Interview with Elizabeth Bostick, February 7, 1984

Material Information

Interview with Elizabeth Bostick, February 7, 1984
Bostick, Elizabeth ( Interviewee )
Brown, Audrey ( Interviewer )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
African Americans -- Florida
African Americans ( fast )
Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History ( local )
Oral histories ( lcgft )


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.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Florida Blacks' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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The Role Of The Ministers Wife and The Prayer Band


Audrey Brown
AB This is an interview with Es. Elizabeth.Lewis Bostick, a great-grand
daughter of one of the founders of New Jerusalem Baptist Church in
Cartel, Florida. The interview is taking place in her home in Ocala,
February 7, 1984 at 11 A.M.
Mrs. Bostick today we agreed to talk about the Prayer Band and the
Role of the Minister's Wife in the Baptist Church. I've asked you for
this interview because as I understand it you are the daughter of a
Baptist minister?
Elizabeth Bostick
EB I am.
AB ...and an active Prayer Band member?


AB Before we begin to talk about our main subject can you tell us a
little bit about yourself? What is your full name?

EB Ey name is Elizabeth Lewis Bostick.

AB Where were you born?
EB I was bornhat Jerusalem.

AB *** and were you raised there also?

SB No I was partly reared there I left when I was two years old.

AB Oh, and where did you .go then?

EB I lived in Ocala at 442 West I Okawdha K Street

AB What was the date of your birth?

EB September the 14th 1914.

AB Were you.delivered by a midwife?

EB were.

AB Do you know who she was?

EB Yes...Hurly Wilson,

AB Who were your parents?

EB Dora Lewis... The late Reverend Hosea Lewis,

AB Your mothers name4Bostick also before she married

EB Yes

AB But a different branch?

EB Yes,

2B. .

AB Brothers and sisters

EB Yes,

AB w-meay brothers and sisters, who were they?
I have them on that family tree, is that correct?

EB I guess so because my older sisters know more about it than I do.
'f4I was te4lve when my mother took me home.

AB You were twelve when your mother took you home from Ooala?

EB Yes,

AB Who were you living with?

EB Ella Johnson, my mothergolder sister,

AB How many brothers and sisters did you have?

EB Twelve,

AB Let me look at that.. ( Family Tree)
Oh alright, she only gave me\erself, Irving and you. Rosabel-1 ,iS
e gi -your sister right? rT

EB Yes,
AB So she only gave me twoAunless I mixed up your sisters and brothers
with your Kunts and nocles...

EB No.. You want to know my sisters and brothers?... It's six girls
and six .boys.

AB Could I have the names of them?

EB Yes...uh HoratiALewis, Rochellq Lewis, Hexikiah Lewis, Rosabelle i
Lewis, Alexander Lewis, Sallie Iae Lewis, Isiah Lewis, Elizabeth
Lewis... that's myself... Irving Lewis, Eartha Mae Lewis, Christina
Lewis, Hosea Jr.

AB Now, how many of these are living now?
EB Lets see its five girls and three boys.. eight
AB Eight.. are still-alive... so there Rosabelle, yourself, Irving LS
btas Deacon Irving Lewis right?

EB Yes. Bishop Lewis, that Hosea Jr. Bi o L .

AB *Thh hat would'nt be Baptist? Whkc C -: r, 7
8 ND. A (3
EB No, Holiness.

AB And who else?

EB Sallie Mae, Christina and Rochella .,. ^f"'(-

AB Now the ones that passed what was wrong with them? Horatio?

EB He had a stroke.

AB How old was he when he died?

EB Th S v-h'r -*

AB Alexander?

EB He had some kind of head injury..J}\1 r1o- su.r< u>A6,

AB How old was he, abo.4,doesnt have to be accurate...

EB th he as1d

AB Isiah? '94j;

EB He was 57 I know.

AB What was wrong with him?

EB -e had some kind of heart attack. -hi;. i .' .,

AB And what about Eartha Mae?

EB She had a stroke.

AB So heart problems run in your family?

EB Um Um,

AB What did your father pass of?

