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Interview with Martha Ann Cox

MICHELLE LITTLE: This is Michelle Little, I’m here with Martha Ann Cox. Today is October 29, 2012. First I would like to talk about your childhood. You grew up in Talladega. Is that right?

MARTHA ANN COX: Yes, Michelle, I was actually born in Brantley, which is in south Alabama. But we moved away when I was one. So, virtually no, I don’t remember anything. I grew up in Talladega. Lived in three different houses.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Where did you go to high school?

MARTHA ANN COX: Talladega High School.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Were you involved in any activities in high school, any extracurricular?

MARTHA ANN COX: Tape recorder you have to remember that we’re eating. Yes, I 1:00was in the band.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh wow, what did you play? I was in the band.

MARTHA ANN COX: Saxophone. And one year I played the cymbals.

MICHELLE LITTLE: To march with?

MARTHA ANN COX: Um-hunh. Then I was in the Honor Society and the Fellowship Christian Athletes. Although I was not an athlete. I played all types of sports, but not competitively. And then I learned how to type. And I learned how to run a mimeograph machine. Which you don’t even know what that is.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I don’t.

MARTHA ANN COX: It was two sheets, usually carbon, and you typed on it, not a computer, typewriter. And then you tore the back off and you lay it down on a 2:00felt thing that had ink on it. You’d crank out tests, just like you do a copy machine. I learned how to learn how to do that. So that got me out of the classroom a lot of times, which helped me get to know the faculty. That’s one of those things that I look back on now, one of those out of the classroom experiences were valuable to me. I did all right in high school, made A’s, made one or two B’s but I also got to know the faculty, and they’d call on me to do their mimeograph machine. So when I started working, and I had that 3:00added advantage. So, out of classroom experiences are valuable.

MICHELLE LITTLE: And then, what made you to decide to attend Howard?

MARTHA ANN COX: My sister attended Howard. She was eight years older. And I don’t know that I ever thought about going anywhere else. I’m sure that if I had said anything, my parents, both of them were educators. My dad was vice president of the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, and my mother was a teacher, a third grade teacher. So it was an understood fact that I would go to college. And I think an understood fact that I would go to Howard College. Probably because my sister was there. I never got into the Auburn/Alabama 4:00hoopla .

MICHELLE LITTLE: Where did your parents go to school?

MARTHA ANN COX: My dad went to Emory and my mother went to Troy and graduated from the University of Alabama. So I came out of an educated family. But I suspect that there might have been some subtle pressure from my parents to go to Howard because my sister had gone there.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Do you have any other siblings?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, just a sister. She has three children, one niece and two nephews, a bunch of great nieces and nephews. Only one of them, my sister graduated, oh, I already told you that. One of those nephews graduated from 5:00Samford, but that’s the only one in the family I could convince. I had a great niece who said she wanted to come to Samford, and she came for one of the preview days. So they were carrying her around on that golf cart that the Admissions Office has, and she was telling, there were not that many kids on the tour, she was telling the tour guide what went on in various buildings. So he said, “How do you know so much about this place?” She said, “Well, I used to spend my summers down here.” And they did. I lived on campus and they would come spend summers with me and run all over campus. So they knew as much about 6:00the campus as the tour guide.

MICHELLE LITTLE: As the tour guide or more maybe.

MARTHA ANN COX: And he asked me when they brought them back. He said, “How does she know?” I said, “Well, been down here before for summers”. Well, not all the summers.

MICHELLE LITTLE: What are your memories from the Eastlake Campus from going to school, because you were actually there during the move. What do you remember about Eastlake?

MARTHA ANN COX: The first thing that I remember was I perhaps have been identified with my Dad as much as anything. And so when they left, when my Mom 7:00and Dad left us on a Sunday afternoon. Well, of course, you know my mother was crying, and I was crying, but I got over it right quick. My first memory other than that is in about ten minutes my Dad comes knocking on the door. And they had bought some furniture polish and he was bringing me the furniture polish back. Well, it all happened over again. I started crying again. So that’s my very, very first memory was my Dad used the furniture polish. Did we use it, no? No.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Furniture polish.

MARTHA ANN COX: We did not use that polish. And then very few of us had cars. 8:00So, if you wanted to go home. You had to find somebody, an upper classman, usually, that had a car. It was not real hard to do. People would be going to Anniston. I never had any problem. We did ride the bus one time. Don’t ask me why. The first time I rode the bus. I had a little suitcase, walked down on First Avenue, caught the trolley. Never done that in my life, went to the bus station, got on the bus, rode the bus to Talladega. Never did it again.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Was it a bad experience?

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, no, but why do it?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Did you get a car then?

MARTHA ANN COX: I think we thought, my roommate was from Talladega, also. I 9:00think we thought, “Well, let’s just be independent.” I tend to be independent. You will soon find that out. So that was another experience. Another thing that we did have a snack bar on campus, which was right off of the football field.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: Which was much smaller than the Food Court. But that was the place where we met. And a lot of the student went to Ruhama Baptist Church, which is just right up the street. Well, I didn’t go to Ruhama. I don’t whether I was a rebel or not. I went to Woodlawn.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay, how far away was that?

10:00

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, you had to ride the trolley. There again, we didn’t have cars. We’d go hop on the trolley. I think the reason that I went to Woodlawn was because I knew the youth director. So, that was an experience. David, not David, forget that. Another thing I remember about the old campus was that we knew we were going to move and so some of us took probably a little more liberty in what we did than what we should have.

MICHELLE LITTLE: In what way?

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, you can imagine. Have you talked to anybody? Did anybody know you were going to do this?

MICHELLE LITTLE: No.

MARTHA ANN COX: That’s good. I was a little mischievous, and we would do 11:00things like, one day we short-sheeted everybody’s bed on the hall. And then one day two or three of us got a mop and we mopped everybody’s room on the hall. Didn’t tell them anything, just mopped it. It was mostly seniors. Somebody did me a favor. I don’t know who it was. And I got a room in the dorm in the Renfro Hall, which is where all the upper classmen lived.

MICHELLE LITTLE: And you were a freshman?

MARTHA ANN COX: Oh yeah. So I was there on the floor with a lot of upper classmen. I was not about letting them get the best of me. So we did things like that. And I did one thing one time that I’m not proud of but it is a scream.

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MICHELLE LITTLE: Well, do tell.

MARTHA ANN COX: I was taking General Psychology under Miss Foreman, who a lot of people that you probably won’t interview will remember. Miss Foreman taught Psychology for a long time. And one of the things she said was “If we fear something that we ought to see that there’s nothing to fear.” So we had a girl that lived on the hall. She, too, was a freshman. And we worked in the Dining Hall. We waited tables. The Dining Hall seated meals. So I thought I’m going to cure her of her fear. So I got a sheet and I got a butcher knife 13:00from the kitchen and a bottle of ketchup and a piece of rope, and I knew exactly that she was coming to her room, and hang up her apron. So I went in there and put the rope around my neck, and tied a noose in it, put the sheet on, put a little ketchup on it, and dropped the knife on the floor. And when she came in, now we were great friends, and still are, surprisingly. She reached in to put her apron in there, and you know felt me, and so she looked in there, and she screamed and fell on the floor, and fell on the knife. Well, in the process, well, I of course jerked, and I jerked the noose tight around my neck and burned my neck, rope burn. So, once I discovered that she had not hurt herself and that 14:00she thought it was funny, I didn’t think it was too funny at that point. I had to go see the Dean of Women, who at that time was Margaret Sizemore, very stiff, very prim and proper. Here I am with a rope burn on my neck, explaining what I had done. As I said, I am not proud of that, but I told Miss Foreman about it. And she was impressed that I had listened and you know had taken that to heart. I said Miss Foreman, “I believe you are stretching it a little bit.” You know, I should not have done that. But just things like that. Then Birmingham Southern came over. Sometime during the Spring. It might have been 15:00in the summer, I don’t when it was, but some of our guys were going to move the flagpole. You heard this story?

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’ve heard that there is a story.

MARTHA ANN COX: They were going to move the flagpole from the old campus. They were going to walk it from the old campus to the new campus.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Walk it?

MARTHA ANN COX: Un-hunh. And the president of the Student Government organized it. The girls, we went along and cheered them on. But it got too heavy and so they just had to lay it on the side of the road, planning to go back and get it. Birmingham Southern found out about it. And that point, Birmingham Southern and Samford were rivals in basketball, big rivals. Not only for students but in basketball. They went over there and got it, and brought it to the new campus.

16:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, they did.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah. Much to the chagrin to all of the rest of us. So, somewhere or another there’s a bulldog, it’s about like that. It’s a felt bulldog. I suspect Elizabeth Wells has it.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’ve seen a picture of that.

