Title: Interview with John Glenn Wallace (February 7, 1977)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007860/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with John Glenn Wallace (February 7, 1977)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: February 7, 1977
Subject: Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Choctaw.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007860
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Mississippi Choctaw' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: MC 36

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Full Text

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and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
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-ijypca: ff.i- wr?7

Todays date is February 7, 1977. This is an interview with John Glenn

Wallace a Baptist minister.

C: How did you become a minister?

W: Well, I tell you it's been a long time since I've been a minister, I think

it's been, my age was about 17 years old when I started ministering. I'm

19 now, it's not 3 years or anything it's just only lyear and a half. That's

how long it's been. The first thing I started was at that time while I

was at they Youth Center. I used to live with a minister. A man that is

a minister I used to live with him. And he used to talk about Christ and

stuff about things to me and I got interested in going to church and every-

thing and the first thing they started me off with, putting me on as

Sunday School Director as my first work. And I started that. And a

few years later, in that next year some time and somewhere, in the house

some kind of whistle or a blowhorn or something Some kind of sound that's

made in the house, something, somebody told me I was going to become a

minister I didn't believe it. I said, I didn't believe it maybe it

was, I think was three of us in the house at that time. I just said, "who's

going to be a minister? Who's going to be somebody? (vA J A /' /

cof to be better. They all laughed and said, "well, that's something else."

We just keep on talking. And then the second time it horned again. We

realized that something was wrong, we start searching around he house

but we didn't see anything or interesting. A car orh h

So the next few weeks later I went home to Jackson. I was up there riding

around in a car and I was talking to this man about this, about this thing

that's going on and I was laughing about it, and I was saying "when somebody

going to become a preacher I'm going to graduate them, you know. You know

shake their hand or something.. That's what I was going to do. And I

started laughing and somehow, I really didn't know how it really came

about but when my first minister came sometime in 1975, '74 that year

we had a revival you know a crusade going on at Conehatta. Some evangelist

was there but I really don't know his real name. But on the first night

I know somebody was talking to me. Somebody was telling me to become

a minister. It was not a man or anything, something just reading my mind

And I heard something that said "Get up, get up" but I just didn't want

to get up. Just go out in front of the congregation and say something

that I wanted to say, but I couldn't. I just sat in my chair all that

night. It was I think is was Monday no Sunday to Saturday, Sunday to

Sunday that revival was going to last. I just sat there Sunday to the

other Sunday and I was fixing to get up you know when I was going to

get up it said, "Go, go," something said, it just kept bugging me it said

"go, go" But I couldn't go. But somehow I just had I don't know I

just didn't want to get up but something just made me get up and I just

walked down the aisle and I didn't know what to say when I got up there.

And the minister said he came and took my hand you know, Baptists use

confessionals minister confessing their sins, holding their hand, and

shaking their hand. And they and I started telling them about these things

that had happened And they said, Well, it's going to be your decision

whether you want to be a minister or not." I said I think it's time for

me to be a minister I think I've been called to be a priest. From that


that minister turned, when the invitation was over and the man went

to the microphone and said nt Well, Brother John was brought her tonight

and he was going to surrender to Jesus and everybody was looking around,

See- I was small I was only 17 years old at the time. And everybody

was looking at me and, I don't know I just started crying and stuff.

I just sat down and watched him talk. Well, then everybody stood up

and said "you can be a minister." And they got me to be a minister.

Finally, from there, the first time that I went up there I wanted to

run out that door, but I couldn't, people were watching me and I couldn't.

And that crusade was over and I went home. I thought I was going to ;eech

that Sunday, the first time in my ministry I was going to preach but I

couldn't. I didn't know theLLble or anything what to say and what

to do and all those things. But the time passes and I started learning

how to do it. And, well, it's been about a year and a half. Around there.

W: Tell us about your family and where you live.

C: I really don't know where my father and mother came from. I mean what

family they came from, but I don't know about them, but, well.

)'A 6
C: You don't know who your parents are?

W: I know who my parents are but..... Well. Ua -- .L CeA-A t -"ta

C: You don't know where they were living?