EB a let what did the doctors tell me. They first said, the :;,._
doctors^said it was sugar... but it was'nt sugar now ause they took
off his limbs and the doctors.. uh... my stepmother turned him
over to me and I took him to my doctor and my doctor said he did'nt
have a bit more sugar than he had. His problem was in here...(points
to chest)

AB The heart? -ow o ld a-W hc? g: "Thcces 3t ke Sa'c

EB ,- "M Daddy was .86,.

AB Eartha Mae /ow old was she when she Passed?

EB She was 60.

AB I get those things and that gives me an idea about the health of the
community that's why I ask those questions.
How were your parents related to the founders of New Jerusalem Baptist

EB Ok from the time that I knew because I grew up in Mt Moriah Baptist
as a child because thattwhere my AInty belonged to. From the time
that I knew they were very faithful in service. My mother she attended
Sunday Pchool, she was a Sunday Ochool teacher.

\aJS ^ruI r. 4.
AB Do you remember your grandfather Oliver Lewis?

EB Oh yes... yes

AB He founded the church. iWhat was he like?

Eb %4n". Oh he was beautiful.., he was beautiful., he was very
meek.. mild, easy to get along with... very patients with
people B.I had a history book, black history bc&kldss lj i :-. i )
ou -- we have a portion in there. o4,-IthV ----
AB 1 he one that they did at the Centennial at the Community College?
EB At the Seminary.

AB .&N At the Seminary.-' o you know where that is?

EB Someone have it...umn...

AB Well. if you can think and can get it for me I'd love to see it... you k ot,
not right away but as you think about it..

EB The first church was founded in my grandaddy's home... he was a
minister...( Informant called a few days later to correct this
statement to read)... he was a deacon.

AB Tell me about your early home life... weI4 your early life...homecrkL ti
,44 school

EB WelliI grew up in the home as a trained Christian... you see I was
borned peculiar.., I loved to sing.. and I always speak
o. and, always tried to teach. fd P I' m musical. 4i the school,
I began my school in Howard Academy that'ss here..thats the only
school I ever attended W lon the yhart... and I enjoyed going
to school because I was very active ii al the activities.
( Note: italics represents emphasis of informant)

AB k ?u say you were born peculiar, what do you mean ?

EB Well the elder people said always had bright ideas.--*..
about things0..I did'nt like to run and play too much.I always
skt off kinda to myself a tried.. to read and figure.

AB ul-_lr- and you still do that, laughher7

EB I still do that,

AB Well, that's beautiful. I was going to ask you if yur father
was minister before you were born but I see from Ayo placement
in the family... Was he a minister were born?

EB Xh.PMM _jnwno mama.
AB Ohlhe was called after you were born... da ..'U dis rae@pp

() -"
'lA, t^:-3 1'*'.- ( !''/t r*i'.,~~. 6.t1 '' '* '-'-v'^ '? .

AB You home, you were with your Xunt. adid he ever tell you
about it? A

EB Yes addy liked to me when I first knew him, ]e always ao*
likb a teacher to me, and I felt like it came from him and my
Mvother.. so he would always talk about the Lord and what the Lord wa'
expect o6f us. In counseling us he would always take the Bible
and thats-jhe way that he wouldl.. very seldom e wouldwhipUS.
I think he whipped me once in his life. O ko .

AB So he just counseled you in terms of God's word?

EB Right.

AB And what was right and what was wrong,

EB Right,

AB That is beautiful.. As the daughter of a minister you have a godd
idea of what the church membership expects of the minister and his
wife. es Vell11 us about the role of the ministers wife? What
do the church expect of the minister's wife in terms
of behavior?

EB In the role of t ministers wife, the Christians expect his
wife to be an outstanding woman because she's first lady of the
churchb.. and shew very important among womenr.. go therefore
she needs fo have a attitude that very leasing. ... -wear
a smiler..not a grin, a nd uh she should
be courtesy at all times;,she should be interesting people,,
its a such as knowing how to counsel them if she should see
something wrong,'knowing how to approach them, knowing how to
turn them off. You know its very important that we know how
to meet peopleye. entertain them., and turn them off.

AB Turn them? Uh what did you say I diint hear that last...

EB Likeyou we're gonna leave-..Wollhave a good day...
I enjoy4talking with you,

AB OK alright
EB You's'a pleasant person to talk with.