MARTHA ANN COX: So the guys decided that they would take that. So they put that in a little case and walked that to the new campus and made a big deal about it. But the flagpole incident was a little disturbing. But just things like that, that we knew we were leaving. We weren’t destructive. Dr. Alston Dobbins taught English for a long time, very good English teacher, superb 17:00Shakespeare teacher. But I had freshmen English. And we had it in a house on a side of the campus that had a potbelly stove in the middle of the room. Now you don’t know what that is.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’ve seen them. Potbelly stove. Yes.

MARTHA ANN COX: But I think it did have heat in it. Several of us, guys and girls, decided that we would wear Bermuda shorts to his class one day. That was a no-no. You didn’t wear shorts anywhere. If you wore shorts you had your raincoat on.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Could the guys wear shorts?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, so although they didn’t have as many rules as we did. As the girls did. But we decided, 7 or 8 of us, that we would wear Bermuda shorts. So we go prancing in his classroom, sit in our usual seat. He comes in. Ummm, 18:00you know. Looks around, announces that he believes some of us need to go back to our rooms, and come back to class appropriately dressed. We didn’t argue. We got up and ran back to the dorm. I don’t even think we could wear pants without a raincoat over them. Whatever we put on was right. We got back. It’s things like that. My theory is that you learn as much out of the classroom as you do in the classroom.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Absolutely.

MARTHA ANN COX: And sometimes you have to manufacture your own learning 19:00experiences, which turned out to help me when I came back to Samford to work. We will get into that a little later. So those are the things about. Then in the summer time we moved books to the library from the old campus to the new campus.

MICHELLE LITTLE: All the students helped or just some people volunteered?

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, we were paid. You want to know how much we were paid?

MICHELLE LITTLE: How much?

MARTHA ANN COX: Fifty-five cents an hour.

MICHELLE LITTLE: What all, how did the furniture get in there? Did they have moving trucks for bringing the furniture?

MARTHA ANN COX: Much of it was new except if you had gone in Brooks Hall. Now 20:00understand we remodeled Brooks Hall a little bit. If you had gone into Brooks Hall you would have found some furniture. It was on the old campus. Now trucks moved it. We just helped move the books. So then we came to the campus. Now are you ready to get off the old campus and get on the new campus?

MARTHA ANN COX: Please stop me at any point.

MICHELLE LITTLE: The only other question I have you said ya’ll were meeting in a house. Were a lot of the classes having to meet in houses around? Was that out of space? Was that pretty common? Were they professors’ house or just houses in the community?

MARTHA ANN COX: The campus, the old campus and the new campus before we began to expand out this way on a new campus, was relatively the same. If you go look 21:00on that wall in front of the library, you’ll see that the basic outline of the old campus and the basic outline of the new campus.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: Are very similar, but we just didn’t have that many classroom buildings. Pharmacy had their own building, but the rest of us, we didn’t have our own buildings, so they bought houses but they were within that block. We didn’t have to go very far. There were some houses around that the university bought for dorms. And the people lived in these houses, because the enrollment was growing and they needed some space. I think that’s the only 22:00class I had in a house. Now you want to go to the new campus?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Now we can go to the new campus. Tell me, ya’ll got on the new campus.

MARTHA ANN COX: When we got on the new campus there were no sidewalks. None, with the exception of in front of Samford and in front of McWhorter School of Pharmacy.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So, just that front circle.

MARTHA ANN COX: Um-hunh.

MICHELLE LITTLE: That won’t get you far.

MARTHA ANN COX: Now, so we made our own sidewalks. And so then it rained, of course, and so they decided to put down mattress covers because you see, we had all new mattresses, so they had all these mattress covers. So they put down 23:00mattress covers where we were walking. But you know how wet a mattress cover gets?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: And none of us wore, I can’t say none, but very few women wore heels.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: Now a days a lot do.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: But if they had worn heels and they step down on that cardboard, they’d be taking cardboard with them. Well, we thought that they would lay the sidewalks where we had made a sidewalk. They had a plan, though. So they came back a little later on and laid the sidewalk.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So it was within your first year that they had that?

MARTHA ANN COX: In the first year, in the first semester. We had Physical 24:00Education. There were seven buildings on campus. Faculty apartments which had now fallen apart, up there behind the Zeta House. Samford Hall, the front part of Ingles Hall, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, the front part of the Library, the back part of the University Center where the Food Court is, the University Center, the Library,

MICHELLE LITTLE: Was the gym, part of the gym there?

MARTHA ANN COX: Part of the gym, you know where the pool is? That was the basketball court.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: You’d dribble the ball and it would go, thump, thump because 25:00it was hollow, there was no pool under there. They just built it that way. Well then, well I can’t think of the other buildings. But anyway, the Biology building was there behind Russell. I meant the Russell Hall was there. We had Physical Education across the street, which was a two-lane road, and hiking from Vail Hall, which was the only women’s residence hall, across Lakeshore Drive to play volleyball. You know we just all dreaded making, but there was no other place to be there. The football field was there. They dug that out. You know there were woods everywhere else. So, we had to go down there but otherwise 26:00everything was new and we were excited and then the whole debacle about the trees. Did you hear about the trees?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Didn’t they cut down the wrong one at first?

MARTHA ANN COX: I’m not exactly sure about the whole truth to that. But they did cut down some that they weren’t supposed to. I don’t know if they cut down all of them.

MICHELLE LITTLE: We heard they marked the ones they wanted to keep, but then they came in and cut down those instead.

MARTHA ANN COX: Also, walking from Vail Hall. Remember now the only building over there was the Library. Walking from Vail Hall over to Russell Hall to 27:00Biology you would freeze your tail off because there was nothing there to block any wind, no Dwight Beeson, there was no Brooks. And the chapel was an interesting story, when they started to build the chapel they dug the three foundations and it rained. Well, it was a swimming pool.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Did ya’ll go swimming?

MARTHA ANN COX: Oh sure. But not in the daytime. Muddy, oh muddy.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, my goodness.

MARTHA ANN COX: I don’t know exactly. Now this was while I was still a student. Yeah, we’d go over there. When I say we, it was probably twenty or 28:00thirty of us would hang out together. And see we didn’t have cars. We would walk to Homewood but we would walk through the houses behind the campus until people started putting up fences and then they had dogs.

MICHELLE LITTLE: They didn’t want ya’ll walking. Wow.

MARTHA ANN COX: So, we may not have done too much. There’s always been a little rift between Homewood and Samford. We may not have done our part in helping Samford by walking through their yards. Although, we never tore up anything. We just make a pact with each other that we were not going to tear up something. We were not going to viciously disobey the rules. We’d bend them a 29:00little bit. But we’d go swimming. But always in our clothes. Because at that point at camps and stuff in the Baptist Church, boys and girls didn’t go swimming together. So we would say, not that it’d make any difference at all, but we had our clothes on.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: That didn’t make any difference. I don’t know that we ever really got in trouble for that. We had a few talking to’s.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So you didn’t get caught, but they didn’t. I guess they didn’t have a rule in place for “don’t swim in Reid Chapel”.

MARTHA ANN COX: Don’t go swimming in a foundation. The campus police at that 30:00time were from the Pinkerton Detective Agency. That was a detective agency in downtown Birmingham. It was a contract service. So you know what we called them. The “pinkies”. They were the brunt of many stories. They had a little Volkswagen. Tell me why a campus safety had a Volkswagen and I can’t figure that one out. But it got painted pink one night. Another night some of the guys decided that on that main sidewalk, now remember there weren’t any 31:00trees for air coming in, I mean, its tree lined now, but there weren’t any trees. And the pinkies would drive down that sidewalk at a certain time.

MICHELLE LITTLE: The one that goes in front of the library.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah. I reckon they were looking for us. And they, some of the guys, went over to one of the construction sites and got some concrete blocks and built a little church and a little window and a little flower sitting in the window. And we were all over in the bushes, somewhere around the library. So here comes the pinkies and they always cut their lights off, and remember there were no trees and no lights on that campus. Well, they cut their lights off. Well, they ran into the brick. Now we did get in trouble there. We 32:00had to pay to get that car fixed. It didn’t cost much to get a little Volkswagen fixed. Then probably, now all this time I was going to class, and I was secretary of Student Government Association one year, and I was vice president one year, so I was involved in, and then we had a women’s student government association one year, and we had a student government association.

MICHELLE LITTLE: And you were president of the Student Government?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, I was vice president of Student Government.

MICHELLE LITTLE: But then you had the women’s.

