of things that, just like kids do now. I mean, you make up your own games.
  • [00:33:24.17] INTERVIEWER: OK, so these first couple questions we may have asked you already. But we need to ask you again, some basic questions for our story. OK, so where did you grow up as a child?
  • [00:33:36.20] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Saginaw, Michigan.
  • [00:33:38.54] INTERVIEWER: And what kind of sports did you like to play as a child?
  • [00:33:45.95] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: In my younger days?
  • [00:33:47.00] INTERVIEWER: Yeah, in your younger days.
  • [00:33:48.33] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: OK. Played soccer, and basketball. And then we had like little track meets near the end of the year, 6th, 7th, and 8th.
  • [00:34:05.50] INTERVIEWER: So when did you-- what age did you start playing basketball?
  • [00:34:10.97] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: What age? Probably around-- oh, what age? Probably around 12. We had what they called boy town teams in 6th, 7ty. And so I was on a team with a bunch of my friends. You know how that is? It's all your friends.
  • [00:34:37.55] INTERVIEWER: So is that competitive? So did you play competitive before high school?
  • [00:34:40.88] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah, it was-- in high school?
  • [00:34:43.14] INTERVIEWER: Or before high school.
  • [00:34:46.58] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: It was kind of competitive. They tried to make an attempt to let everybody play. It wasn't always the guys that weren't so good never got a chance to play. So it's more like on a team, they had the best players. But then they had to make sure that everybody played, because everybody's parents are there. So you want everybody to feel good about playing.
  • [00:35:14.24] INTERVIEWER: So what year did you decide to start playing on the high school basketball team? Was that your freshman year?
  • [00:35:26.06] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Eighth grade.
  • [00:35:28.79] INTERVIEWER: And why did you decide to play on the team?
  • [00:35:32.96] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I liked basketball. And then my friends were-- you keep your friends close to you. And I like basketball.
  • [00:35:45.92] We played soccer. But we only played it up to the ninth grade. We played eighth and ninth grade. After that, it was football. And I was a little skinny guy. So I left football out, to concentrate on basketball.
  • [00:36:01.22] INTERVIEWER: So did you have any memorable teammates with basketball, or your friends that you could tell us a little bit about?
  • [00:36:12.03] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: We had like a threesome on my team. It wasn't the high school team. It was before, around junior high. And we had-- it was like, Chester, Lester, and Webster.
  • [00:36:30.73] It just happened to be that way. And we all played the same position. We played guard. So that's what Chester, Lester, and Webster. I'm Webster, and then there was Chester and Lester.
  • [00:36:49.17] And we all, at that time, everybody lived around the same place. We lived around one block away from each other. But everybody was kind of like-- because everything was really kind of segregated then. So everybody kind of lived, all of us that were African-Americans and Hispanics, we all kind of lived in the same area.
  • [00:37:15.64] So we just hung with our people we played with every day. And then we all went out to the basketball team together. And we were all about the same level of skills. And so we all got-- and then we all got a chance to play.
  • [00:37:40.77] INTERVIEWER: So how did they help you evolve as a person and a player?
  • [00:37:47.15] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Sports?
  • [00:37:47.88] INTERVIEWER: Yeah, sports, and as a person too.
  • [00:37:55.29] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Well, sports, because it made you think more about trying to be better, because you wanted to play more. And in that time, when you got to junior high, everybody wanted to play as much as they could. So you worked hard at it.
  • [00:38:15.77] So sports made you recognize that you had to work hard if you wanted to accomplish the goals you set out, like to play on the team, play enough, make your community proud of you, make your folks proud of you. And so sports really helped. And it helped you-- we had good coaches, who would try to help you develop your character, what kind of person you wanted to be, how you conducted yourself.
  • [00:38:58.42] And so the sports kind of helped that. Yeah, I can tell you this incident. Like we were practicing.
  • [00:39:08.54] And one of the guys, he always wanted to show off. And so he made a booboo. And I laughed.
  • [00:39:18.92] And then everybody laughed after I laughed. And then I didn't play very much after that. Coach didn't like that, that you made fun of somebody, somebody's error.
  • [00:39:35.12] So that kind of helped me learn that you be respectful of everybody, no matter what you do, especially if somebody does something that makes them kind of look bad. They need some help to help them feel better about themselves. You've made a mistake, then you can correct it some other game, some other time. So we kind of learned you know, if you want to play, then you have to be respectful of other people.