AB Whatkind of works are expected of a ministers wife?

EB A ministers wife, I think, should be involved , all parts
of the church, no specific, because it takes on missionary,
teaching and everything. And she should be qualified.

AB Did your mother do all these things?

EB '7 ',

AB Spiritually, .what is the minister's wife expected to be?

EB She should'nt be' cold, she should be full of the spirit, because
iwma :First Timothy_ tells us tha .She should be full of the
Holy Spirit. .

AB OK, Do they belong to any Christian.women"s organizations?

EB aB. They should .I think they should, I think that its very
important because its so much they can learn from a Christian

AB Do they have any around here thatA-t belong to? A. Christian
women's organizations? lot the Prayer Band but .

EB No,

AB They don't.

EB D Jhey uo ,,neyraoi; pere- are, other. activities if that what you're
preferring to that .they.are involved' in because there: are
secret societies and things likeathat .and:.all that's very good for

AB Could you tell me the names of some of the organizations

EB Um such as the Lillie Whiteja the Sunlight iallbearers...

AB OK I went over there they had their quarterly meetings, I took
pictures of them and recorded it d last week.

EB Its one set up and its named after me.@ I'think I have the pencil)
its named after me.--. it was just organized about .two or three,
years ago., and my daughter ist(b my daughter is -g the royal .
matron of it and they named it after-me.*( Goes to kitchen
"and gets a pencil engraved with the name of a lodge )

AB OhlElizabeth Chapter, Worthy ilatron, O.E.S, Darion Moon, that's
the society?

EB Thats my daughter
is ycvAddattjer.
AB Darion loonio Whats O.E.S.?

EB Thats the abbreviation for wha-tever she is over that de /.

j So-its an OA*e of __W ___,
Y Yd, IT'J9A C-- U Ir y"J /W- AM r4 7, ,T,
--It -S---f 5t- 6 et A007- -.,. r"- "
. a :S ,4i9: 5c) *fli ejbI2ODJthr l ^-& ; .' ^ A-^ Cwc*

"p ... 3 .. ..** : ,.
I-i: ___ ____

4a: 9i MCtr H oF r /J t((r7 e : (h16 77 A 1,4O TATr' 73 E
A6 r -1Tt4A7 WCE. htiA, O6fJ THL LitLLftt ts &Hr 06- /0? r 7-Ah074V- cF
EB A4ft5 the Lillie White it does charity work and.,hi 7I"k' C(AtF

AB They pay death benefits? ..

EB They pay death benefits, Lf dt LL, 2 ,4.

AB How does the ministers wifewhat she does. differ from what
the Church Mother does? I

EB How is it different? You talking about working in the societies?
S Ta n inout the chu th thuresocieties?
AB U4an in the church, Ahe ministers wife doesn't become the ChurchAther Se

EB No mam.

AB- The Church Mother is somebody else.

EB Rights

AB So ,the Church Mother has a special job ig the churchAm. How
is that different from the minister wifes job?

EB Right.. .ftB The mother they instructs .^ they instructs
the members of the churches g3enever there is a problem
they counsels with the members to solve this problem.4

AB An thing else they do?

EB Yes )they see that O the Mothers also instruct the deaconesses
concerning the Lords Supper. I am a deaconess.

AB You are.

EB I am,

AB Is there anything else you want to say about the ministers
wife t at I hav'nt asked you? -
rso + C+uc,, k L 4/
EB The importantS N he-be ready at any time when thQa q-.
problem or work i slack in the church she is in a position to
correct it bt'or saa"b=MaSS give instruction about it.

AB To the men and women? /

EB (Hesitates) to the women,(laughs) because t she goes to the
men shes stetpi9 ahead of the deacons
AB OK so mainly the women and the Church Mother does something
similar but in addition they're in charge of the Lords Supper.

