Mark Royster

Interviewed by Rob Stephens on April 21, 2010
Rev. Mark Royster is the minister of Cedar Rock Missionary Baptist Church in New Hill, NC. He has spent decades working as a banker (VP of SunTrust), minister, school board member (leader of the Blue Ribbon Task Force), and community developer and activist in Orange County, and has strong ties to Chapel Hill, especially the Northside and Pine Knolls communities. This interview was done as part of the Jackson Center’s “Facing Our Neighbors” Inititiative. Topics include: Introduction of Mark Royster and his wife, Phyllis; experience of growing up in Oxford; meeting Phyllis; decision to go to Johnson C. Smith University; family dynamics around education; memories of grandparents, Papa Tom and Ma Bessie Perry; reflections of life as sharecroppers; father’s farming and ownership of land; earlier generations from Franklin County; growing and processing tobacco; house fire and stories of survival and life in tobacco warehouse; early childhood schooling memories and consciousness of his own race; race relations at Webb; role of religion growing up; father’s death and his reaction; work as auditor; process of becoming first African American in traveler’s insurance; experiences as banker; life in Charlotte, Granville County, and then Chapel Hill; hearing about Greenbridge development in Chapel Hill; his work financing black owned development; controversy over Rosemary Village and Greenbridge; loss of cohesivenes of black community; importance of trust and the church in the black community; reflections on UNC-NOW and its role fighting racial and economic injustice.

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Title

Mark Royster

Description

Rev. Mark Royster is the minister of Cedar Rock Missionary Baptist Church in New Hill, NC. He has spent decades working as a banker (VP of SunTrust), minister, school board member (leader of the Blue Ribbon Task Force), and community developer and activist in Orange County, and has strong ties to Chapel Hill, especially the Northside and Pine Knolls communities. This interview was done as part of the Jackson Center’s “Facing Our Neighbors” Inititiative. Topics include: Introduction of Mark Royster and his wife, Phyllis; experience of growing up in Oxford; meeting Phyllis; decision to go to Johnson C. Smith University; family dynamics around education; memories of grandparents, Papa Tom and Ma Bessie Perry; reflections of life as sharecroppers; father’s farming and ownership of land; earlier generations from Franklin County; growing and processing tobacco; house fire and stories of survival and life in tobacco warehouse; early childhood schooling memories and consciousness of his own race; race relations at Webb; role of religion growing up; father’s death and his reaction; work as auditor; process of becoming first African American in traveler’s insurance; experiences as banker; life in Charlotte, Granville County, and then Chapel Hill; hearing about Greenbridge development in Chapel Hill; his work financing black owned development; controversy over Rosemary Village and Greenbridge; loss of cohesivenes of black community; importance of trust and the church in the black community; reflections on UNC-NOW and its role fighting racial and economic injustice.

Subject

Royster, Mark

Type

Oral History

Creator

Marian Cheek Jackson Center

Publisher

Marian Cheek Jackson Center

Date

2010-04-21

Rights

Open for research.

Format

MP3 (128000 bitrate)

Language

English

Identifier

FON_0128

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Rob Stephens

Interviewee

Royster, Mark

Interview Date

2010-04-21

Location

Chapel Hill, NC

Duration

1:47:17

Citation

Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Mark Royster,” Marian Cheek Jackson Center Oral History Trust, accessed July 11, 2020, https://archives.jacksoncenter.info/items/show/287.

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This interview begins with the background of Mark Royster. Royster grew up on his father’s farm in Granville County which is north of Durham County. His father’s farm was government subsidized. He was the youngest of twelve children. His sister is the eldest and would be 100 years old at the time of the interview. He…