  • [00:40:12.53] INTERVIEWER: Do you remember any special games, any playoff games, or games where you just played really well?
  • [00:40:21.68] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: When?
  • [00:40:22.58] INTERVIEWER: Like in high school.
  • [00:40:27.12] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah, they were all kind of memorable. I was kind of lucky, because my skills kind of developed fairly well. And the one thing I remember is that we won the championship when I was a senior.
  • [00:40:57.55] So that was a big thing. We got our pictures taken. So it was a little more advertisement of your skill, and your team's skill, than it had been with that recognition of being a champ. That was all right.
  • [00:41:18.19] INTERVIEWER: That's awesome. Did you win, like, besides your championship, did you win anything else, like also individual awards?
  • [00:41:29.51] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah, I was-- in my junior year, I was third-team all state. My senior year, I was all-state in four different-- they had people who rated the players, the Associated Press. And then there was-- I can't remember all the teams. But I made three teams, from three different people who scouted people.
  • [00:42:01.83] So that was, you know-- I was fortunate, that I kind of developed my skills. And so I was lucky to be nominated for those awards. A lot of times, your character helps you develop. Sometimes, the people who might have been better than you as a basketball player, they weren't that good as a person.
  • [00:42:36.29] So people who rated you took that in consideration too. He was a good person, and was a good basketball player. And so like I say, I was kind of lucky to get all state.
  • [00:42:52.25] INTERVIEWER: So when did you decide that you wanted to play college basketball, and why?
  • [00:43:03.20] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I really didn't decide to play college basketball, because I never thought about going to college, because my folks didn't have a lot of money. And there wasn't the scholarships.
  • [00:43:16.07] And nobody tried to-- even my high school coach never really tried to help me go to school, get a scholarship, because everybody thought that all African-American players, their career ended, unless you went down South. That was the only place that you were welcome, was in the all black colleges in the South.
  • [00:43:53.58] So I never thought about it. And I was lucky, because my eighth grade coach, he liked me. Not that he didn't like everybody else, but he liked me for whatever reason. And so he called me one day after I graduated.
  • [00:44:16.52] And he wanted to bring in the coach from-- which is now Eastern Michigan. At that time, it was called Michigan Normal College. And he had gone there. And so what he did was brought his coach over to my folks, brought over to our house.
  • [00:44:39.09] And we had a discussion. And the coach told us what was available. And they weren't giving out many scholarships at Michigan Normal.
  • [00:44:51.66] And so what can you say? It's like, yes. My folks were glad, because they didn't have the money to send me to school. There wasn't any scholarships.
  • [00:45:06.02] We didn't know anything about all those things that possibly were available, because nobody looked at African-Americans at that time. And so I was glad. So it was a yes, yes, yes, to off to college. But it was kind of frightening-- not frightening.
  • [00:45:25.14] It was kind of scary, because I had never been anywhere. The only place I had been took a train ride, and I went to National Boy Scout Jamboree, which was in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. We took the train. But other than that, most people, at that time, there wasn't a lot of airplane flying.
  • [00:45:47.65] So everybody kind of went on Greyhounds and the train. So I got a chance to go on a train. That was the only trip I made growing up, was on the train.
  • [00:46:04.22] INTERVIEWER: So what was, overall, what obstacles or hardships did you face during your high school, and/or high school college basketball career, in general?
  • [00:46:19.99] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: It was kind of the usual things. African-Americans, we were kind of segregated no matter where we went. At that time, they had the signs up everywhere you went. To go to the bathroom, you had colored, you had white.
  • [00:46:46.98] If you wanted a drink of water, this was not in Saginaw, because it was OK. Everybody kind of hang together. But when I went down South when I was in the service, coming from a place where you're in the North where everything everybody goes to the same place to go in a place, and you turn the corner, and it says, colored. Then you turn, white.
  • [00:47:11.74] Then all those things they had told you about the South stares you right in the face. And so drinking fountains was the same thing. Where you sit to go watch the movie, you had your special section.
  • [00:47:31.70] So was all kind of really new. You know, people tell you about these things. But until you experience them, it's not really real. So that helped it get real for us. And this was like in the early '50s, and the '40ws, when all these things transpired.