EB Right,

AB Very good, ,P what is your current church home-where is your
church home$ r-w -

EB At Welcome Stranger,

AB So when you came out to our church last, week before lastlr you
were just visiting.. I thought you we)e with Wesly ( Wesley Chapbl
and New Jerusalem share service qn fifth Sundays andMs. Bostick
was there)Ff.d an Ms Btif

r a^ (AI /He^/^ Y^PLP n ~c~u r< idldil-Ld

AB it because we children don't have a lot of things to do on
Saturday afternoons and we would like to come to the church
and be doing something,

EB Right Right. C 4 t A C k ivi P-

AB It was so nice the way he did tests go we were
talking about an.dt he ,mni-ter5,a th-r-
\ I c ^ same thing, nd wi-I hr5 t was y, ouh-ea p. (
'0 See, I too,that the min.' acher5came to us to teach us something i
because we we in con ict. and I'm more or less asking you
0 i id you pl that or did 'aa*it because you knew that we were O' f 4 ,
d ving oblems out there that `r-leasonnwas on that?

was just a lesson., You know God has these editorslike he
did back in olden times he spoke to men by the Holy Spirit you
knov Welltoday he still speak5to them and they write these
'\ less ns.& Jhey prepare@ these lessons and theyle for us to
(A _' JX stu and so it was really was God's word what I was teaching.

%60trl Oh
it fitted right in there.# You see God know what is to come,.
S h we is coming to., Ie don't knowig but God know. a and he
S{ i. p11 inspire men to write these things and have them ready
4 \ Jor us at that time.
AB OKwell I was interested in that cause what I noticed was Ibe- /Yk ''aJJ
hat I noticed was that when we came out of there we c / /".
was much closer group than when we went in that church that I G lj /\-,s lp
morn 9s.--- -- -- i4 C

EB TRm o-rm" You see God's Spirit works like that./and these lesso'sr- -' /
the Christian people takes it in because it is God s word..-
The main thing about itlwhy people don't act better is because
people fail to hit the point that God is talkingabout.mThey
severe around and try to arrange it in their way.g but if we teach
what "ThusSayeth the Lord God ilmighty"4.bwell it takes a effect
on those that are born again, I

EB It has an qffedt

AB Well that brings us to prayer and Prayer Band.I wanted to ask you
first of all if the prayer band you belong to part of Welcome Stranger
Baptist Church?

EB It is.

AB So a church can form a Prayer Band?

ZEB Right,

AB Would you tell us about the prayer band./how it "as formed and
who the officerslare and I'll ask you some other things if
you don't cover it.


EB O well I was just coming home.e they asked meqlpSister Burney
(former ministers wife who continues to be a potent force at
New Jerusalem fifteen years after her husbands ddath)
asked me sometime back to come and teach the class ( Sunday
School class made up of the oldest women and former ministers
wives and by invitation myself 9 possibly because I have most
education...possibly because women my age first rejected me..
possibly because women my age are taught by present ministers wid
wife ) ( Church had splitqg the minister resigned under pressure
the first of January and this was the fifth Sohiday in January)
AB That day this is what I perceived a real newcomer, I mean
they call Kiss Mary whoreebeen t frefifty years a income, J 4
so I said I'd never e antingy wcomery. -'f, ,' t/Sy
""-i hatIswas.mWhat I saw was... p7/ r

EB 1 4 ary lobley? eSJ r

AB S sheA been there fifty years,

EB She been there longer than fifty yeaus

AB 9HBa bit they call her a income.

EB Noo No#.g ..
G64r ,qo v tv 4q, w
AB A what I saw happen that day@everybody in our church
came out of their job in the church, they weren't ushers, they
weren't singin in tte choir, they weren't deacons,they weren't
S leadinrthe Sunday School, they were all just members
other people took over the role5of teacher, minister) everything

EB Yes, Yes.

AB Each class had a very strong person teaching the class, you
taught our class, I don't know what went on in the other classes
but what I heard in my class was #em swom telling us we must
not be rebellious, we must love one another, we must practice
Christian charity...

