Cotton, Churchill (interviewee)
Interview with Churchill Cotton of the Berkshire Chapter, NAACP. Cotton was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1950, and shortly after moved to Chicago, where he lived until the age of 10. His father became an AME minister there, and most of the family life was centered on the church. When he was age 10, they moved to Galesburg, Illinois, then when he was 15, back to Chicago. CC talks about being the child of a pastor. His sister's name, Marda, comes from Mark (New Testament) and David (Hebrew Bible). Churchill's father was active in Civil Rights activities. Martin Luther King gave a speech at his (father's) church. Living in a neighborhood with gangs, coming home from school when his mother was at work, the Chicago Cubs, shooting marbles. Churchill was awarded several college scholarships, went to Lincoln University. He recited If, by Rudyard Kipling and discussed other poetry. After college, worked at GE (Philadelphia), came to Pittsfield with GE, in 1972. He met Patricia, his future wife, was engaged in 1972. Discussed interracial marriage and parents' responses. He has two sons, John Walden and Churchill. He was working (finance, auditing) at GE when they sold the plant to Martin Marietta, then Lockheed Martin. He moved to GE Plastics, then KB Toys, Guardian Insurance (all Pittsfield). He is a member of the Second Congregational Church, on the Berkshire United Way board, took the Berkshire Leadership Program, and worked to help minority parents to have a voice in the public schools. He also served on the Pittsfield School Committee and City Council; is involved with the Samuel Harrison House. He discusses his Christianity; Churchill is a direct descendant of Frederick Douglass.