Take me back to the Oral History landing page.


Mary Yokem - Rochester

Mary Helen Yokem began her life in Springfield, Illinois, graduating from Feitshans High School in 1966. She then headed for Chicago, and over the decades lived in various cities across the United States. She shares her stories about he relatives, the Walkers of Rochester - African Americans in a largely white community. She discusses the history of the family and their farm, dating from 1863, and their life in Rochester over the years.

Interview Links

Feature Excerpt-Audio

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Mary Yokem’s personal story

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Mary shares stories about her family in Rochester


Photos

Caption:
John A. (Ken) Walker was born in May 1853, and died in April 1924 in Rochester, Illinois.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Alex Lena Scott Walker, who lived in Rochester from March 1895 to June 20, 1931.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Frances L. (Morris) Buckner Walker was born in Missouri in October 1863. She died in 1930.

Where:
Unknown

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
The John Walker Farm was pictured in the Rochester Pictorial Album in 1918. Aaron Walker is in the buggy while John Walker is on the porch.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
1918

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Great Aunt Alice Walker Martin holds her son Jesse Martin and Alex Lena Scott Walker holds Dorothy Walker in 1922.

Where:
Unknown

When:
1992

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Hessie Jean Martin of Rochester, Illinois, circa 1929 when she was still a toddler.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
Circa 1929

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Edward Joseph Walker, Laura Brooks, Alice Martin, Yvonne & Louise (sisters) were visiting the Walker Farm near Rochester during the 1930s.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
1930's

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Students from Rochester’s Forest Grove School in 1934. Included were Irene Walker (front row, 5th from left), W.J. (Bill) Walker, front row, 3rf from left), Mary Lou Walker Yokem (middle row, 3rd from left) Dorothy Walker (top row, 2nd from left, and Frances Walker (top row, 5th from left).

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
1934

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Irene Walker Dunlap, Frances Walker Draper and Mary Lou Walker Yokem while in Forest Grove Illinois in 1935.

Where:
Forest Grove, Illinois

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Bill Walker, circa 1937 while he lived in Rochester, Illinois. Born in 1929, he passed away in 2003.

Where:
Rochester, Illinois

When:
Circa 1937

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo


Caption:
Maj Gen William J. Walker became the Commanding General for the District of Columbia national Guard on January 20, 2017. This is his official military photo.

Where:
Unknown

When:
January 20, 2017

Ownership:
This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption:
Far right-Brig. General William J. Walker, great-great grandson of John and Matilda Walker, with other family members in December 2018 at family reunion in Springfield, Illinois.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
December 2018

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Mary Helen Yokem at the time of the interview in March 2019.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
March 2019

Ownership:
ALPL Oral History Program photo

Caption:
This marker is used to note the location of the John Walker farm. There is now a subdivision where the farm originally was located, now known as Florentine Acres in Springfield, Illinois.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
Unknown

Ownership:
Narrator’s photo

Caption:
Back row: Mary Lou Walker Yokem (Mary’s mother), Irene Walker, unknown person. Middle row: Irene Walker, Frances Walker, unknown, children: Dorothy Walker, Margaret Berry, and unknown. Photo by Sec. of State photographer Doc Helm in 1945. Springfield, Illinois.

Where:
Springfield, Illinois

When:
1945

Ownership:
Unknown



Social Links