MARTHA ANN COX: And sometimes the women’s student government was more active than the men, but we had all that. Then we had Step Sing and, of course, I was 33:00in Step Sing every year. However, we just stood on the steps of Vail Hall and sang. There was no choreography. That came much later after I graduated. There are many things that happened when I was a student. Probably my most embarrassing moment while I was a student was my roommate. I was a senior and she was a junior. And you may hear throughout this course the name of Gail Hiles. Now Gail was killed in an automobile accident her senior year. I had already graduated. Anyway, Gail and I were both nominated for Homecoming queen. 34:00Well, that was about the farthest thing from my mind. Now I’m the saddle oxford and socks type person. Now Gail was absolutely beautiful. So I was chairing the homecoming that year for Student Government and, so I decided that Gail was going to be the homecoming queen. I just knew she was. So we went downtown and rented furs, stoles, and so I got one because Gail was very dark haired and I was red headed, short hair. I rented one that would go with the dark hair, short hair. And so we had a parade and I looked kinda funny because we had a pageant on Friday night and I was, being in charge of homecoming. I 35:00was running around, changing clothes at the last minute. I had borrowed a dress, a strapless, waltz length dress from somebody, failed to take my saddle oxfords off and my socks. And no one told me. So I go walking on the stage. And, of course, everybody is laughing at this point, and I don’t know, because I’m very comfortable. When I realized what it was, so then I started trying to get that waltz length dress to cover up my shoes and my socks. To make matters worse, I won.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, my goodness. Wow.

36:00

MARTHA ANN COX: And that year we had a big cape. So they put this cape on me, and by this time I was beside myself, and I have always had trouble with my eyes and light, and they had spotlights on the end of the runway and I walked off, I fell into some students that were sitting on the front row. It didn’t hurt me because I had on that robe, that big robe. So, they just picked me up and turned me around set me back up there. Unbeknownst to me, my parents were there. I was a bit embarrassed. But

MICHELLE LITTLE: But you won Homecoming Queen.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah, I won Homecoming Queen. And so the next day at the parade, here I am with this red hair and this very light fur, which should have been dark with red hair. That’s probably the most embarrassing thing. And 37:00then trying to teach music right that was the president’s wife at that time. To do the hoola hoop.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Tell me about that.

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, she didn’t know how to use the hoola hoop, so several of us decided we needed to teach her. She did pretty good.

MICHELLE LITTLE: What setting did that come about in?

MARTHA ANN COX: Homecoming.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Homecoming. Okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: You know, in the cafeteria. I didn’t go to summer school and I worked in summer camps.

MICHELLE LITTLE: On campus.

MARTHA ANN COX: No, I worked for Alabama WMU, in their summer camp. So I was there four years and you know, graduated. Had a psychology class with Miss 38:00Foreman. The last semester she gave true/false tests and I did not do well on true/false tests. And I was president of the senior class. She called me in right before graduation. And said, “You are not going to graduate.” And I, you know, I said “Ma’am.” She said, “Well let me show you your tests.” Well it had red marks all over it. It was a true/false test. It had red marks. Final exam was true/false. I said, “Miss Foreman I don’t do well on true/false tests. I’ve never done well on true/false tests.” She said, “Well, you come back to my office tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 o’clock and 39:00I’m going to give you an oral test.” And I said, “Okay.” So, I really worried for a day and a half because here I was, planning graduation, and here I wasn’t even going to graduate. At not only the embarrassment to my parents, but embarrassment to the class. Several of the students told me, “Now, you know Miss Foreman’s going to pass you.” I said, “No, I don’t.” So I went back and had a great discussion and I passed and graduated. Even up to the last minute I was, you know, kinda on the edge. But I had a great relationship 40:00with faculty, great relationship with students and administration. You know, I could have been in jail.

MICHELLE LITTLE: On a technicality.

MARTHA ANN COX: Um-hunh.

MICHELLE LITTLE: And then you went on to get your Master’s?

MARTHA ANN COX: I taught school two years, fifth grade.

MICHELLE LITTLE: You did that first?

MARTHA ANN COX: Un-humh. And then I went to the University of Alabama, got my Master’s. That’s another interesting time that Jonathan has always been interested in because it was, I went there in the Fall of 1962, and I was there until the Spring of 1964.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay.

MARTHA ANN COX: You remember what happened at Alabama end of 1963?

41:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: Do you want to talk about that?

MARTHA ANN COX: I was Vivian’s counselor.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So you did some counseling while you were getting your Master’s?

MARTHA ANN COX: Um-hunh. Well, that was my, my Master’s is in counseling, psychology, and I have an AD added, which means I went to school six years. Doesn’t do you any good money wise. It would if I taught school, though.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: But that was a wonderful experience. And Jonathan and I’ve talked about it numerous times. Yeah, I was her counselor. Ate lunch with her the day George Wallace stood in the door, had three telephones. It’s a whole another story. Had three telephones: one at the White House, one at the Justice Department, and one to the Tuscaloosa police. You know, I, just absolutely, 42:00wonderful experience for me. And the reason that the Dean of Students at the University of Alabama wanted me to do that was because I had graduated from Samford. And she thought that I might have a little common sense and be able to handle situations. Now she didn’t know all that I did at Samford. She might have changed her mind about. That was a wonderful summer for me, you know, just one of those things that just doesn’t happen to everybody. Now Vivian ate every bit of her lunch. I didn’t eat a bite of mine. Because I knew it was 43:00very well scripted. We had a notebook that had been prepared by the Justice Department in Washington and by George Wallace’s office. We knew when she was to arrive, we knew when George Wallace was going to arrive, we knew exactly what he was going to do, we knew exactly what the Attorney General was going to do, we knew exactly what the National Guard was going to do,

MICHELLE LITTLE: You had the playbook.

MARTHA ANN COX: Oh yeah. There was no “if” about it. So I knew that at 11:30, we’ll say, we had to be through eating, that I had to have her for the U.S. Marshalls, so I really credit George Wallace for keeping peace and sanity 44:00at Alabama that summer, because we had some dynamite thrown and some incidence happen, but he came and represented the people of Alabama. I went to Alabama and counseled in Psychology, came back two years to Baptist hospitals.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Now what did you do there?

MARTHA ANN COX: I was Director of Counseling and Student Activities. Taught patient relations for a while with the nurses and some doctors. Then came back to Samford.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Did you just hear about a job over here or did you always want to come back and work at Samford?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, there was a man that who died several years ago, Arthur Walker.

MICHELLE LITTLE: That he hired you?

MARTHA ANN COX: In fact, he told me when I graduated. He said if I’m ever in 45:00a position, he taught Religion, and I had Religion under him. He said if I ever have an opportunity to hire you at Samford, just be prepared. So, you know, that was in the back of my mind.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: But Miss Sizemore was the Dean of Women at the time and it just wasn’t structured so that, you know he could hire me, but he got in a position where he could do that, and so he called me and said I want you to come work at Samford, and I said, “Well, yes sir.” So I taught school two years, was in graduate school two and a half years, was in Baptist hospital two years, and then came to Samford. Started out in Housing,

MICHELLE LITTLE: And you came and moved into Vail, right?

46:00

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah.

MICHELLE LITTLE: How long did you live in Vail?

MARTHA ANN COX: Oh, gosh. Well, I was there four years in school and then I was there 38 years working. So probably, about half of that, I lived in Vail, and the other half I lived over in Center of the Healing Arts. Used to have guest rooms over there.

MICHELLE LITTLE: By the Rotunda Club?

MARTHA ANN COX: Yep. Um. Yeah I lived in Vail.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Tell me about when you moved back and lived in Vail as an employee. Tell me about that.

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, I told Dr. Walker at the time, I said “Dr. Walker there’s some things we need to change, said they’ve been here since I was a student, and they are a little bit outdated. One of them was, if you were a 47:00student and I wanted to go to your home for the weekend, your mother had to write a letter inviting me to come. So he said, “I know” and he said, “Just give me two weeks,” and so he said, “You write all this out and give it to me.” So in two weeks he came to the dorm and had meeting. We used to have dorm meetings and everybody was in their pajamas and here comes Dr. Walker and he says, “Now, I want to introduce somebody to you.” And he introduced me and said, “We’re going to be making some changes. I trust her and you need to trust her because she has your interest at heart.” Probably one of the better compliments, one of them. So we began to make some changes and they were 48:00hard at first. We made a whole, whole slew of changes like that letter, didn’t get to the curfew till later. But before that meeting, he said, “Now you just lay low for the first two weeks.” So I said, “Okay.” I didn’t lay low. I just put on stuff that a student might wear and on the day that the students moved in I just acted like I was a student. And I went around and when some of us were coming in the room I’d say, “Over there you’ve got some more stuff, let me help you move it in.” I’d go out to the car and get some of their stuff and bring it in. And then I’d go on to another hall and I’d 49:00go get it and I’d bring it in. Then during those two weeks I’d go visiting around the dorm sit down and saying “What class you taking and all this stuff.” Well, when he announced who I was, their mouths just fell open, cause I’d been tricky. But on the other hand to me that showed my interest in them and my concern for them. So we did, well, made some changes. Still had that mischievous streak up my back, moved in the dorm, girls had to be in by 9:00 50:00o’clock and the guys didn’t have to be in.