EB (Nods head and makes sounds of agreement throughout)

Telephone rings........ (Its her daughtfYBaby Ruth 52 years old)

AB Baby Ruth's your dau ter? I was wondering what Baby's Ruth
um relationship was/ith you,I mean not with you, with
the churchAL would fn figure out what family she was in,
but I kne e con Brooks 0to live with her ( Deacon
Brooks is 82 and was the husband of the informants Aunt
who is now deceased) when his land was sold, 1'sI figured jgWA4 ,/
must be something related to the Lewis's but I A-id'nU t wknw i-t' tJ U "T FtR
it-aees, Oh so Ray's your grandson e/e's a fine young man,
He spoke up when we were talkinOabout whether we were going
to have our organization n d Z hso'ie!0'L p ana saidI think
we should klV4

EB Vnmw.To organize a prayer band it must be a concerned group of pej
people,-kEe 1Aa then they get a president. a vice president,
ima secretary treasurer, a devotional leaders a teacher...-,
and then this Vroup of people must go through the arprodedure
"of uh being = being dedicated to the Lord. ..

AB They are dedicated to the Lord ( Now who are the officers
of your prayer band? U,

EB Mabel Knight is the /resident,j .Sylvia Murph is the vice president)
I am the secretary, Sister Willie Alma Burgess is the Areasurer,
Deacon Hamilton is the f'eacher, I am the sat(eacher.

AB Thats a man.

EB 14*iW Deacon Hamilton

AB Whose the devotional, leader?

EB Deacon Hamilton.

AB So its men and women in prayer bands

EB Yes mazhaC

AB I noticed that in that the Florida Watchman ( defunct newspaper
published formerly by Sunlight Pallbearers) that there wa e--s ri-- We "ti4z(l
women in 1973,but I had never seen the men.*but of course it was
women's day in the picture I showed you(picture taken by interviewer
of in formant leading prayer at Womens Day Service in 19 80 or 1981)
...and I guess7.Iwvell it was.. well I saw them at the revival- ,
Reverend kayweather' revival it was all women. the men don't No
participate as as the women or what?

EB No the men don't seem to have the interest j that.the women have.

AB who well,you told me that the members are a concerned group
of people, what is their concern? What does the Prayer Band do in
the home,the churchthe community?
EB The prayer bandtthey should, their t Uty is to be ready at all times
for the coh uh to serve any church in the community because a lot
of times 'M Ccalled out called out to different homes.

AB Called to homes l

EB Oh yes T- r called to homes.

AB And what do you do I mean why y you callgj to homes? _

EB We are called to a home because the people have a illness./and um
they have faith in the prayer baid,. and God has worked a many a
miracles through this prayer band.

AB You are able to make sick people well through prayer,
yrougQ prp'lr
EB Oh yes, yes =od makes'em well.

AB Anything elsd? 7#,/WZL(t C t/# al/( st Sll/t'4 -9 Z lY t1- 1

____ ___ P% r/p 11.
B -and. what zlzz

EBR Well sometimes there are problems toothere are other problems
and the Prayer Band... (End of side 1 -

,B .. b Wt i of -prbNE E d -peopl -.k you- to help thm i"With"
< *-- y - '-"'*^ .... :. --.-T.:.:- -- -- ....... ---- -' -. "---'
.- .-- '

L ..- b sometimes. its from weakness of their chil S co6S ricainc
--*'their ohildrenc, uo somet-imneo probr s with = olZd _
J'lth their children '. ,

"AB- -- k nythingsQ ,t.-thinga- Tke --hting or drinking or things like-s.-
th t? .. -
r ,. have be eh lled.
WTel-T fr"drinking,- yes. I have ben- callero pray H IamIE iec
concerning their personally. let mc put lile that
affairs. (Bccomaes reticent) r

AB OKtha.s in the home and in the church you serve you pray at
different services such as .1 have. r:en tioned?

E B Ye 4onint athuog 1wrp acf thc chliroh welithbe Erayer Band is
cal ed on .ro lead devotion in.l S, 0 E.C__ ion

AB OK special .9.t.iiofal .what ,tite J-=scons ordinarily do the "
;raycdrLinda does? \I)

EB Right, .. _..
i1t JJ r
A B + ,1 moan lSiTtiloamoni the- dacon Et- up anc-- b yout do..
bIB pnnm of ..ou tha8 oes it-_

. B Right, well sometimes its4two and sometimes 'itsa.-SBW ae

AB But a..-AhsireviV.l -there about four or five -. tiZl .