  • [00:48:07.65] INTERVIEWER: All right, so we're going to shift to college more now. So what did you study in college? And why did you choose to study that?
  • [00:48:18.49] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I started out in phys ed. I was going to have a phys ed major. And then I switched to teaching. And then I teach the special ed. I taught special ed. And I focused on that for the rest of my career, in education.
  • [00:48:40.25] INTERVIEWER: Can you tell us some memorable college basketball moments?
  • [00:48:48.20] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: There was there was a lot of them. The one I remember, I guess I remember the most, was, as a freshman, I broke the scoring record, the season scoring record, as a freshman. So I didn't start to do that.
  • [00:49:15.61] I didn't start to try to be the highest scorer. It just happened. During that time, the only people who shot very much was a forward. So I was a forward. So I was lucky, just by my position.
  • [00:49:34.18] If you a guard, you brought the ball down the floor, and you play good defense. If you a center, you got a couple of shots, but you play more defense and get more rebounds.
  • [00:49:46.00] But the forwards were the people who took most of the shots. And you kind of end up, by virtue of your position, being the highest scorer a lot of the games. And so that was a memorable game, I mean time.
  • [00:50:14.91] One of the memorable game was when I was a sophomore. And things happened to you in your life that you never try. At least, I never really tried to-- you tried to do the best you can. And I played a game, if I could have kicked them, they would have went in, because I scored 46 points.
  • [00:50:41.50] So that was the most points had been scored, at the time in Eastern Michigan, slash, or I should say Michigan Normal, slash Eastern Michigan. So that was-- I mean, it was wild. No matter what you did, it was always the right thing. And I made those 46 points.
  • [00:51:13.87] At that time, for me, it was like-- you know, because everybody's congratulating you, everybody telling you how wonderful you are, even though you had some doubts about yourself. So it was a-- first two years were good, broke the scoring record, and set a record, another record, most points. So that was kind of a memorable time for me, a couple of memorable times for me.
  • [00:51:47.80] INTERVIEWER: If you have any others, we have a lot of time, if you remember anything else.
  • [00:51:54.57] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: I'm with you guys, man. So.
  • [00:51:58.34] INTERVIEWER: When you played in that game, was there a point, like maybe early on, that you realized that tonight you could score a lot of points? Were you just on, in a rhythm?
  • [00:52:13.65] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, I just never-- I never thought about it in that way. I just thought about things were going right. Even when you tripping and falling, and throwing the ball up in the air, it happened to go in. And then what you're playing-- so everything just went right.
  • [00:52:39.77] It's one of those games-- later on in my career, it's one of those games that you hope for that everything is going right, and you shooting the ball right, and it's going in. Everything is going right. It's a great feeling when things going your way, no matter what it is.
  • [00:52:59.72] If you're playing soccer, you go by somebody and kick a goal, it's like, everything is going right. So it was times like that. It's great. But you have to learn how to see where it's at. That's not always going to happen that way.
  • [00:53:24.08] So you're careful. I was with parents that didn't let you brag too much. They kind of held you down, because they know, sooner or later, you're going to have games where you-- the game I made 46 points, the game before I made nine points.
  • [00:53:44.15] I was the leading scorer on my team. So it don't always go the way you think it's going go. So you don't want to get too high up on the hog. You just won't try to stay-- we had a community help too, because we were all close together.
  • [00:54:04.28] You got a lot of feedback from the older people in the community. I remember a few times, when they would say, I saw your name in the paper. You're doing really good. But you get them studies.
  • [00:54:21.68] They would point out at you, and say, hey, man, you get them studies, because they all worked in the factory. They all worked in those hard jobs. And they didn't want their kids to go have to do that. They wanted you to move on farther.
  • [00:54:33.92] So your community was always on you about, we saw. You're doing well, young man. But get those studies. They always told you, that's where you focus at. That will take you from one place to another, because at that time, there wasn't any African-Americans in the NBA.
  • [00:54:57.62] It's hard to realize that now. But it wasn't until 1950 that there were any black players in the NBA. And that was only three at that time.
