Oral Histories

Interview of Bette Cox

Music teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District and University of Southern California training teacher in the School of Music. Founder of the BEEM (Black Experience as Expressed through Music) Foundation for the Advancement of Music. Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the city of Los Angeles.
Black Music and Musicians in Los Angeles: Spirituals, Gospel, Jazz, and Spoken Word
African American History
Patterson, Karin
Cox, Bette
Persons Present:
Cox, Patterson, and Adriana Montenegro (videographer).
Place Conducted:
Bette Yarborough Cox's home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research. Original digital video cassettes were deposited with the Department of Ethnomusicology. Additional materials relating to these interviews are located in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Karin Patterson, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology; B.A., Ethnomusicology, UCLA, 1997; M.A., Ethnomusicology, 1999; Ph.D., Ethnomusicology UCLA June, 2007. Patterson prepared for the interview by initiating an introductory phone conversation and a pre-interview meeting at her residence. Preparation included familiarizing with Cox Book: Central Avenue; also various web searches on the subject of early twentieth century Twin Falls Idaho.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Cox was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and make corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
12 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
These interviews with African American musicians provide details about the narrators' background, training, influences, and musical choices and discuss their contributions, and connections to the music of black Los Angeles. The series was a collaborative project of the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, the Department of Ethnomusicology, and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, with funding from an Arts Initiative grant from the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. UCLA Professor Jacqueline DjeDje was the principal investigator and defined the scope and selected the individuals to be interviewed. In addition to the audio recordings housed with the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, the interviews were all captured on video, and those videos can be accessed at the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.
Family heritage out of Missouri–-Family move to Montana–-Profile of grandparents, including time in Washington and Oregon states–-Parents’ siblings–-Move to Idaho–-Yarborough family business in Idaho–-Parents' involvement in culture and the arts–-Cox's early learning in music and dance–-Cox's elementary school experiences—Early influential teachers–- Early experiences and influences in Los Angeles–-First impressions of Central Avenue–-College impressions.
Continuing early life experiences in Idaho–-Father’s standing in the Twin Falls community–-African American performers who visited the Yarborough family from our of town–-Aunts and uncles, interactions/profiles–-First Los Angeles residence in Pasadena–-Encounters with Mayor Tom Bradley–-Central Avenue–-Teaching experiences and associations in Los Angeles.
Teaching at Hooper Ave. School–-Teaching at Cienega Elementary–-Cox ‘s music students, including Billy Childs–-Associations in Los Angeles that influenced her teaching experience.