-. +ell-,at- tlIti' revival- tht ,er-ban-d--s--vhole.,o out m-ytJo4 in .
l-groat ltwbrt, tf --. -. -- ---

AB Unin j' that many people in i ihen they call yCI '..,.-
the homrno'd6c' everybody go? ..

S.';..... p S p h not Jvry-bodf but' ,uite La ,nu'Lb, .O- ._li. ,

AB Does" 'more people involved, the more peofl I -ia: -op.etitZ e lv-a- .
I in prayer, do .-tha-tr inT-aso'-'th amEint of prxt -th. being
directed towards God? or A you klo:' w "lI m n t

EB No, no it don./You know it dependd.s Ji, -lk Je-, us saidt.-:.-
where -or well sometie Fr ight- bel- anFd tlie bpiri is.a
wher~e-PYor--r u I- -d
asiigh as it were if it were -cra.nd someti i ,
-f-A t-3.and the s- rit reacheL no hiE r,'r w i4. h."lar&or sr
just depend ox the spirit th- ate d el ings -ithi i7y 0
JU .. -- 7 -
\r- ..... -'

Page 15

AB: What kinds of problems do people ask you to help them with through prayer?

EB: Oh, sometime it um, Aweakness of their children, concerning their childrens,um

sometimes problems with the schools their children.

AB: Uh huh. Um, anything like, not things like fighting or um drinking or things like


EB: Well, for drinking, um, yes, there, I have been called. I have be@nncalled to pray

uh, with families, uh, concerning their personally, let mfeput it like that,their

personally affairs.

AB: Okay. So that's in the home. And in the church, you serve a different, you pray

at different services such as I've mentioned.?

EB: Yes, in the church. Um, in the church, well, the prayer band is called on to lead

um, devotion in a lot of .a occasions.

AB: Okay. Special occasions. The, what the deacons would ordinarily do, the prayerrband


EB: Right.

AB: m mean, like I'm saying in the regular morning services beacon, more or less, one of

the deacons gets up and does what,

EB: Right.

AB: you do, but its a group of you .that does it when the prayer band does it.

EB: Well, sometimes it's just two say, and sometime it's one. Yes, uh, that takes

the occasions, you know.

AB: Well, at the revival there were about four or five.

EB: Well, in the revival the prayer band as a whole used to go out, maybe in great numbers

AB: Ummm, there's that many people in it.

EB: 0, yes.

AB: Oh, so when they call you to the home, does everybody go?

Page 16

EB: Not everybody, but quite a number.

AB: Does more people involved, the more people that are involved in the prayer, does

that increase the amount of spirit that's being directed toward God or.... do you

know what I'm trying to ask you?

EB: No... no, it don't. You know, it depend now. It's sometime o:; like Jesus said,

where two or three, and sometime it might be two, and the spirit is as high as it were

if it were a fifty. And sometimes it, um, would be five or ten, and, um, the spirit
it j'af
reaches no higher uh, with the larger amount. %t= depends on your spirit that

dwelling within you.

AB: Okay. That's why I was interested in that. Do you have a certain way you carry

out your devotion? Is it a certain form? I mean is it a certain thing that you do

First and then something that you do second and..?

EB: Yes. Yes. Um, in leading the devotion, the first thing you 90 do, you must always

honor God, our prayer agent. And then Christ, who is in our lives. Then we line the

hymn, read the scripture, go back and sing the hymn, and prayer.

AB: I want to go to "linethe hymn", "lin 4the hymn"..

EB: ifig' the hymn

AB: Yeah. I think that, let me be sure I know what you mean. Is that where the person

reads the wordsand then the, uh, congregation sings it after that. I noticed, I'm

glad I'm talking to you, because. I noticed that, no matter where I go, whether it's

the singing, you know the federation of Brothers in Christ, or the revival or morning

service, or whatever it is, when they line their hymn, as you say, the congregation

always sing, and I've recorded it, they always sing the same tune.

EB: Yes.

AB: Is that on purpose?

EB: Yes. Uh, because the hymnal gives the tune that a hymn should be sung in, and when

you raise it, you raise it in that tune.

Page 17

AB: But what I'm saying is that at that time, that partic.., when the hymn is lined, it's

always, no matter what the words are, people always sing it the same.