  • [00:55:16.02] There were some leagues that you could play. But they were all black leagues. That's the way of the world at that time. So that's why the Globetrotters were a big pull for young black and African-American kids who wanted to go on further, because that was your only avenue. So everybody wanted to be a Globetrotter, because if you want to play basketball, keep on playing basketball, that's what you aim for, because there was no other avenue for you.
  • [00:56:00.28] INTERVIEWER: So did that tightness of the community help you?
  • [00:56:04.63] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Oh yeah. Lie I was just saying, the community was tight, because everybody was your mother and father. You had your real mother and father. Then you had everybody else in the community on you.
  • [00:56:23.29] I mean, the language that kids use now, you could never do that in the '50s and the '40s. You never talk like that around women, whether they're old woman or young women. You never use language, where you swore.
  • [00:56:47.95] That was just the way the community was run. They told you, you just didn't do that. And there's things that I remember that I still do, like you had to give up your seat, not only to an older person, but to a woman, young woman.
  • [00:57:08.86] You gave up your seat. That's what you did. That was part of the-- I wouldn't call it the rules. But that was part of the thing that you were taught that's what you do.
  • [00:57:20.17] And you gave up your seat to older men, the same thing, to give them that respect. They were the people that were going out every day working hard to try to make money for a family to pay bills and everything. So you had to try to give them the respect that they deserve. So those kind of things were going on in the community kind of thing.
  • [00:57:45.22] You didn't swear around women. You gave up respect. And that's the way it was in those days.
  • [00:57:58.96] I still remember to give up my seat to older men and women. Some things, you'll find this out as you go through life, some things you learn, you never forget. And you never give them up, no matter what everybody else is doing. People say, you doing that still?
  • [00:58:27.13] Yeah. There's nothing wrong with giving people respect. Nothing wrong trying to do right, and trying to maintain the rules, because you're going to have kids too.
  • [00:58:44.65] Even if they're your own, they'll be your own in the community. And so you can pass on the good things that you learn. And you pass it on to them, which helps the community, because community has as a kind of thing about itself, about rules.
  • [00:59:04.33] And when I grew up, like I was saying, everybody was your mother or father. So if Ms. Jones told you to do something, you didn't wrinkle up your nose, or say anything smart. You did what she told you, because you knew by the time if you didn't, by the time you got home, your folks knew how you acted.
  • [00:59:27.79] So you had a little something coming sometimes. That's one thing the community really tries to stress. And like my mother was a beautician.
  • [00:59:48.70] And so she did all the women's hair at that time. She had some customers. And then her customers, they were women of the night. They were prostitutes that came to the store, came to her shop.
  • [01:00:04.54] And everybody knew who was who. It's just like, you live in a little tight community. Everybody knows, Ms. Jones, what she does, and blah, blah. And my mother always told me, she's a woman. So you give her respect.
  • [01:00:20.27] What she does is none of your business. Your business is to give her respect, because she's a woman. And you treat her that way, like you treat every other woman in this community. I never forgot that either.
  • [01:00:34.72] And I had some friends who grew up, because there wasn't a whole lot of opportunities for kids to go to school at that time, that a lot of them were pimps. They had women. And they treated them a certain kind of way.
  • [01:00:54.15] That's the way you're supposed to treat the women of the night. But I never did. I never forgot what my mother told me.
  • [01:01:04.10] So whatever I gave my mother, I gave these women too, because she was a woman. So like I say, it's things your folks are going to teach you. If you're wise, you keep it with you all the time with you.
  • [01:01:16.11] And they help you, may help you get a job, because somebody sees how you act and how you conduct yourself. So what the community gives you, you try to pick out the things that you find that have been maybe beneficial to you. And you keep it with you all your life. And they help you as you can move along the way.
  • [01:01:40.69] INTERVIEWER: Wow, that was a very powerful answer. We're going to shift back to basketball for a second. Do you have any memorable teammates and coaches that you remember, or are still in touch today that helped you?
  • [01:01:58.25] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: The coaches was like Mr. Stoner, the guy I told you who brought me to Eastern. But they've all passed. That's when I was 13, 14, 15, 16.
  • [01:02:16.39] But I guess, in essence for me, it was like, everybody. I got a little bit of everybody in me, people that helped me. When I was trying to be a wise guy, they helped me, because they are part of the community, helped me to stay where I needed to stay, and helped me when they saw I was giving respect, and doing the rules of the community, watch yourself, young man.
