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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Tent revivals in the local mill communities

Tent revivals came to the mill communities sponsored by the local Holiness and Pentecostal churches.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carl and Mary Thompson, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0182. 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

JIM LELOUDIS:
Do you remember any tent revivals ever coming to the mills area?
MARY THOMPSON:
Oh, yes. We used to just love for them to come. [Laughter]
JIM LELOUDIS:
What were they like? You know, I've never been to one until last night. We saw the one out on Wilkinson Boulevard and decided to go.
MARY THOMPSON:
Sure enough. What are they doing out there?
JIM LELOUDIS:
There's a travelling evangelist who's got one out at Sam Wilson Road. But I was a Baptist, and never to a [Laughter] tent revival.
CARL THOMPSON:
I seen something about it in the paper.
MARY THOMPSON:
Yes, I've seen something about it. But the way they wrote it up in the paper—I don't know whether it was the paper or not—they wrote it up like it was some kind of show or something. Well, when we went to tent meetings, we went to serve the Lord and worship the Lord. We didn't go for no show or nothing like that. In fact, we wasn't Holiness; we were Baptists. But I have been to Holiness meetings, where they shouted and all like that, and they had wonderful singing and good preaching. They preached the Bible. But I ain't downing shouting and all because I don't know anything about it, but if the Lord puts it on their heart, I say let them go ahead. Any way they think is right to worship God, that's all right with me. But we used to go to some Holiness tent meetings, but most of the time it was Baptist.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Were they set up in the mill village itself?
MARY THOMPSON:
No, they was usually out in town or out where they'd have an open lot. The Pentecostal Holiness Church, not too far from the Poe Mill, used to have one back of their church, and we enjoyed going to them. Now they would shout and all. They had wonderful singing, and it done me good to go. But we just loved outdoor meetings like that. We enjoyed it.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did a lot of mill workers go to the Holiness church?
MARY THOMPSON:
Not too many, not where we lived. Now they may some places, but where we lived they didn't because there was a Baptist and a Methodist church there, and most of them went to the Baptist or the Methodist. But they didn't all go church. Now it was back then like it's always been: some people would go to church, and some people didn't. And there was lots of them that didn't go to church. We was allowed to play with them if they was decent children and all, but most of the time we'd have to go with the ones that went to church. Mama and them felt like they was a better influence on us. Maybe they wasn't; I don't know. At least that was the way Mama seen about it.