Not all civil rights pioneers took part in sit-ins, marched in protests or risked arrest and imprisonment in order to advance the cause. Some of those pioneers accomplished their goals by rolling up their sleeves and going to work each day to pave the way for generations to follow. Eldridge Cook was one such man.
For more than 70 years, until his death earlier this month at the age of 98, Cook quietly built and expanded his seafood empire, using that as a springboard to become a community leader in Gloucester and across the state.
As a young black man in the Jim Crow South, it must have been incredibly hard for him starting out. But he never let that stop him as he turned Cook’s Seafood into a leading East Coast seafood processing plant and Cook himself became a major employer in Gloucester County, providing jobs for approximately 250 people.
He gave back to the community in countless other ways, serving with distinction on the county’s Social Services Board and Planning...
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