EB: Yes.

AB: It's not different. Like some songs are, you sing them different tunes.

EB: Right.

AB: But this time, that first hymn is always the same tune.

EB: Right.

AB: Is it, has it always been like that as long as you remember?

EB: Yes.

AB: That's interesting. Um, what it sounds like is a slave dirge, what we call a dirge.

It's a, a,uh, slow, and it's sad almost...

EB: Yeah

AB: You know..

EB: It's very, it's deep

AB: It's deep

EB: Yeah

AB: It's deep

EB: It's touchin'

AB: It's very deep and touching, right.

EB: A hymn is a sacred, is a sacred service

AB: Um hmmm

EB: Uh, to God.

AB: And it's always been like that as long as you can remember..

EB: Yeah..

AB: Oh that's, I'm, I'm, part of what I'm doing is gonna, is looking at old hymns, and

you know, part of what we're gonna do in our organization is record hymns or songs

that are no longer written down. Your brother, in fact, is the one that is most

interested in that.

Page 18

EB: Ummm

AB: The deacon reverend L C(eS.

EB: Um hmm

AB: This is so interesting. Um, what about clothes that women in the prayer band wear.

Now sometimes they seem to wear special clothes.

EB: We are cautioned about our clothes that we wear because, um, a prayer band, you know

we think about, um, the scripture5when Peter was put in jail and the different

leaders of God, Um, we know through the Bible that it was prayer that released them

and so, if, uh, if you're a prayer member, you represent something. We like to wear

white cause white is purity.

AB: What about the hats?

EB: We always wear a hat because,according to the scripture, a woman should never pray

with her head unbare..

AB: Oh. Now that's the first time I've heard that. Miss Bellamy told me, Nancy Bellamy?

She told me a little bit about this, but not anything like what you tell. me.

Never pray without covering your head. Now, I noticed that the women seem to wear

the same kind of hat; different women at different times have worn the same kind

of hat. Let me see that picture there, let me show you what I mean.... And Miss

Bellamy showed me her, this hat here, that I call it a turban, I don't know what

you call it. That one,..

EB: Yes..

AB: Now Miss...uh, seem like everytime I see them that thy,>.when they have on white,

one of them has on a hat like that.

EB: Yes, we have hats in that s.tyle. I have oneltoo.

AB: You do?

EB: I have a couple of them.

AB: And then it always seems like there's a woman that has a hat like this with a broad


Page 19

EB: Yes.

AB: Does, is it, do you plan that? Is one person wears one kind of hat and

one person wears an....

EB: No, we don't plan it. As long as the hat is white, that's what matters.

AB: The hat is white, okay. So, because Miss Bellamy pulled out her hat, she had one

like this lady had

EB: Yeah. The style don't mean anything... as long as it's white.

AB: Okay. Just the color. And the fact that your head is covered. In your memory,

have prayer bands always dressed in whiterwith their heads covered?

EB: Uh, I can't remember of any prayer band in my childhood, uh, but I do know that

the women believed in their head being covered.

AB: Oh.. In those days they covered their heads in church, they didn't come to church

without a hat.

EB: No.

AB: Now it's only the minister's wife and the deacon .esses,sometimes only the
a ick t
minister's wife gotpt-hse on*.

EB: Yeah. Sometimes they are, they are, um, without a hat, but they should, uh, for

fact a person, a christian,should never go to church without a hat on.

AB: When I first came here, I used to wear a hat, but then I stopped and the reason

I stopped was because nobody else had a hat on but the minister's wife and I
t&4f ad I\a^-q
funny, well, maybe I'm doing something I'm not supposed to do, so I stopped

wearing my hat. You know, because I sort of, nobody did it except the minister's

wife and some of the deaconesses. I had a white dress-:that I used to wear.. it was

fact it was, I took my wedding drews and I cut it up and made a dress to wear to

church. And people acted kind of funny when I came in in a white dress so I stopped.

w- I said maybe I'm doing something wrong so lemme just stop.

