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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A neighborhood builds a church

de-Heer argues that religion was central to her neighborhood during the late 1940s and into the 1950s. A close-knit community to begin with, the neighborhood grew even closer in forming the Great Zion Wall Church, which they raised funds for and built together.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Julia Peaks de-Heer, January 8, 1999. Interview K-0146. 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

JILL HEMMING:
Did everyone tend to go to the same churches? Was the neighborhood centered around the church? How did that work.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, it was centered around. Reverend Talbert—.
JILL HEMMING:
Talbert: T-A-L-B-E-R-T?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Uh-huh. He started the church.
JILL HEMMING:
Greater Zion.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
The Greater Zion Wall Church. When he began it was just called Zion Wall. Zion Wall. It was a duplex apartment. And he came over. He said the people needed Christ. Something to hope for. someone to let them know it is going to be better. But he started—and he would walk down the neighborhood and talk to the people and everything. And the next thing, we were in church. Everyone was in church. You know, like it was the neighborhood. Then the families got together and built, once they bought—excuse me—
SMALL CHILD:
I sharp.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, you are sharp. Okay.
JILL HEMMING:
You are really sharp.
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Okay then. Excuse me. He's going to wear his tan boots.
JILL HEMMING:
So the families got together?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes, and went to church.
JILL HEMMING:
Raised the funds to build—
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Once they bought the property where the duplex was on. And each family donated towards the building of the church. They bought a window or donated so we'd build the church, Zion Wall. Together. It was another part of the neighborhood where everyone came together to build. You know, like and helped. That was the unity that was there then. We really didn't have to worry. We could sleep outside if we wanted to. We definitely slept with the doors unlocked. There was no locking the doors. If I wanted a peach cobbler one of the mothers would say well, go pick the peaches. It was great. It was great.
JILL HEMMING:
What do you remember personally about your experience helping with the church, your part in that? How old were you?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Well, I used to walk in neighborhoods and they have [unclear] . The missionaries they have [unclear] . And I would go down and pick up something or give them water or whatever I could do at the time to help. And once the church was built I became a Sunday school teacher in that same church. I was, I think I was fifteen at this time and a Sunday school teacher. And I loved that position. I loved it. It seemed so special because I was helping the other children. Telling them about what I had learned and it also helped me, more than I would tell them. So I said, "Oh, okay." And I learned something on the way, too, also. So that was good for me. It was really good. That's the way, that's really the way that it was during that time. After years—the families, families together and stuff.