W: Yeah, they're living AW'; Ld -I That's neither.... Alright

that's kind of a long story, well, anyway, but I will start where I remember

it. At that time we were living in Noxubee County somewhere. We used

to live on a farm sharecropper or something they used to call it share-

cropper but we used to live up there. That was when I was about seven or

something, seven or eight. At that time they had an RCA up here. Howev er,

4 -

they used to have RCA up here. My parents. My parents moved up here

and I came with them. And I went to school up here about two years

and I went to Jackson in 1967.it was at that time that I went up there.

And I stayed up there about three or four years. 0 (. ')

C: And?

W: And I went to school.

C: Public school.

W: Yeah, public school.

C: And?

W: Well, it was only a usual life; same same life that everybody people live

that we had. It wasn't nothing special.

C: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

W: Including me, ks six, six in the family.

C: You just preach at one church?

W: No, no. I go around preaching the word of God to other communities. I

think the most opportunity I have is at Tucker or at Bo ue Homa, that's

where I used to have -Z "IA^ y t J --/- /- ,

Most of the time I go to Youth Revival and teach the Gospels to the

young people instead of the older people because I think most older

people want the younger preacher to preach to a younger people to under=-

stand the words of what they're saying and what life is like has been a

christian person so my membership is at Bethany Baptish Church up here

in Philadelphia. I've been around here since I think it's three months

now I really don't do much but we used to have revivals and stuff

going on so I just go around and'preaching the word so, and....

5 -

C: You don't get paid for this do you get paid?

W: No, no.

C: Oh you just do it because you are....

W: No, sometimes they pay.you but not really because somehow they

just think it's love offerings or something and they just give it

to you just as "love offerings" and most of them they just give it

to me and sometime I don't, I mean it doesn't matter to me what

they do or not because most people need money in other places so

I just go around free sometime.

Around here we have about 15 or 16 ministers around here.

Most of them just stick around in their churches 'about two or:three

of them in their churches. So I don't know why people don't go

around and speak the word but they usually pick out somebody that

can preach the word that they can understand.

C: Do many young people attend church? (t

W: Oh yes lots of them, few of them t'-obably about

the last time I was up there was about 59, I think 59 youths, I

had a good time up there. I think the church is different from

Catholic or other denomination churches cause sometime, I think

that it doesn't matter what kind of denomination you come from

as long as you hear the words of God speak cause that's more

important cause it doesn't matter whose church you come from that

you hear. But it's open to everybody and any other places you

come and hear the word.

C: Did you come to the ones they had, over at the F r' Baptist church?.

W: Oh yes, I did. They said I was the guest speaker up there, but I

6 -

don't know. They just think I'm somebody else like a regular

student or somebody that's going to stand up and say some words

sit down or something, but I didn't. Most of the young people

didn't know that I was a minister up here. Cause they think that

most ministers are older- and some are young, so they just stared

at me and I looked at them and I said, I want to sing, do you

want to sing," and they just started laughing. And, I don't know

There was about 30 or 26 persons up there.

C: You don't have any special uniforms to wear do you?

W: Oh, no., I don't go around wearing no uniform or anything. I mean

that's what we call a "out of Gods Society"or something, that's what

we call it cause we just wear our regular jeans and shirt or some-

thing. Sometime we wear something that we want to instead of things

that somebody wears coats or suits or something they wear why we

don't- we just wear some kind of checkered shirt or blue jean pants

or black pants or whatever you want to wear. They really against

us doing like this cause they just look at the person, what they think

they are or something. They think they are a different person.

Well in Choctaw churches we speak, instead of English we

speak Choctaw words to the people. Most young people can understand

English better than Choctaw so we speak English. Myself I speak

English better than Choctaw words because I give more attention to

the young people and the old people that's in there, they might not

understand what I'm saying about the young people mighthunderstand.

7 -

I think that's the way they think that the young people can

give reach to the young people teach others. By using words

that they can understands.

Well, our Baptist church is based on aEfible on the things

that we do on Lord's suffering things that we do they just based

on the bible. They read out from a bible lik most other churches

do. Maybe it will be different from a Englis-I mean a.white man's

church or something it will be different from them cause they use

a choctaw way or something they do it cause it's hard for them to

understand to other people understand the way we do. We take more

time and less time cause most Choctaw might get on time on churches

but most of them can't cause if they said on that time that they're

going to be there but they don't some people do some people don't

and sometimes it's confusing, but you got to understand the things

that they say and what they're saying. If you don't keep up the

words what they're saying you might get lost over it.

