Title: Oral History Interview with Jessie Streater, November 10, 2001. Interview R-0165.
Interviewer: Copeland, Barbara
Interviewee: Streater, Jessie
Abstract: Jessie Streater, an African American mother of three, converted to Mormonism in 1979, just one year after the church relaxed its ban on African Americans holding the priesthood, a position in the church that conveys certain privileges and responsibilities. Streater had been a seeker, visiting churches of various denominations before finding Mormonism, a religion that offered her the religious community that she desired despite its relatively recent embrace of full membership for African American men. In this interview, Streater shares some observations about the growing African American population in the church, as well some descriptions of Mormon practices and church organization. African Americans' greatest disadvantage is their relatively small number within the church, meaning that they often have to look outside Mormonism to find spouses. But overall, Streater has found only spiritual succor, and not discrimination, in her more than two decades with the church. Interviewers interested in race and religion, as well as some of the details of Mormon belief and practice, will find this interview useful.