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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 >>

Community work of the Great Zion Wall Church

de-Heer describes some of the work she continued to do with the Great Zion Wall Church after her return to Hopkins Street in 1980. Again emphasizing the community decline that had taken place in prior decades, de-Heer asserts her hope that the church could help people in the community, particularly children.

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

JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
I still go to that church. I remember that church yet. I taught Sunday school there when I was younger. It is a bond there. And I remember my mother used to come home in the evening from work. She would come in and change and sit then. She would play ball. The families would play ball in the street and little games. And everybody would have watermelons and whatever. "I got the water melon, what do you have?" You know, like on the street and it was great. It was a good atmosphere for growing up. Going to church, when I cam back to North Carolina, I moved back to North Carolina in 80. My father passed in '89, '89, yes. So I moved back then. When I went to Hopkins Street I cried, I totally cried. Because the house that we lived in is boarded up. Houses are boarded up. They have elements out there that, if it was in Durham, or if it was, it was never in the neighborhood so strongly. And such young children out there. A difference needs to be made. Our voice needs to be heard because this is a church here. We can make a difference, and we are going to do that. We are cleaning up the neighborhood. The houses have been cleaned out and we've gone up and cleaned the streets and everything. So what our next plan, the next move is to get donations so we can build a little park across the street. Actually, the children need somewhere that they can go. Someone that is going to help, like say, "Hey, we can do this. A basketball court." Someone to help them read. You can make anything, you turn it into fun. And this will catch a young person's eye. Say, flash cards and little things that you do. It captivates the mind and this is what the young children need. It has to start at home, because I can do it. I do it all day at the day care, but once the child leaves the center it has to be reinforced. We have to become partners, well, like, "I'm doing this. This is what I do." Each week we send little folders or little journals home of what has happened this week, daily. This is what we are working on in the neighborhood, another house. The House of Hope is for women, unwed mothers or women that have been battered with children. So another house is for this purpose. We must reach our children. The parents, a lot of parents have to be educated also, because they don't know. I can attest to that. If you don't know, someone who knows can talk. You should be able to speak. [Aside to child: Malique, get him. Close the door.] Someone has to take the time with the children and the parents. Get some flyers together.
JILL HEMMING:
So you're actually going to try to buy a house? Or you already have a house?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
We have a house on Hopkins Street.
JILL HEMMING:
You can make into kind of a children's center?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Yes.
JILL HEMMING:
Would it be a day care kind of thing? Or would it just be a support kind of center?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
A family support. Younger children, the day care we have them up to five, up to four. Because five they start kindergarten. After school programs for the children and the parents. Some parents are working. We can take care of the children at the school up until eleven o'clock at night. And parents support. We get the parents to come in and we have meetings with the parents to express what, maybe ask them questions, "What do you think we could do to help Johnny in this area. What do you think we can do to stop so and so on the streets." Opening questions with the parents and try to get some feedback and then we will know what our next move will be. But this strongly what we are discussing now.
JILL HEMMING:
What is the name of the organization? Is it a community of churches that are coming together for this?
JULIA PEAKS DE-HEER:
Zion Wall and Gospel Crusade outreach, and Reverend Gilcrest. The church on the corner, the three churches in the area.