At the salon Thursday, Cobbs and his wife, Betty, talked frankly about racial prejudice they experienced in the past as African-Americans in Everett, and about the triumph of seeing a black man elected the 44th president of the United States.
Betty Cobbs, a human resources director with the Everett School District, spent 25 years as a principal, at Hawthorne, Garfield and Jackson elementary schools, and nine years as a teacher in the district.
always said to students, 'You can become anything you want to be -- even president.' But to actually have it happen?
In my heart, I knew it would happen.
I didn't know when," she
A black president must have seemed an impossibility when she
came to Everett as a young teacher in the early 1970s.
"I couldn't find a place to live.
And I didn't see any diversity," said Betty Cobbs
"At one place, a lady said she
had to check with all the other people to see if they'd mind a 'colored' person living there.
I said 'Don't bother.' I didn't want to live there."
While looking at apartments on Everett's Rucker Avenue, she
was told to look "on the other side" of town.
So that's what she
Today, Betty Cobbs has a doctoral degree from the University of Washington and works with new teachers through the district's teacher assistance program.
"They saw a black man from the road, and assumed I was going through the till and robbing the place," Cobbs
said in '95.
"For them, they always thought the doors were open," Betty Cobbs
"I came out of totally segregated schools," said her
husband, who was raised in Galveston, Texas.
"The city's changing, it's a lot more diverse," Betty Cobbs
On Tuesday, change will come to the White House like a fresh and healing breeze.
"So much attention has been based on race," Betty Cobbs