MICHELLE LITTLE: They didn’t have the same curfew?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, well they didn’t have any curfew. Much less the same. Well, the girls would call them to go get them a pizza or get them a hamburger or something. So one night I hear this knock on my window. And I said, “What you want?” “Here’s your pizza.” So I just raised the window up, took the pizza and said, “Thank you,” and put the window down. The girls in the next room were the ones that had called and I said, “Oh me, look what we have done now.” So they came out in the hall and the guys were out there and said, “Where’s my money, where’s my money?” Well, the girls came out into the 51:00hall to compare notes and I just walked out in the hall, and I said, “Did ya’ll order a pizza?” “Yes ma’am.” “Well, here it is.” Turned around and walked off. I didn’t say a word to them. Scared them to death. One of my favorite tricks, was always have a camera with a flashbulb, but no film, because if you saw someone had done something, get that camera out, take a little flashbulb and they think, “Oh me, it’s on film.” Another one of my favorite things to do was secrecy, not secrecy, but quietness. When I became vice president and Dean of Students, then I had to do a lot more discipline. 52:00And so the students would come, and I always made sure that there was nothing on my desk, because if there’s something on your desk, it appears that you’re busy. And I didn’t want the student to think that I was busy and didn’t have time to listen. In fact, most of the time my desk was clean. Because if you came in and wanted to tell me something, talk to me about something, they told me she’s busy, I can’t stay too long. I learned that in graduate school. But they would come in and they would sit across, I never had a desk, I always had a table. They would sit across the table from me, and I would just look at them, and they would squirm, you know, and I’d still be looking at them. 53:00They’d be squirming and I would say to them, “Now what are you going to do about your behavior?” And that’s all I’d say to them. I’d just look at them, “What are you going to do about your behavior?” Interesting conversations after that once they started. When I retired they had a dinner and one of the students got up and said, “The one thing that I will never forget was that.” I went to see Dean Cox because something or other and she looked at me and said, “Now what are you going to do about your behavior?” And she said, “I learned that I couldn’t handle my behavior. I could 54:00manage, I could change.” And she was not in trouble. Something about a boyfriend or something that she was worried about. So that mischievous streak was still there. I was in several Step Sing shows of other groups. Once the BSU choir. They had a gurney. I was on the gurney, but people didn’t know who it was. And one of the songs was something about sawing off your legs, so they had a chain saw out there. And they cranked the chain saw up. So I raise up with a big sign that says, “Stop.” Well, you know, of course the student body went crazy. Got Dr. Corts and the other vice presidents to be in Step Sing 55:00one year.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Wow, Dr. Corts. Did he sing?

MARTHA ANN COX: He, 9 to 5, he came out dressed like a gangster. Marla, his wife, had dressed him up. He had on a red, I think a red shirt, maybe a black suit, white tie, hat pulled down over his face. It took the students a while because they didn’t know that we were going to do this. And we practiced in his office. We had staff meetings on Monday morning and part of it would be learning, no he did not sing. And no we didn’t sing either because we were so tickled. But all the vice presidents were there and he had this chain and he 56:00was making us work.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’ll have to see if there’s a video of this. It’s hilarious.

MARTHA ANN COX: It lasted not more than five minutes but it was wonderful.

MICHELLE LITTLE: That’s amazing. I can’t imagine that.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah, he and the vice president said, “We’ll never get him to do it.” I didn’t even give him a chance. I told his wife, “I said, Marla, you gotta help me.” And I told Rachel, his oldest daughter. I said, “Rachel, you got to help me.” I said, “I’ve got an idea and your dad needs to be in Step Sing.” Because when he came to Samford the first thing he came to other than an interview was Step Sing. And he has always credited Step Sing with being one of those factors that helped him decide. So I told Rachel 57:00and Marla, “I said, Ya’ll got to help me now.” So I just took the music down there one day and the tape and he got through, we got through with the meeting, I said, “Okay, it’s time to practice,” and I had told the other vice president and they too said, “You’ll never get him to do it.” I said, “We’re just not going to give him a chance.”

MICHELLE LITTLE: I cannot imagine. I’m going to look for a picture of that.

MARTHA ANN COX: I wish I could tell you the year but I can’t tell you the year. But I’m sure Liz Wells will probably come up with something. But I credit, now you’ve got questions.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I do. But if you’ve got something you want to say, I want 58:00you to say what’s on your mind.

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, let me say this one thing. I credit working in summer camp

MICHELLE LITTLE: With the WMU

MARTHA ANN COX: It didn’t matter who it was with, just working in summer camp. Having a mischievous streak up my back and just kinda being on the edge there for a while with educating me as to how to do what I did at Samford. One of the compliments, I have to say another compliment while ago, was when Arthur Walker called me. But one of them was when a student, their parents were there, it was Parents’ Weekend, and he said, “Come here, I want you to meet 59:00someone.” I said, “Okay.” So he went over and got his parents. He said, “This is Dean Cox. I don’t know what she does, but she’s just always around.” You know, I thought, you can’t get a higher compliment than “I don’t know what she does.” In other words, titles were not important to me, nor were they important to the student. Mud wrestling, used to mud wrestle for the Fall Carnival. Does Charlotte Jones still teach in the Psychology Department? Do you know Charlotte Jones, blond hair, very immaculate? Sigma Chi came in and said “Dr. Jones said she’d mud wrestle if you’d mud wrestle. 60:00Well, I had already mud wrestled. And I said, “Well, what?” And so she calls me up on the phone and she said “We’re going to mud wrestle, but I have one request. Don’t get any mud in my hair.” Well, Michelle, you know what that did.

MICHELLE LITTLE: That’s the first thing you did, wasn’t it?

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, I lost. Well, she tackled me and I fell down in the mud. And then Jenny Bridges one year was the Director of Campus Ministries. And Jenny was going to mud wrestle. Now Jenny was very petite. Jenny wanted to know what to wear. I said, “Jenny, you wear something that you don’t want to keep.” I said, “Don’t put a bra on. It won’t make any difference. Put two tee shirts on. If it’s cold put a sweat shirt on. And put two pairs 61:00of panty hose on. Cause one thing it will keep you warm and another when you get out, they’ll just take the mud off. And then wear a pair of gym shorts or something.” Jenny came all dressed up. We got in the mud and we started mud wrestling. Just kinda playing around. And all of a sudden Jenny’s sitting down in the mud. I said, “Jenny, you’ve got to get up. We gotta look act like we’re fighting or doing something. She said, “I can’t get up.” I said, “Well, why can’t you get up are you hurt?” “No, I lost my shorts.” Her shorts had come off in all that mud. I said, “Jenny, you’ve got mud all over you now. They not going to know if you have on shorts or not.” So she had to crawl out with no shorts on.

62:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: So, you won that one.

MARTHA ANN COX: I won that one. But I felt sorry for her. And then balloon toss and egg toss. The way to do it is to go in the egg toss first and get eggs all over you. And then go in the water balloon toss. And then go in the dunking booth. And nobody wants to get in the dunking booth after you’ve been in there; after you’ve been in the egg toss.

MICHELLE LITTLE: It’s a good plan.

MARTHA ANN COX: That’s the plan.

MARTHA ANN COX: That’s good. And to think that I was vice president of students.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Mud wrestling. That’s quite the resume.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah. Oh me.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So, you’re obviously very close to Dr. Corts. You were 63:00there for three different administrations. So, what were some of the differences between Davis, Wright, and Dr. Corts?

MARTHA ANN COX: Davis and Frank Samford had the foresight to buy the property over here. So I give Davis credit for having the wisdom to know that that side of town was going to change and that the university had to move. Leslie Wright built the basic structure. He convinced Alabama Baptists to build the basic structure. Tom Corts came and built the academic reputation of the university which was still very good. I mean it was very good. But his forte was two 64:00things: building the academic reputation of the university and also building the endowment. Now Dr. Westmoreland, although, I was not working there. I have talked with him on many occasions and I would say his legacy is going to be his involvement with students.

