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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Campaigning for buses in Hickory, North Carolina

After her forced retirement, Cobb began campaigning for new bus lines in Hickory, North Carolina. Soon, she had her brother-in-law involved in the action. They continue discussing their involvement with various senior citizen groups for several minutes after the end of this passage.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACQUELYN HALL:
But you said something about trying to get bus lines in Hickory for the...
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What is that about?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We was wanting busses to run in Hickory to take these old people, pick them up, that can't drive a car.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And we don't only need them for the old people.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We need them for everybody in Hickory. We need a bus line in Hickory the worst of anything that's ever been.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
And especially since the gas is getting ...
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, and it's so many old people, when they get old they can't drive. And then we've got a lot of children could ride the bus. And a lot of people would ride the bus if we had ...
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They've got four busses for the aged.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, we've got four, but one of them's at Newton, and one of them's at Maiden. [END OF TAPE 4, SIDE B] [TAPE 5, SIDE A] [START OF TAPE 5, SIDE A]
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
... got a bus that was donated to us, and all we have to do is pay for the gas and bum us a driver or get us a driver. We've been lucky so far; we don't have to pay nobody to drive it. We've always got somebody that volunteered to do it, Mr. Buie and a lot of them, different people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What have you done to try to get the city to rent busses?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We just put a film on, and we asked them to.
ALVIN YELTON:
Me and her has been on TV for it and everything.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They put you on television?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, me and him both was on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that happen?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Somebody told them I run my mouth, I reckon. [Laughter] They come up here. And then I got out, and when I found out what it was... You see, I didn't know. I was just getting over pneumonia. We just had moved up here. And somebody just called me out of the blue and told me who they was and said he wanted to come up here and ask me a couple questions, just like you did. And I had on my gown and house coat. Really, I'd been in bed nearly all day, hadn't I, Alvin, that day? Set up a little bit. And so I told Alvin, "I'd better get me some clothes on." I started just to leave my house... I told him I'd been sick and had pneumonia. He asked me if I felt like talking, and I told him yes, I would talk to him if he wanted me to. He said he was from WSOC in Charlotte. And my Lord, when he drove up... He said he'd be up here in thirty minutes. Well, I run in the bathroom, talk about cleaned up. Put on a top and a pair of pants. And boy, I was glad I did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And so you were on the six o'clock news?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, I was on the six o'clock news, but I never saw it. I was out running around. [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
We looked for a week.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, and never saw it. And we went to the mall, and all them TV's at that new mall, we could have went We never saw it.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
... and they were on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That always happens.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
And I never did get to see it. I didn't see it yet. Alvin saw it, but me and Carrie never ...
ALVIN YELTON:
They ain't never here when nothing happens, and the telephone, I have to answer it all the time.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He has to answer the telephone.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there a committee that the senior citizens organization set up to try to do something about that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
You see, the taxi drivers of Hickory fought the busses that they got. Then we set up a committee to go, and they picked me to go with them on that committee, and we met on this committee with the taxi drivers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You talked with the taxi drivers.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They was talking to get us off; I was talking to keep us on. These here busses that hauls us to eat and hauls these old people to the doctor's, they don't want. They say it's ruining their taxi business.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you been reading about this? Was it a public hearing?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, they had it in the paper a couple of times, haven't they? This one taxi driver from Newton got up, and he said that he didn't think the taxpayers ought to pay for it, said people that's on the welfare is all they hauled. And boy, he sent me a blow there. Boy, I jumped up and told him, "Wait a minute, there, wait a minute. Everybody that rides that bus ain't on welfare. I ain't, and I know a whole lot more who ain't, and don't you go talking that way. We ain't on no welfare, but I think it's nice that they provide a way. What do you all just for the old people for? You've got a whole lot worse things going on than that." And I do think they have. He said, "Oh, I didn't mean to offend you." I said, "I ain't on welfare, though I wouldn't be too good to go on it if I had to. But it'll be a have-to when I do."