C: How do you go T5 the Confession?

W: Oh the confession, oh the confession that we go through it is some

kind of a we open an invitation hyme or something and if the pastors

there we ask the pastor to come in front,to stand in front, so the

people that are in the congregation will come and some people or

lots of people might come so, that's what we call an open confession,

that's what we call it. And by sharing by confessing their sins to

the minister. And after that we have a fellowship by shaking hands


8 -

[hThe Baptists go basically on the Bible: sometimes we ask how does the

Baptist people became Baptist ,here was a joke came up from that in a -

One bo said, I think it was Brother James, he said "Well, if a people

ask you 3F Jesus Baptistr or so "hm else9 and 3 CA

said and he said something like this,."Jesus baptized from John the Baptist

so Jesus must be Baptist. So Jesus is Baptist, is what they say. I

don't know. But the Baptist readings come from the Bible. But the

Baptist readings come from the Bible where it said Jesus-Christ is

your lord and savior. When they take you to Baptism, the Baptism that

your buried with is when you die with Christ. When you rise from the

water that means that when Christ comes at time the 2nd coming that

the resurrection from the dead, they rise from the resurrection -

and you rise from the dead.

C: How old does a person have to be to be Baptised?

W: Well, in Baptist some say 12 and some say you don't have to be a certain


C: Or when they're old enough to make their decision.

Yeah. Old enough to make their decision.

C: Do you think the young people listen to you?

W: Oh, yes I think they listen to me because of more things that I want to

say is more interesting to hear because I base on the Bible instead of

go jumping into another subject. I just base on one subject. So the

young people can hear what I say and what the Bible is talking about.

Sometime I use some illustrations or a little joke or something that the

people can hear. I get their attention by using a joke or something, see

if they're hearing, and most of them hear that. They will listen to what

9 -

toJwhat I say cause I give more attention to what I say to them. I

think I get through to the young people better some young people

doesn't want to listen to what the minister might be saying cause

it not be interesting cause it be boring to them cause it's kinda

different from a young minister speaking from an older person but

the older person knows better than young person sometimes it's

always the same both of them, one might know better and one know

might not so it depends on the person, how well he uses the Bible

and how well he does God's work and stuff they do.

C: How do you like your job?

W: Well, I enjoy doing things of God's way cause it's more interesting 7y At/JS

&'he thing about it is when you're a minister, when you're going to

school, you like to study more Bible than the books you have cause the

Bible's more interesting to study cause you going to have it in your

head or in your heart that you gonna u, r 2-> with it. So the

book I carry and the things that I want to do, it's nearly uninteresting

things cause the Bible's more important to me than the books but I

have to study the things I want to know so I just usually be happy doing

God's work instead of doing schoolwork cause I study more. When I get

out of high school I think I'm going to a Baptist College or somewhere

to learn more. I know I can learn it by myself but I want to know more

of what the people are doing in other places and what things they are

doing and it's hard being a minister and going to school on a public school

or any kind of school you going to, it's hard. Ithink most ministers here

are not really educated or anything, but that's not important, the Bible

10 -

the things they learn from, that's important cause they will know

what they are talking about,what they're saying. You might see

a young people now might not.read a Choctaw language book or a Bible

but most elderly people be reading Choctaw, cause I think the older

person knows better the things that they say.

C: What have you learned from your experiences?

W: I learned that it's hard for me to do what I wan to do, cause I used

to go drinking and sniff gas and stuff like that and it's hard_-fQr-

me to go back and look back. 1It's hard. Well, it's hard. It's not

-' really that hard from my experience the-things that I did to lay off.

I know what I got that is more important, than what I want to do.

Most important things that -(sometimes I think that I really don't

think the same thing at one time, I just think one thing at one time

instead of lots of things at one time) so whatever I think that's

good is what I do. Experience with young people is kind of fun

C: Are you satisfied with your job, with what you're doing?

W: Yeah, I'm really satisfied with fa-t I'm doing.. But really I really

want to quit school cause it's hard for me Nut 1ZEeB-i'll make it

I'll make it through school and do what I want to do. But I know that

I will make it if I stick with it. If I don't stick with it I'm going

to drop out cause it'll be hard

C: How long does it takeFto-bsm'minister?