MICHELLE LITTLE: As far as Harwell Davis on the campus, did you interact with him much?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, and probably because he was just there one year and truly an overlapping year with Leslie Wright. Now my sister was there when Harwell Davis was there. She had more contact with him but I never knew him to have 65:00much contact with the students. And Leslie Wright didn’t have that much contact with the students. Now Mrs. Wright did. Particularly the football team. That was her favorite. Dr. Corts was a little aloof and misunderstood a lot of times but he certainly had students, from my experience working for him, and working as vice president, Dean of Students. I knew how he felt about the students, and I knew it was a number one concern of his. He just personally was not involved, which made my job a little easier. In that he allowed me to. Let 66:00me tell you how that happened. And then I have another story and then I’ll let you ask some questions. He had been there, he came in August just to kinda, he was not going to take the presidency until September. But he came in June just to kinda be on campus. And I talked with him two or three times and so, and the last of August he called me and said, “Now, I want you to go with a group of us over to Birmingham Southern tomorrow to meet with your counterpart at Birmingham Southern.” So, I thought, my counterpart at Birmingham Southern. I was still involved in housing. I was still involved in activities. Some of 67:00the Greek activities. So, I thought, okay. So I go to Birmingham Southern and I’m meeting with the vice president and Dean of Students. And I’m trying to act like I know what’s going on which I did not. So, when we got back, it was late in the afternoon. And he left and still couldn’t figure out what was going on. So the next morning I get a telephone call from his office. And he said, the secretary said, “Dr. Corts wants a resume.” And I said, “Well, am I fixing to be fired or shipped off somewhere?” They said, “No, he just wants a resume.” Well, I had never filled out an application for a job.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, even when Dr. Walker hired you?

MARTHA ANN COX: No. Now I had some things with written down. I said, “I 68:00don’t have a real spiffy resume. She said, “Whatever you have get it down here.” So, I got it out, updated it a little bit and made sure it was correct, nothing misspelled. One of his pet peeves was that you spelled everything right. I took it down there. So that afternoon the trustees were meeting. Had an annual meeting. And he calls me right before they were meeting. And said now, “I’m going to recommend to the trustees that you be vice president and Dean of Students.” And I said, “Well, then the last two days make more sense than they have made. Now there was a Dean of Student Personnel at the time, 69:00Lindy Martin, who his position was to, we never had a vice president for Student Affairs. Well, yeah we had Dr. Walker. But Lindy was moved from that position into another whole division. And so we go to Shocco Springs that afternoon for a faculty retreat and after the Board of Trustees meeting, and he tells the faculty. So here I am, you know. So that’s how I found out I was vice president. I didn’t go through a big interview process. I might not even know how to interview for a job. I could probably talk forever. The whole issue of dancing.

70:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: Tell me about that.

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, you know, you couldn’t dance on campus.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: So when Dr. Corts came he said, “What are the issues on campus?” I said, “Well, one of them is dancing on campus.” He said, “Well, I don’t want to do anything about that until the people of Alabama trust me as a person and know that I am a Christian and know where I stand on a whole bunch of issues. I don’t want to do anything about that for a while. Just give me a chance to be in Baptist churches.” I said, “Okay.” Step Sing comes up. The fraternities decide they’re not going to be in Step Sing 71:00because if they can’t dance on campus they’re not going to dance in Step Sing.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So just all of a sudden one year

MARTHA ANN COX: Two weeks before Step Sing. And they didn’t know about this conversation with Dr. Corts that I had had. But they were just, they had pushed and pushed and pushed. They just decided they weren’t going to dance in Step Sing. They weren’t even going to be in it. I said, “Well, okay.” So then the sororities come and they say, “Well, we’re not going to be in it either.” I said, “Well, I think you all need to talk to your alum advisors. So when they talked to their alum advisor. Their advisor said, “You will be in Step Sing.” But you don’t have to dance if you don’t want to. So that 72:00year Step Sing was just the sororities and maybe the BSU choir and maybe a couple of other groups. But the sororities didn’t dance either. They stood there and sang. Well, the week before Step Sing Dr. Corts calls me in and says, “Do you think you could get a petition from the president of student government to allow dancing on campus?” Do you remember the week before, the fraternity said we’re not going to do this. The sorority said we are not going to do this. I said, “Well, sure.” He said, “Well, the trustees meet tomorrow, Tuesday. And I’m going to tell them, not ask them, tell them that we are ready to allow dancing on campus if you can get the petition.

73:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: And this is the first year he was there?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, no, no. This is the second maybe. But maybe two or three years. But it was the week before and so I go the president of the Student Government Association. And I said, “Now, you listen to me and don’t ask me any questions. I need a petition with 250 names on it to allow dancing on campus.” “Well, why?” I said, “I told you not to ask me any questions. Just get that petition.” We got it. Tuesday, Dr. Corts announced to the trustees that he felt comfortable we were going to change a policy. Two Baptist preachers and one parent complained about it. And the trustees said, 74:00“Fine.” Dr. Corts said, “Now, I have a letter.” This was Tuesday. “I have a letter that I have written to the Student body that I want in their boxes in the morning.” Well, the print shop closed. I knew I couldn’t be xeroxing and copying all this stuff. So I went over to Kinkos and got this letter and we got it in the student boxes. So here are the fraternities with egg on their face. But you know, we still didn’t do dancing, because it was too late. That’s how dancing got on campus. And for about a month another factor in there was the noise down on Salter Road. The neighbors were complaining about the noise because the fraternities down there would crank up 75:00their juke boxes and their music so loud that it would disturb the neighbors. So that’s another thing that we had to deal with. So there were three neighbors down there that complained all the time. So I was sent out to go visit with the three neighbors.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Oh, lovely.

MARTHA ANN COX: But that worked out fine. For about a month they had dances on campus. I bet you they’ve not had.

MICHELLE LITTLE: You’re right. When I was there, they always off campus.

MARTHA ANN COX: That’s how dancing got changed.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So what were the other issues you told Dr. Corts were problematic?

MARTHA ANN COX: One of them was that were still a lot of things that the Student Handbook said that were, I thought, antiquated. Yes, ten years ago they were part of society, but today they were not. I said, “Well, I’ve been 76:00away six years and I don’t know that anything has happened in those six years.” He said, “Well, yes, you and Dr. Walker changed some things.” So that and I say just the trust of the administration. And Dr. Corts said, “Well, you can do a lot to change that. You can do a lot to change that.” So, I thought, the only way I’m going to develop trust is to trust them. And to show them that what they were doing was important. So, I bet I’ve eaten more meals in the cafeteria than any one person.

77:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: Well, I bet so since you lived there.

MARTHA ANN COX: And I’ve been to more Step Sings than any one person.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Absolutely.

MARTHA ANN COX: Eaten in the cafeteria more than any one person. I need to put that on my resume.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Think you should get a plaque after you lived there all these years.

MARTHA ANN COX: It should be up in the cafeteria.

MICHELLE LITTLE: You should have your own table with a plaque on it.

MARTHA ANN COX: I used to eat breakfast with three guys every morning.

MICHELLE LITTLE: When you lived there?

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah, one was a vice president for Business Affairs. The other was Mike McCormack was director of Business Services. He’s still there. And Charlie Carmen. We ate every morning. Solved the world’s problems.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Now did you have a hand in ending the curfew, too?

MARTHA ANN COX: Yep.

MICHELLE LITTLE: How did you get that done? When was that changed?

78:00

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, the alumni association developed a parent’s council sometime along in there. And I asked to meet with the parent’s council. And so I met with them and took four or five students with me. I never met with anybody, I can’t say that. Rarely, did I meet with anybody that I did not have some students with me. Number one I wanted their opinion to be heard. And number two I wanted the administration’s opinion to be heard with them. Now there were occasions when I was talking one on one that I didn’t have them. Most of the time I had four or five students. So we went to talk to them. And the parents said, “We don’t like this.” The women had to sign out, too. 79:00Lloyds, which is right down yonder used to be way out here. Well, we came to Lloyds all the time when I was a student. And we’d sign out and go to Birmingham. That kind of thing. And the parents said, “We don’t like that.” We want to know where they are all the time but we don’t know where they are when they’re at home. So how can they expect you to know that? So we just gradually. And then played the boy/girl card. If it’s important for girls to have curfew. It’s important for boys to have curfew. It’s important to know where the girls are. You know what I was told. If you know 80:00where the girls are. You’re going to know where the boys are. So I don’t know when that happened but it just kind of happened. Just like integration at Samford. There was no traumatic kind of thing.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I think I read a Season’s article you met the first African American that lived in Vail. You met her that morning and everything just went smoothly.

MARTHA ANN COX: Boy, yes.

MICHELLE LITTLE: In Season’s it was reflected.

MARTHA ANN COX: It did go smoothly. She had to room by herself because she wanted to room by herself. So, I felt like that was possible and I didn’t 81:00have to put anybody else out to do that. Later on we had a little problem with when a parent of a white student would find out that their roommate that had been assigned to them was a black student. Then the parents had a little problem, but we got over that. But, yeah, Elizabeth, and I can’t tell you her last name.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I think it’s Sloan.