  • [01:02:55.93] So the community really kind of helped you, because we were all so close. Like I said, and everybody was your mother and father. I mean, everybody helps you in all kinds of ways with discipline.
  • [01:03:16.75] When you did well, they pat you on the back. How you doing in school? How you doing, young man?
  • [01:03:25.51] It was all things like this. All that helped me be whatever I am today. That kind of helps me, as you grow older, different things happen to you. And you just grab that, and put that into your life, and use it the best way you can.
  • [01:03:50.26] INTERVIEWER: So what was your social experience in college like?
  • [01:03:57.54] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Nothing like it is now. Everything was kind of like it was-- in the '50s, it wasn't-- there was no women on the same floor. They had the men stay one place, women stay the other place.
  • [01:04:19.77] The women had to be in it at 10:00 o'clock during the week, maybe 11:00 o'clock on the weekends. So I lost-- what did you ask me?
  • [01:04:36.90] INTERVIEWER: Oh, what was your social experience like?
  • [01:04:39.75] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Yeah. It was all kind of like-- it was all kind of like maintained. Everybody was watching, because there was not a whole lot of hugging and kissing. It was all like, you might sneak over here, and kiss a girl real quick, or you might hug somebody. But it wasn't-- we were kind of stiff in the '50s, to tell you the truth.
  • [01:05:12.21] When I look back at it, and people look back, it was like, we were stiff. But everybody try to maintain, try to keep you out of trouble, try to keep young girls from having babies out of wedlock, and all those kind of things, which they still do.
  • [01:05:31.71] But it was really a kind of big thing then. Parents try to keep you-- I guess they try to keep you corralled, because they didn't want you to go through all that, have to get a job before you want to because you got to take care of a child. And so that's-- so we didn't do a whole lot.
  • [01:06:08.58] You went to a party. And there was always some adults there, monitoring your behavior. Yeah, it wasn't as much fun as you guys have.
  • [01:06:31.23] So it was pretty well maintained. It was kind of, really-- when I look back at it, it was really kind of stiff. But you still learn how to enjoy the stiffness, because there wasn't nothing else to enjoy, really.
  • [01:06:47.52] So you took what was there. And you just used it, and played with it, and tried to enjoy it. You always had the older guys in communities telling you how things are, trying to give you some education about what they thought you needed as a young man growing up, which was different than the education you're getting from your parents at home.
  • [01:07:19.87] Like I say, it was kind of stiff. But we didn't know it was stiff at that time. So you just kind of do what you had to do, what you were taught. And you learn how to live with it, you know? And for a lot of us who paid attention, it came out all right. For a lot of people who didn't pay attention, it didn't come out all right.
  • [01:07:44.39] INTERVIEWER: So did you have any hardships or obstacles during college, like similar to high school? Or were they kind of different?
  • [01:07:56.29] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: In college, it was a little different, because for me, because we were going to games. So you're going to other places that you'd never gone before. You're around people-- you're around more-- we weren't segregated.
  • [01:08:17.60] But everybody kind of stayed on their own. But now, you're going to college. And so now, they're more people of different races and religions. And so there were different things you had to deal with that you hadn't dealt with before.
  • [01:08:34.11] So it was another education, that there's a whole different world out there that you have to get used to dealing with, and people you're dealing with. And how the things you learn fit into how you relate to other people, and how you go through your life, as you go from going to college. And you start going to these other places with these other people.
  • [01:09:02.48] And early on, most of the people where you go who weren't like you, who weren't black, they all treated you the same. So you got the same crap no matter where you go.
  • [01:09:19.64] I mean, people looked at you different. We went to places where they wouldn't serve us. We took our basketball team went in, five or six of us went into this-- I can remember this. Five or six guys of us went into this restaurant. And we sat down.
  • [01:09:44.34] And we sat there, and sat there, and sat there. And nobody came to wait on us. So the captain went over there, said, we'd like to get waited on. He said, you got too many brothers.
  • [01:10:00.09] We don't wait on them other people. I think it was Southern Illinois. So that kind of puts you in a reality. You pump yourself up. You're going to represent your school.
  • [01:10:24.52] And you're all pumped up about the game, and all that. And then something like that happens to you. It makes you feel reality, that, hey, this stuff is everywhere. The things you face at home, you face everywhere.
