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Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Julia Peaks de-Heer spent her early childhood years in Stagville, North Carolina, before moving to Hopkins Street in Durham, North Carolina, during the early 1950s. Her father's new job at the Nello Teer Construction Company spurred the move, and de-Heer initially felt distraught over leaving the countryside. Nevertheless, she quickly felt at home in her neighborhood on Hopkins Street, largely because of the close-knit sense of community that developed among her neighbors. In addition to describing some of the activities, foodways, and the work of community leaders, de-Heer spends much of the interview discussing the role of the Greater Zion Wall Church, which was founded and built by the community members during her childhood. According to de-Heer, the community began to decline several years later when some of the homes were turned into boarding houses. The portrait she paints of Hopkins Street by the 1990s contrasts sharply with the neighborhood she knew in her childhood. After spending some time in Washington, D.C., and Virginia during the 1960s and 1970s, de-Heer returned to North Carolina in 1980 and began to attend the Greater Zion Wall Church again. de-Heer devotes the final third of the interview to a discussion of her continuing work with that church and her visions for its role in community improvement, focusing on the church's efforts to help disadvantaged children in the community and their growing efforts to bridge divisions between the African Americans in the neighborhood and the rapidly growing Latino population. Researchers should take note that this interview is divided into two parts, with the second part occurring three months after the first. As a result, there is some repetition and variation in de-Heer's recollections.
    Excerpts
  • Moving from the country to a city neighborhood
  • A neighborhood builds a church
  • Describing neighborhood decline
  • Visiting great-grandmother in Stagville
  • Community solidarity, foodways, and childhood remembrances
  • Community work of the Great Zion Wall Church
  • Impact of rapidly growing Latino population
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.