W: Well my job is, I think it's working out well with others. More people

are interested to hear the words of what I'm going to say. They call me


11 -

whenever they get ready. They call me to come to their place to preach

the word. I think I enjoy this work cause I get in touch with more

people and I meet lots of people. Maybe some day I might go around

around this world preaching the Word maybe. I really don't know

yet, what really I'm going to do. I might be a pastor here, around

here. But I really don't know now. I really don't know what's going

to be next.

When I was small I think I told you I used to be a sharecropper

them. My father and mother our parents were sharecroppers at that time,

I think from their father's father they were sharecroppers at that time.

I think my father didn't have any education, he just know how to share-

crop and things. I think my mother comes from Bofue Chitto and my

father comes from Noxfbee County. So we really didn't stay at one

placeat a certain time, just a year or two years or something. We

just go around the country. But one thing: when I was little,when

we were sharecroppers I used to hoe the garden, or hoe the field, work

at the field, drive tractors, that's what I used to do. We had some

kind of special school that I went to every day; it's kind of a little

school, a one-room school or something that I used to call it. We had

about, about 28 or 30 students we used to have from kindergarten to

eighth grade that's what we used to have. We just called it one big ole

family. We had one teacher, we had a kitchen in that class. We used

to eat soup Campbell's soup ,. you know with those noodles and stuff -

we used to eat those stuff in those classes. And we had a milk box that

was in the hallway. We used to goof around in that hallway.

12 -

The school was big. It had an auditorium, and it had twelve classes)- I/' '

but we only used on classroom.

C: What room?

I think it was first\room to your left. It was a big room. We had

only one teacher we didn't have many teachers. We didn't have no

pencilsA ustla teacher; It was run by Memmonite people. I think

the teachers up there think Choctaw need education up there so I think

they run the places. I think that school has Beer on down, I:think

it was last time I was up there.

Farthest thing I remember is that aeehoG County was that County

that had a peace treaty Dancing Rabbit Creek. They used to talk

about legends and things that would happen up there. But I really

don't remember how it went. They used to say that some kind of stone

or marble thing (a white thing that they used to sign the peace treaty)

they used to say that the peace treaty is supposed to stand one the other

side of the road instead of the other side. Something they said

.? /" been tricked by a white man by doing that, you know. It

had some kind of chiefs name was up there but I really don't remember

it, whose name was there but it was up there. They used to say that

in that creek about, lets see I think it about 1/2 mile from that Ji

stone is standing. They used to say a little creek that used to run

about I think it's shallow water that's running across. They used

to say that that used be a diamond or gold or somate hng-uried down there.

When the sun sets, that water comes up I don't know how really they said

it but it's something. It sounds interesting but I really didn't believe

the things that they were saying.because sometime the water usually will

13 -

raise up by itself or something. Somewhere they said there's supposed

to be a gold in there somewhere but they couldn't find it. They only

thing they remembered is that the chief rs been telling about the

things that have been happening. The chief died a long time ago, 66i64

I think it was in '60, '68, We had a good time listening to those

things that we heard but I really can't remember what the things they

really did say been a long time. We used to have some kind of

dance or something they did, long time before, long time ago. It's

not a house dance, it's an outside dance. I think it was every

Friday or Saturday night. Sometimes Thursdays we used to dance

the dances. They used to dance a duck dance, or a snake dance or

something, they used to dance. I remember dancing one of them somewhere

but I can't remember where. But I did. That was when I was 10 or 9

or something. I remember the first time my father asked me to drive

a car when I was small. I couldn't even reach the clutch or accelerator

and but I didn't drive though. I mean I really didn't 5tep on the

accelerator I just steered the wheel that all. I was really that small,

C: What do you hope these young people get out of what you're saying?

W: I think they listen a little. I just brief their mind, what really
happened at that time. 'Cause most young people today are growing up

in a place where a good place. I think they really listen if they

have these books on Nanih Waiye ,9boo s they publish that. If they

buy some they will look at it an see what happened to other persons

at time. And it'll be interesting 'cause probably some person you

know but something you didn't read about and that's what's happening.

.- (^W D

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