MARTHA ANN COX: I think so. I would have told you Sloan. Wayne Flynt and I don’t remember who else. But Wayne Flynt, Elizabeth’s mother died. She was a student and we went to the funeral and were the only white people at the funeral. But they all knew who we were and were so appreciative of us being 82:00there. And, of course, Wayne has done so much. So my philosophy is looking in your eye and making sure that you feel important, even if you’re in trouble. We had a student one time that had a little Volkswagen and he pulled it in Pittman Hall. It was when you could get through those doors. He worked at a garage and he pulled his car into Pittman Hall and started working on it. Grease monkey. Jim Haggard, he used to teach chemistry. Did you ever come 83:00across Jim Haggard?

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’ve heard the name.

MARTHA ANN COX: Wonderful guy. He’s on the disciplinary committee. He would look at them. He would stare. And if he didn’t like what they were saying, he would say, “Young man or young woman or young lady, I forgot which one he used, if you don’t straighten up, I have a sack lunch and a one way bus ticket.” I thought, “Well, that’s a pretty good line.” I’ll talk all afternoon.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I could listen all afternoon. One thing I was wondering since 84:00you were there as a student while Dean Sizemore was there and you came and worked with her also. How was that relationship? Transitioning into a working.

MARTHA ANN COX: Dean Sizemore was a very educated, very classy woman. Very well respected in the community of Birmingham. She called me after a few of those little incidents, “little twerp”.

MICHELLE LITTLE: When you were a student?

MARTHA ANN COX: But I took that after I thought about it a while. I took it as 85:00a compliment, whether I should have or not. But I don’t know that she’s ever called anybody else “little twerp”. And when I came back to work I did not work with her. I worked with Dr. Walker. She was in another office. Not in Student Records. She said, “Here comes the “little twerp”. And I said, “Yes ma’am and I haven’t changed.” She laughed. There was mutual respect. I don’t think I could have worked for her because I think we would have had a little difference in philosophies in terms of how you how you go 86:00about things. How you treat students and she was always very nice to me and very helpful to me but it was just a difference in philosophies, and that was one of the things Dr. Walker said he had to get worked out because he knew that for me to do what he wanted me to do, that she didn’t need to be in the picture.

MICHELLE LITTLE: You think it was just a generational difference?

MARTHA ANN COX: Big time generational difference. Big time, she was from Birmingham, very cultured lady, very well educated. She went to school in France.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I didn’t know that.

MARTHA ANN COX: And I grew up in Talladega. So, you know, there was always 87:00respect, and when I went to graduate school, I joined an association called Alabama Association for Women Deans and Counselors, something like that. And the Dean of Women at the University of Alabama and the Dean of Women at Auburn were very staunch supporters of that organization. And it was interesting to me how well I was able to relate to them because I had related to Dean Sizemore. So in terms of working, I don’t think that I could have worked for her because I would have figured it out, but not as easily as I did for Dr. Walker. But great 88:00respect and she did wonders in her time for Samford. She helped Major Davis, Harwell Davis. She helped Leslie Wright with the community of Birmingham because the community of Birmingham respected her. And so she was a point person many times.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Her different organizations were they in Birmingham?

MARTHA ANN COX: Un-humh. Yeah, and was very valuable to the University. You know some people are valuable in one way. Other people are valuable in another way. I’m still trying to figure out, you know, my value here. Maybe someday there will be somebody that will come out with some value.

89:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: Okay. What about, do you remember when the dress code for women started to change? How did that, did you work on that or did that work itself out?

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, it just kinda worked itself out. When I was a student, as I said we couldn’t even wear pants much less shorts. And if we had pants on, we had to roll them up so it wouldn’t show under your raincoat. It did just kinda happen because fashion, your pantsuits, coordinated pantsuits became 90:00part of fashion. So I don’t remember there being any traumatic thing about that. Of course, we had to change some policies when we did that. I don’t remember who wore the first pantsuit. It wasn’t me. I think I would have remembered that. I wasn’t far behind. It just kinda happened and I think fashion is the thing that, and it may have been that parents, that mothers, began to wear the pantsuits. And I don’t remember any traumatic thing.

91:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: No more Bermuda shorts in the English class.

MARTHA ANN COX: No more Bermuda shorts in the English class.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with the Miss Alabama pageant? Is that still over in the Samford Hall also?

MARTHA ANN COX: The Miss Alabama Pageant is a scholarship organization, and you can say it’s not a beauty pageant where you gotta be pretty to win the title. So the Miss Alabama program is two different panel of judges. They have a scholarship panel. It’s composed of representatives, colleges and universities; and then they have a panel that chooses Miss Alabama and those folks are from out of state. So I was asked to be on a panel because the person 92:00who had been on that scholarship panel had left or died or something, and I was asked to be on the panel. And what we did was to go down and interview the contestants to find out what they needed financially and what were their academic goals. Went down there, did that. They said, “Well, do you want to come to the pageant?” I hadn’t been a pageant person. I said, “I think I’ll forego that.” They said, “No, you need to come. You need to represent Samford,” and I thought “Well, I need to represent Samford.” So I went. Samford’s student won that year. That propelled Samford into the 93:00Miss Alabama thing.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So was that the first year that Samford?

MARTHA ANN COX: Not the first year. But first year in a long time. Julie Coons. I don’t know what her married name is now. So Dr. Corts said, it was Dr. Corts that asked me to go. He said, “Now we need to make sure that we as the University need to be sure that we do everything we can for Julie.” And I said, “Well, I know one thing she wants to do.” Wait a minute I’m getting ahead of myself. She did not win that year. Forget that. She didn’t win. But he knew she was there, and she was in the top five, I think. He said, “We need to make sure we do everything we can.” I know one thing she wants to do 94:00and that is she wants to go to the Miss America pageant. He said, “Well, take her.” So he got us a plane ticket. We went to Atlantic City to the Miss America pageant. And I said, “She also wants to go to New York.” He said, “Well, take her.” So I rented a limousine and we went to New York.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Wow, that was nice.

MARTHA ANN COX: Well, yes. Just spending University money here. But then the next year Julie won. And one thing that Julie did. Was Julie opened the door of Baptist Churches in Alabama to Miss Alabama. And thus, opened the door to 95:00the churches of Alabama for Samford. Cause, you know, we had the men who went to preach. Julie was in a church speaking or singing most every Sunday of her year.

MICHELLE LITTLE: So did Baptist churches not feel fondly toward the Miss Alabama pageant?

MARTHA ANN COX: No, they just didn’t know anything about it. They didn’t know anything about it. And here comes a very attractive, very strong Christian who can talk about her faith intelligently and articulately, and who can sing, and who can make you feel like you are the best person on earth. And so that was wonderful for the university. So went back the next year, went back the next year. And at some point the Civic Center where the pageant was held said to the 96:00director of the pageant, you can no longer have the pageant at the Civic Center. This was in April. So the director of the pageant came to me and said, “Do you think that Dr. Corts will let us have the pageant at Samford? I said, “Well, we can ask.” “Do you think they will sponsor it?” I said, “No.” I said, “If we sponsor it, then that precludes our students being in it.” So we’re not going to sponsor it. But I said, “Come on out there and talk to him.” So he allowed us to have, we could rent the Fine Arts Center. That’s how it got started.

MICHELLE LITTLE: And you continued?

MARTHA ANN COX: I continued and maybe a year or two years after that this director, who was being paid by the Birmingham News, because they were no longer 97:00(talking about the Civic Center) they were no longer sponsoring it, she did not have a job. So she had to get a job. The idea was that we would appoint a board for the Miss Alabama pageant, since I was there at Samford. The major thing that I’ve done with that pageant is work the scholarship panel. Then I would travel particularly for Samford students.

MICHELLE LITTLE: We’ve had so many to win.

MARTHA ANN COX: They’re great. There are many stories about that, too. That would take another day.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Would it? I may have to meet you again here.