  • [01:10:42.88] So you had to learn how to deal with it. And the incident I just told you about, about not being served, a friend of mine, we've been getting together for the last three years. He was the captain of the team. He was about two years older than me.
  • [01:11:01.20] There's three of us, we get together. They were all older than me. So we've been knowing each other for 60 years. And we've been doing this get together for the last three years.
  • [01:11:14.39] And they remember that. They remember it too. And these guys, I was the only-- it's me-- at that time, I was the only black guy on the team.
  • [01:11:33.94] And so these guys remember that incident, because it affected them too, even though it really didn't. But in a way, it did. So they said, hey man, the captain said, hey, man, let's go. We can't stay here.
  • [01:11:49.93] I haven't forgot that either. They could have went and got a sandwich, and said, man, we'll give it to you at the back door. They said, no, we're getting out of here. After 60 years, that still makes me feel good, that, yeah, all right, I was with some good people, some good people.
  • [01:12:10.48] INTERVIEWER: That's good. So we're going to shift now to what you did after college? So did you ever consider going professional, like with the Globetrotters that you were talking about?
  • [01:12:21.31] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: No, not really. I thought about just where all my-- where everybody went in the community. It was like going to work at Ford, or Chevrolet. It wasn't going to college. Some people went to college, because people went down South because they had a lot of African-American colleges down South.
  • [01:12:47.77] And that's where all the black kids went to school, in all the towns with a sufficient number of black people. So all we thought about was getting a job in the factories. So we didn't. Until the guy came to my house, and said, hey man, I got a place for you. I never thought.
  • [01:13:12.82] And nobody ever thought about, in school, nobody thought about-- nobody gave us any credit. You going to be just like everybody else. You going to go and be in the factory, because you don't have the intelligence. So nobody really pushed us.
  • [01:13:34.06] By all rights, I should have been able to speak Spanish, because I grew up in a community where there were a lot us Hispanics that were coming from Mexico, and Texas, and everywhere else, to get jobs. And they were like the migrant workers we talk about now. They would go from sugar beets, to potatoes, and all the way up to Traverse City, which was where they pick cherries.
  • [01:14:10.68] So we didn't-- nobody really thought about it. Your parents didn't think about it, because none of them had an experience of going to college. And they didn't know what to do.
  • [01:14:22.46] And nobody really told us that there was opportunities. A lot of people who had grew up in the South didn't want you to go back down South, to put yourself through all these places where you couldn't-- you had to go in the back, go on the side.
  • [01:14:48.28] They didn't want to put you through that, because that had happened to them. And a lot of folks that I knew had been in places where they knew of their friends being hanged, being run out of town, I mean all those experiences. So folks didn't want you to go back there.
  • [01:15:15.85] My mother's brothers and sisters never went back, where my mother and her brothers grew up, in a place called Boley, Oklahoma, they never went back home. They never went back. And so, for me, I didn't really think about it.
  • [01:15:54.67] My history was, I never knew about it, because they never went back. Their mother never went back. I went back once, because I had a cousin who wanted me to come. He wanted to meet me.
  • [01:16:16.17] And so I went back. But other than that, we never went back home. For a of people, it's too painful. A lot of people, you've been through certain things. It's kind of scary too.
  • [01:16:29.83] INTERVIEWER: So what was your first job? And then what was your job for like the majority of your life after college?
  • [01:16:37.35] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: My first job, my first real job, outside of selling papers, I guess my first job was-- I worked as a nurse's aide, I guess you'd call it, as a nurse's aid. In the service, we called them bedpan jockeys, because we did a lot of emptying bedpans for the patients.
  • [01:17:13.40] But that was mainly my main job was, when I came back. I'd been to the service for a couple of years. I came back home. Then I went to Detroit. Then I came back home. And then I got a job.
  • [01:17:31.59] Memory-- my first job was in Detroit at a place called Chrysler Auto. That's where my first job was, yeah. And then I had a job at-- I came back home.
  • [01:17:48.47] And I had a job at the veterans hospital. And then the longest job I had is when I had a job working for the state at a boys training school. It's shut down now. It used to be for juvenile delinquents.
  • [01:18:06.86] So I was there 26 years. And it was a place for kids that had problems with the court. And they were sent there to try to work out their problems, and try to get their self together.
