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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

How class determined religious activities

One time while visiting her cousins, Adamson attended a revival led by the Reverend Culpepper at which she, caught up in the experience, went down front. Embarrassed because her parents would not have approved of this "lower class" entertainment, she worried whether she had to tell them.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY FREDERICKSON:
I had asked you about the church being a part of, or religion playing a part in your family's life. How did it affect you as a child, do you think?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
It affected me in this way-I wasn't close enough to be an active Sunday school participant, but the town churches always . . . was it more than one church? I don't know. Anyhow, there was a big church picnic out on our place almost every year because we had a big yard and there were creeks on both sides of the place. So it was a good place for them. I had that contact. But I really wasn't close enough to do anything about it. And once during those early years-this was before we lived in Chapel Hill-I went to Winston-Salem to visit Uncle John and his family. He had two daughters I think I told you. He had three daughters. One of them was a year younger than I, one a year older, and one three years older, just the age of my sister Teenie. So they were very strong in the First Presbyterian Church of Winston-Salem. So I would go up and would go to Sunday school with them. Do you read Elizabeth Spence's books about the South?
MARY FREDERICKSON:
No, I haven't.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
She's one of my favorite writers. Her books are really quite good. One of them was set in that Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, much to my interest. The Reynolds family were also members of that church. My Aunt Carrie much admired the Reynolds and the Hanes families and the other members of the church. But anyhow, once when I was staying with them there was a big revival meeting in Winston-Salem. You're acquainted with revival meetings, I'm sure. A traveling evangelist would come through. This one was a Reverend Culpepper, they called him. So the Reverend Culpepper-I don't know why they didn't speak good English; you'd think they would. But anyhow, that's what they called him. He had a big revival meeting, and I was there visiting Uncle John's girls. So we went to the revival meeting several times. Once when the call came to come up front and give yourself to Jesus, why, I proceeded up front (Laughter) and gave myself to Jesus. When I got home, I thought about it enough that I did not think my parents would be sympathetic with that kind of behavior because they were more serious, and they took their religion seriously. So I figured, now, what am I going to do about this because I said I'm going to try to be as good as I can and you know,. I've done this and I'm afraid to admit it. I finally worked out the plan-and you can draw what conclusions about my character you wish (Laughter)-but I figured that if I behaved as well as I knew how to behave, did not act like a spoiled brat and so forth and so on, and in general tried to behave properly. That would be all right, and I wouldn't have to tell my parents about my having yielded to the Reverend Culpepper. (Laughter)
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Did they ever find out?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I don't know whether they did or not. They never said anything to me about it if they found out. I just don't know whether they found out about it and just thought it would be better to ignore the whole thing as childish, which it was.