MARTHA ANN COX: One of them was Allison McCreary who was supposed to go Ozark 98:00in south Alabama, and she was supposed to speak on “A Love Can Wait” rally. Well, that was not her forte. That was not her platform. Her platform was “Childhood Cancer”. She said, “What am I going down there and talk on that?” Anabel Dickinson, who was another Samford student, that was her platform. She said, “Anable ought to be going to do it.” I said because you’re Miss Alabama. Well, she slept late and so I had to go up and get in her apartment, use the master key, get in her room, wake her up, and we left at 3:00 o’clock and we were supposed to be there at 5:00. It was about a 3 hour drive. We had a red Grand Cherokee. So I’m driving down the road at more 99:00than the speed limit. And I look in the window in the rear view mirror. And I said, “Now, Allison, I do not want you to say a word because Allison would talk more than I talk.” She said, “Let me take care of it.” I said, “No ma’am, you don’t say a word.” She begins to get, there was a little placard that said Miss Alabama. She put it up on the dash. She got her crown out of the box and put it in her lap. I said put all that stuff up. “Ma’am, may I see your license, are you in a hurry?” “Yes sir, we’re in a hurry. I have to go speak on “Love Can Wait”. He said, “Just a moment, please.” 100:00He goes back to his car. I reckon he sees that we had stolen the car. Well, the car was donated by a dealership. It had a dealership tag on it. So, as far as he knew, we had stolen the car. But he comes back. He said, “Well, ladies, the car is in such a hurry.” She said, “Sir, I am Miss Alabama.” You see this photo up here. He said, “Well, ladies, if ya’ll are in that big a hurry, you need to call the governor’s office and get a blue light to put on your car. She said, “Can you give me his number?” I didn’t get a ticket but I wanted to…

MICHELLE LITTLE: That’s pretty good. Well, I think we’ve cover, gosh, 101:00pretty much,

MARTHA ANN COX: We covered all your questions?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Yes ma’am. I believe so. Can you think of any other funny stories or areas I’ve missed of your time there?

MARTHA ANN COX: Oh, I can think of many funny stories.

MICHELLE LITTLE: I’m sure you can.

MARTHA ANN COX: No, I said earlier that I credit, of course, I majored in elementary education and then counseling and psychology at the University of Alabama. And that helped, that certainly hadn’t hurt, but I credit what I did in the summertime and that mischief streak in my back, and friends who were willing to take a little chance with giving me the, well as I said, the student 102:00that introduced me. “I don’t know what she does, she’s just always here.” That kind of thing didn’t come from the classroom. And then it was important to me for the students who had that trust relationship. And I didn’t know all the students, but I knew quite a few and more knew me than I did. And then some didn’t know who I was. Mary Lou Leeds that was heartening.

103:00

MICHELLE LITTLE: They saw you eating in the cafeteria?

MARTHA ANN COX: Yes, they saw me eating in the cafeteria and mud wrestling, and those kind of things. The egg throw, I’d always have scratches on my face the next day and there was other faculty that would say, “What in the world do you do that?” And my answer to them was, “Because you won’t and you’re missing out on a lot.” Now there were faculty members who would, I’m not saying there weren’t. But sometimes faculty members are so stiff. When I left Student Affairs and went into Academic Affairs, Dr. Corts called me again to his office and said, “Now I want you to do something different.” This was after 104:00I had been Vice President and Dean of Students. I’d been there 15 or 20 years. He said, “I know you’re tired of being in Student Affairs.” He didn’t put that way. He said, “ I know you’re tired of being a student, so kind, I know you’re tired of being in Student Affairs. I said, “Well, I hadn’t thought about it. But I reckon if I think about it, you know I am getting a little older, a little too old to mud wrestle, and all that kind of stuff.” He said, “Well, we have a problem in the registrar’s office.” He said, “It’s not personal and students hate to go there.” And you probably don’t remember, the Registrar’s office is now open, but that back 105:00door back here, and here’s the president’s office down here. All right, that wall is still there, going into the Accounting office. This wall’s not here. But it was. And there were little windows that had little theater holes in it. And when you went to the Registrar’s office, you’d walk up to this little window.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Like a bank.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yes. Well, it wasn’t a bank. It was glass. And there were desks, you know, around here. And the employees were working at their desks. And sometimes they wouldn’t even look up, and you have to tap on the window. 106:00And he said, “It’s not a friendly place. It needs to be a friendly place. Now I want you to go make it a friendly place.” I said, “Well, sir, I will but.” He said, “I knew that was coming.” I said, “I want to knock this wall out.” He said, “Okay.” So, you know, six months, maybe two or three months later, we knocked that wall out. And now it’s open.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Right.

MARTHA ANN COX: And you go to a desk and there’s a desk out here that tells you which desk to go to. So back here they had, this is a conference room back here. They virtually had a kitchen back here. They had two microwaves, two refrigerators, and there was just stuff piled along the walls. It was the 107:00biggest mess you’ve ever seen. Couldn’t even use it. And they would all go in there to eat lunch. So when I went down there. I said, “Now, there are one or two things I need to say. One of them is we’re going to knock this wall out. They thought, “Oh, me.” I said, “The other is we’re going to clean up this back room.” So I want you to go on Friday afternoon. I want you to get all your dishes out of that room. Because I don’t want to throw any of your dishes away. And then I said, “Now, we’re going back there to look at the records, I’ll see what records we need to keep.” Old machines and stuff. We’re going to throw it away. So we did. They came in Monday morning that was the cleanest room you’ve ever seen. And then we got the wall 108:00knocked down, but that was the reason I moved out of Student Affairs and Academic because the president said, “You must be tired of Student Affairs”. Do you need this?

MICHELLE LITTLE: That’s yours.

MARTHA ANN COX: I don’t consider myself to be a confident person, I consider myself to be a competent person. You know, if you don’t know how to do something. You find out how to do it. You do it and if you do it wrong, I’m sorry. Rather than when you ask forgiveness rather than answer sometimes. And 109:00the worst thing I think you can do to anybody is to say, “Well, we need to think about that.” I know you need to think about it. I know you don’t need to have a knee jerk reaction, but if I tell you, “I’ve got to think about that.” What’s your first impression?

MICHELLE LITTLE: Not a good one. Care and share about me.

MARTHA ANN COX: Yeah.

MICHELLE LITTLE: Well, thank you so much.

0:00 - Background; Introductions and Childhood

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Partial Transcript: " Yes, Michelle, I was actually born in Branton, so I grew up in Talladega. Lived in three different houses."

Segment Synopsis: Martha Ann Cox talks about her early life in Alabama, her parents, and coming to Howard College.

Keywords: Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind; Emory University; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Howard College; Talladega, Alabama; University of Alabama

Subjects: Alabama--History Alabama--History--1951- Education--Alabama

6:24 - Memories from the Eastlake Campus

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Partial Transcript: "Well, of course, you know my mother was crying, and I was crying, but I got over it right quick. My first memory other than that is in about ten minutes my Dad comes knocking on the door. And they had bought some furniture polish and he was bringing me the furniture polish back. Well, it all happened over again. I started crying again. So that’s my very, very first memory was my Dad used the furniture polish. Did we use it, no? No."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about coming to Howard College, and her first experiences on the East Lake campus.

Keywords: Howard College; Ruhama Baptist Church; Talladega, Alabama

Subjects: Campus visits Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Students University campuses

11:00 - Student Activities and Mischief

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Partial Transcript: "I was a little mischievous, and we would do things like, one day we short-sheeted everybody’s bed on the hall. And then one day two or three of us got a mop and we mopped everybody’s room on the hall. Didn’t tell them anything, just mopped it. It was mostly seniors. Somebody did me a favor. I don’t know who it was. And I got a room in the dorm in the Renfro Hall, which is where all the classmen lived."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes her "mischievous" side as a student, and talks about many of her activities and schemes while at Howard and Samford.

Keywords: Howard College; Renfro Hall

Subjects: Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--Students

14:57 - Moving the Flagpole

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Partial Transcript: "And the president of the Student Government organized it. The girls, we went along and cheered them on. But it got too heavy and so they just had to lay it on the side of the road, planning to go back and get it. Birmingham Southern found out about it. And that point, Birmingham Southern and Samford were rivals in basketball, big rivals. Not only for students but in basketball. They went over there and got it, and brought it to the new campus."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about one story where the students of Howard College carried the flagpole from the East Lake campus to the new Lakeshore campus.

Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Birmingham-Southern College; Samford University; Student Government Association

Subjects: Alabama--History Alabama--History--1951- College students Universities and colleges--Students

17:24 - Dress Code

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Partial Transcript: "Several of us, guys and girls, decided that we would wear Bermuda shorts to his classroom. That was a no-no. You didn’t wear shorts anywhere. If you wore shorts you had your raincoat on."

Segment Synopsis: Cox discusses some of the issues that students had with the dress code during her time as a student at Howard.

Keywords: Samford University

Subjects: Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--Students

20:35 - Buildings on the New Campus

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Partial Transcript: "When we got on the new campus there were no sidewalks. None, with the exception of in front of Samford and in front of McWhorter School of Pharmacy."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes the construction of the Lakeshore campus.

Keywords: Brooks Hall; Dwight Beeson Hall; Howard College; Lakeshore Drive; McWhorter School of Pharmacy; Russel Hall; Samford University; Vail Hall

Subjects: Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Buildings Universities and colleges--Students

27:20 - Swimming

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Partial Transcript: "And the chapel was an interesting story, when they started to build the chapel they dug three foundations and it rained. Well, it was a swimming pool."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about how the students took advantage of the rain, and the construction on campus, to create a makeshift swimming pool.