  • [01:18:29.06] And they went to school there. And they tried to iron out their problems. They had a plan, the state had a plan at this place, where the kids would go to school, and try to develop their behavior.
  • [01:18:57.04] And part of how you got out of there in a reasonable time was you had to raise your math scores. You had to raise your reading scores, as well as your behavior. So if you didn't raise them, you stay there longer than you would if you put your mind to it.
  • [01:19:23.29] It's really funny. It's not funny, but when we watch the kids, the kids had a lot of talents that they never knew they had, because they weren't going to school. They weren't paying attention.
  • [01:19:44.98] Some of the things the kids could do was amazing. But they had been in situations where the opportunity was to paint. Some of the kids could paint, could draw.
  • [01:19:59.50] Some of the kids wrote plays. It was amazing. Some of the kids were good athletes. Few of the kids went back to the neighborhoods-- I mean, one kid went back from Flint, he went back to Flint, won the state championship the next year after he went, was a good ballplayer. Then the next year, we saw him back again. He hadn't paid attention.
  • [01:20:27.46] INTERVIEWER: So how did your college basketball experiences and high school help you with that certain job, and in the real world overall?
  • [01:20:40.72] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: Well, it's part of that whole, this whole thing about what you pick up as you go along. And when I got to a job, got you a chance to hone your skills, because you had to use them in trying to help somebody. Help somebody, and you help yourself.
  • [01:21:07.50] You know, I would take kids home some time, spend the weekend, because they came from a situation where they wouldn't get any-- you know, you could get a visit from your family. A lot of these kids didn't have families. And they were trying.
  • [01:21:26.81] Some time, I would take them home. A lot of people would take kids home for a couple of days, you trying to tell them, hold out, man. Just hold out. Keep on trying to keep on. You know, hopefully what what you do and somebody else does help them move along.
  • [01:21:47.00] INTERVIEWER: So one last question. How did you overcome all of those obstacles and racial discrimination that you've experienced?
  • [01:22:02.37] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: You don't overcome it, man, because it's-- yeah, well you would know it, you know? You know, because here in school, because this-- you know, nasty people are everywhere. And they're nasty everywhere.
  • [01:22:22.24] You have to find a way of maintaining, develop your character, and to maintain who you are to go through life. And don't let them change you, unless it's for the better. I mean, everybody thinks Ann Arbor is really liberal. It really isn't, because I run into people every other day that you know when people don't like you.
  • [01:22:59.39] Just like here in school, you know who doesn't like you, for whatever reason. I haven't done anything to them. They don't know me. I haven't said hello to them.
  • [01:23:09.95] Yet, still, they look at me and treat me in a certain kind of way. You get tired of it. But I can't change anybody. I can't change you.
  • [01:23:23.15] You change yourself, if there's a change that can be made. So you just learn how to deal with it. It's going to be all through your life, on your job, wherever you go. It's like, you just got to stay who you are. And don't let somebody take you out of who you are, and then you end up in trouble or whatever.
  • [01:23:53.63] You just gotta-- you know how to bite the bullet. It don't taste good all the time. And it gets on your nerves. But that's life.
  • [01:24:06.02] So you just try that the lessons that you find that help you, you hang on to them, and develop them. And the ones that don't help you, you let them go. And you have to be careful.
  • [01:24:27.29] And you have to monitor yourself, that being a person is a hard job. And so you have to keep yourself. You have to watch yourself. You have to watch what you say, in order to keep on being a good person.
  • [01:24:52.76] That's what you want to be, a good person, because you can take who you are, and help somebody, help your friend, help how you treat your friends, and things like that. You just have to keep on trying to be a good person, which is hard, because obstacles in your life are out there everywhere.
  • [01:25:21.02] You just got to try to find the good stuff in your life, which from your friends. Don't let them take you. Whatever you do, you still got to be who you are, and try to conduct yourself in such a way. That and be good to your-- be a good person. Make your folks proud of you with what you do. And so that's it.
  • [01:25:58.09] INTERVIEWER: [INAUDIBLE] So I think we're done. All right, we're done.
  • [01:26:03.43] DANIEL WEBSTER KIRKSEY: We're done, all right.
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2018

Length: 01:26:09

Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)

Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library

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Oral Histories
Legacies Project
Web Kirksey