Life Histories

In this series long-term Northside residents share their personal background and connection to Northside. Most oral histories include their family heritage, education, religious beliefs, and memories of youth. Interviews may also include encounters with civil rights and gentrification.

Items in the Life Histories Collection

Rev. Albert Williams is the minister at Staunton Memorial CME Church in Pittsboro. He is a lifetime resident of the area and was the first African American firefighter in Chapel Hill. This interview was conducted as part of the Jackson Center’s…

Patricia Jackson grew up in Chapel Hill, NC and has been a member of St. Joseph CME Church for over forty years.  She now works with Wake County Schools and is also a church secretary, a stewardess, and a community activist.  This interview was done…

Throughout this interview, Mr. Revels discusses the most influential people in his life as being the Danziggers, his mother and father, and his grandmother. He touches on a lot of lessons he’s learned from each of these individuals throughout the…

This interview provides an overview of the black communities at Chapel Hill during Mason’s time. He notes the consequences of having segregated communities, such as having outdated infrastructure. His employment was at Chapel Hill was at the…

David Mason, Jr. a lifetime resident of Chapel Hill, is one of the leaders of the Lincoln High Alumni Association, an active member of St. Joseph CME, and a community historian. This interview, conducted as part of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for…

This interview provides insight into when she was born, where her family lived, their occupations, and the activities they participated in the church, specifically her uncle. She also shares which black businesses were around. In describing her…

Cecilia Massey-Fike opens the interview with memories of her father cooking for a fraternity in Chapel Hill. Her favorite meal her father made was rice balls. She recounts the distinct smells of cooking from the kitchen, especially for Thanksgiving…

Dennis Farrington spent the first part of his life in the Northside area of Chapel Hill before moving to a home off of NC Hwy 54, and he has deep roots in Chatham County, North Carolina. He attended Chapel Hill High School after it was newly…

Esphur Foster has lived on Cotton Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for 70 years.  In this interview, Foster discusses the powerful life of her mother, Hattie Mae Foster, as well as growing up in Chapel Hill during a pivotal time in history. She…

This interview is part of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center’s Life History Series.  Emily Banks, a current member and leader of St. Joseph CME Church, was born in 1946 in New York and migrated south to North Carolina in 1970.  She has spent the last…