Keywords: Homewood, Alabama; Reid Chapel; Samford University

Subjects: Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Buildings Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--Students

32:21 - Involvement in Student Government, Step Sing, and Homecoming

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Partial Transcript: " I had borrowed a dress, a strapless, waltz length dress from somebody, failed to take my saddle oxfords off and my socks. And no one told me. So I go walking on the stage. And, of course, everybody is laughing at this point, and I don’t know, because I’m very comfortable. When I realized what it was, so then I started trying to get that waltz length dress to cover up my shoes and my socks. To make matters worse, I won."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes her involvement with many student organizations and activities during her time as a student at Samford, such as SGA and Step Sing. She also talks about her experiences with Homecoming and being Homecoming Queen.

Keywords: Samford University; Student Government Association

Subjects: Universities and colleges--Students


Hyperlink: Homecoming

40:19 - University of Alabama

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Partial Transcript: " And then I went to the University of Alabama, got my Master’s. That’s another interesting time that Jonathan has always been interested in because it was, I went there in the Fall of 1962, and I was there until the Spring of 1964."

Segment Synopsis: Cox relates her experiences at the University of Alabama, where she received her master's degree and worked as counselor for Vivian Malone during the integration of the school in 1963.

Keywords: George Wallace; University of Alabama; Vivian Malone

Subjects: Alabama--History Alabama--History--1951- Civil rights demonstrations--Alabama Education--Alabama Universities and colleges--United States--Graduate work

44:44 - Working at Samford

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Partial Transcript: "When I became vice president and Dean of Students, then I had to do a lot more discipline. And so the students would come, and I always made sure that there was nothing on my desk, because if there’s something on your desk, it appears that you’re busy. And I didn’t want the student to think that I was busy and didn’t have time to listen. In fact, most of the time my desk was clean. Because if you came in and wanted to tell me something, talk to me about something, they told me she’s busy, I can’t stay too long. I learned that in graduate school."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about beginning work at Samford, her role with Student Housing, and her future role as Dean of Student Affairs.

Keywords: Center of the Healing Arts; Dr. Arthur Walker; Margaret Sizemore; Rotunda Club; Samford University; Vail Hall

Subjects: Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Alumni and alumnae--Employment Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--Students Universities and colleges--United States--History


Hyperlink: Martha Ann Cox during her first year working at Samford.

54:21 - Step Sing

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Partial Transcript: "So that mischievous streak was still there. I was in several Step Sing shows of other groups. Once the BSU choir. They had a gurney. I was on the gurney, but people didn’t know who it was. And one of the songs was something about sawing off your legs, so they had a chain saw out there. And they cranked the chain saw up. So I raise up with a big sign that says, “Stop.” Well, you know, of course the student body went crazy. Got Dr. Corts and the other vice presidents to be in Step Sing one year."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes some of her experiences with Step Sing, such as her involvement with the BSU show and convincing university president Dr Corts to participate in Step Sing.

Keywords: Baptist Student Union (BSU); Dr. Tom Corts; Samford University; Step Sing

Subjects:

58:14 - Interacting with Students; The Fall Carnivals

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Partial Transcript: "But one of them was when a student, their parents were there, it was Parents’ Weekend, and he said, “Come here, I want you to meet someone.” I said, “Okay.” So he went over and got his parents. He said, “This is Dean Cox. I don’t know what she does, but she’s just always around.” You know, I thought, you can’t get a higher compliment than “I don’t know what she does.” In other words, titles were not important to me, nor were they important to the student."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about interacting with students as Dean of Student Affairs, as well as participating in many Fall Carnivals.

Keywords: Alabama WMU; Samford University

Subjects: Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--Students


Hyperlink: Martha Ann Cox mud wrestling at the Fall Carnival.

62:52 - Thoughts on University Presidents

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Partial Transcript: "I give Davis credit for having the wisdom to know that that side of town was going to change and that the university had to move. Leslie Wright built the basic structure. He convinced Alabama Baptists to build the basic structure. Tom Corts came and built the academic reputation of the university which was still very good. I mean it was very good. But his forte was two things: building the academic reputation of the university and also building the endowment. Now Dr. Westmoreland, although, I was not working there. I have talked with him on many occasions and I would say his legacy is going to be his involvement with students."

Segment Synopsis: Cox gives her opinions on the four presidents of Samford University that she served under as a student and as an administrator.

Keywords: Birmingham-Southern College; Dr. Andrew Westmoreland; Dr. Leslie Wright; Dr. Tom Corts; Major Harwell Davis; Samford University

Subjects: College administrators Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Employees Universities and colleges--United States--Faculty University presidents

69:59 - Dancing on Campus

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Partial Transcript: "So when Dr. Corts came he said, “What are the issues on campus?” I said, “Well, one of them is dancing on campus.” He said, “Well, I don’t want to do anything about that until the people of Alabama trust me as a person and know that I am a Christian and know where I stand on a whole bunch of issues. I don’t want to do anything about that for a while. Just give me a chance to be in Baptist churches.” I said, “Okay.” Step Sing comes up. The fraternities decide they’re not going to be in Step Sing because if they can’t dance on campus they’re not going to dance in Step Sing."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes how she and Dr Corts worked to change the university's policy regarding dancing on campus, and the events leading up to that change.

Keywords: Dr. Tom Corts; Step Sing; Student Government Association

Subjects: College administrators Universities and colleges--Public relations Universities and colleges--Students Universities and colleges--United States--Faculty University presidents University theater

75:40 - Updating the Student Handbook

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Partial Transcript: " One of them was that were still a lot of things that the Student Handbook said that were, I thought, antiquated. Yes, ten years ago they were part of society, but today they were not. I said, “Well, I’ve been away six years and I don’t know that anything has happened in those six years.” He said, “Well, yes, you and Dr. Walker changed some things.” So that and I say just the trust of the administration."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes the process of updating and changing the student handbook, such as changing the outdated rules for student curfew.

Keywords: Dr. Tom Corts; Step Sing

Subjects: College administrators Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Students Universities and colleges--United States--Faculty University presidents

80:15 - Elizabeth Sloan Ragland

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Partial Transcript: "I think I read a Season’s article you met the first African American that lived in Vail. You met her that morning and everything just went smoothly."

Segment Synopsis: Cox relates her experiences working with Elizabeth Sloan Ragland, the first African American Student at Samford University.

Keywords: Elizabeth Sloan Ragland; Jim Haggard; Wayne Flynt

Subjects: Alabama--History Alabama--History--1951- College administrators Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Employees

83:56 - Dean Sizemore

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Partial Transcript: "Dean Sizemore was a very educated, very classy woman. Very well respected in the community of Birmingham. She called me after a few of those little incidents, “little twerp”."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about here experiences with Margaret Sizemore, Dean of Women at Howard College and Samford University.

Keywords: Birmingham, Alabama; Dr. Leslie Wright; Major Harwell Davis; Margaret Sizemore; Samford University; Talladega, Alabama

Subjects: College administrators Universities and colleges Universities and colleges--Students


Hyperlink: Margaret Sizemore

89:11 - Updating the Dress Code

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Partial Transcript: "Well, it just kinda worked itself out. When I was a student, as I said we couldn’t even wear pants much less shorts. And if we had pants on, we had to roll them up so it wouldn’t show under your raincoat. It did just kinda happen because fashion, your pantsuits, coordinated pantsuits became part of fashion. So I don’t remember there being any traumatic thing about that. Of course, we had to change some policies when we did that."

Segment Synopsis: Cox describes her work with updating the outdated student dress code rules, and the reasoning behind the change.

Keywords:

Subjects:

91:17 - Miss Alabama Pageant

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Partial Transcript: " The Miss Alabama Pageant is a scholarship organization, and you can say it’s not a beauty pageant where you gotta be pretty to win the title. So the Miss Alabama program is two different panel of judges. They have a scholarship panel. It’s composed of representatives, colleges and universities; and then they have a panel that chooses Miss Alabama and those folks are from out of state. So I was asked to be on a panel because the person who had been on that scholarship panel had left or died or something, and I was asked to be on the panel."

Segment Synopsis: Cox talks about her work with the Miss Alabama Pageant, as well as Samford University's involvement with the pageant.

Keywords: Dr. Tom Corts; Miss Alabama Pageant; Samford University

Subjects:

97:38 - Other Stories and Closing Remarks

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Partial Transcript: " I don’t consider myself to be a confident person, I consider myself to be a competent person. You know, if you don’t know how to do something. You find out how to do it. You do it and if you do it wrong, I’m sorry. Rather than when you ask forgiveness rather than answer sometimes. And the worst thing I think you can do to anybody is to say, “Well, we need to think about that.” I know you need to think about it. I know you don’t need to have a knee jerk reaction."

Segment Synopsis: Cox relates a few more stories from her time at Samford, and gives some final remarks.

Keywords:

Subjects:

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