East St. Louis Oral History Project:
Neighborhood Activism and Community Change

Narrator:  Cathy Tucker, Emerson Park

Biography:    Ms. Tucker was born on May 5, 1949 in St. Louis, Missouri, but grew up in Venice, Illinois, a town approximately ten miles from East St. Louis.  After graduating high school in Venice, Ms. Tucker got married and moved to East St. Louis in 1968.  She has lived in the Emerson Park neighborhood since her move to East St. Louis.  She is the mother of three children.  Cathy Tucker is currently working as a commissary manager at a food service company in East St. Louis.  She is also the treasurer of the Emerson Perk Development Corporation.

Interviewers:    Tim Macholl, Allison Petty, Temeka Magett, Ngozi Onyema and Juliette Kosycarz

Summary of the Interview:  This interview looked into the life of a long-time resident of East St. Louis.  In this interview, Ms. Cathy Tucker supplied many interesting facts about Emerson Park and East St. Louis as a member of the community.  While Ms. Tucker did not live in East St. Louis before the 1950's and 1960's, she was still able to explain to us the history and the changes the city has undergone in the last half-century.  She gave us information about the accomplishments and the goals of the Emerson Park Development Corporation.  Ms. Tucker and her fellow community members' appreciate the work of ESLARP and NTAC.  Such experiences have helped the neighborhood and set the stage for continued positive expectations for all of East St. Louis.

Allison:  Specifically do you think that what we do when we come down here for our work weekends, do you think that Emerson Park and East St. Louis in general benefits from, just the small jobs that we do when we come down here?

Cathy:  Well first of all, y'all 'aint just doin' small jobs!  You've done a lot in our community and I mean , sometimes it does, but I don't think we show appreciation enough for y'all because you've done a lot and I think your enthsiasm keeps us going because you all have helped us a lot.  We appreciate it.

                       These are some students talking with one of the community leaders in East St. Louis.

                                                          "That's (The Light Rail) a good thing, that's a positive for
                                                           our neighborhood, for our whole city.  Um I, I don't use it, but I
                                                           know people that do and rely on it so uh, it's a good thing." -Cathy Tucker

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