EB: Naw. Christefixes as I said in the teaching, individually, and if your spirit leads;

you to wearrwhite every sunday, you know, and the Lord knows why you wearing it. You

Page 19

EB: wear it, you wear it. *'you be governed by the spirit cause Christ made this thing

individual j

AB: Okay. When wsF the earliest memory you have of a prayer band4if you don't remember

the\ when you were a child.

EB: My earliest remembrances in 1935. 1935, thaL' d g3d vuhil. fg

AB: 1935, that's a good while ago. That's 47 years. Ummm...

Okay, you told me about the meaning of the color.. Is there anything you want

to add about this prayer band. Something I haven't asked you..

EB: Well, uh, uh, for the prayer band, you know the scripture say that we should

always pray. Um, and there is a reason for the Lord saying we should always pray.

Because we'll be ready when'bstacles come up, and we're called upon to pray

for them. Um, -4rr now mine runs a bit different there are white people in this
1?- 4
city that calls on me to pray formrthem over the telephone, and I give alot of prayers
sometime I've had to stop prayer band meeting here to answer a phone to pray for

the people that is calling in. And, um, I think, you know, that you should be ready,

your light should shine so it don't make no difference about the color, if you're

called upon to pray, don't say I will pray for you ... but now

AB: Right now, don't say you gonna do it.. do it

EB: Now, now.

AB: Okay. And pray immediately.

EB: Right. We go to the hospital to make prayer with the sick which is very important.

Going to the convalescent home, uh yes, anywhere where we know it's needed.. this is

the work of Ghfist. He want us to do this.

AB: Oh, that's beautiful. That is really beautiful. Uh, we have some time left, and you

mentioned the Holy Spirit several times, and I have some questions about this

holy spirit, about spirit. Uh, let me just look back over here a minute... Before

we go onto that, you said you've worked many miracles through prayer... in terms of

Page 20

AB: sickness and 6ther things. Um, can you tell me about any one of them.

EB: Yes. Um, I can say here recently, um, about two weeks ago, I had a call from

California, and my only sister there, which is eighty-some odd years old, she fell

and she broke her hip, and um, she went into a comma, this throwed her into a comma,

and um, the next day, I called Mother Knight(Night) which is the president

and I talked with her about it. She called the other presidents of the prayer band

and we went in prayer, and in seven days, the Lord worked a miracle. Where my sister

wasn't talking, just bubbling mucous out of her mouth, she's home today.

AB: Allright.

EB: God worked a miracle. The doctors gave her up. They wouldn't do anything.But God

didn't give her up.

AB: Oh. That's beautiful. I notice you call(interview interrupted by a telephone call)

some background murmurings... )4dlS' A

AB: You spoke of Mother Knight, I noticed that most of the groups in the church call

any woman by the term mother, you know, church mother, you have the mother ..

EB: Spiritual mother

AB: For each group?

EB: No. I just call, she's my spiritual mother. I have alot of faith in her.

AB: Oh, alright, because what I was getting to was like they have class mothers, they

have Mothers for the Federation groups, and it seems like the term mother is a very

precious term to everybody in the Baptist church.

EB: Right, right.

AB: Let's talk about the spirit. Ummm, I just want you to respond to some things at first

because I've been talking about this to others and I tried to organize what they have

said to me, and I'm sort of checking it out with you to see if I've organized it

right in my mind. When I say "the Spirit", what does it mean to you?

Page 21

EB: Umm, the word "the Spirit" means a lots to me, because, uh, the scripture says

he that worships me must, worships me in spirit and truth. So, really the word

"the" don't have, uh, a bearing power to it.

AB: Doesn't have a power to it?

EB: A bearing power.

AB: A bearing powerr, MS I don't understand.

EB: Okay. See, the spirit, alright, the spirit can beAiidle spirit

AB: A idle spirit.

EB: Yes, the spirit. It can be, see, there are many spirits. You got it.

AB: Go ahead and just talk because maybe my questions would just muddy things..

Alright, then there's the idle spirits, go ahead.

EB: Yes, but when we use the word in terms of"spirit", we would say the Holy Spirit"

We are, we have reference to Christ now. The Holy Spirit is the reference to Christ,
but the spirit can be any spirit.

AB: What are some of the other kinds of spirits? You said idle spirits, what does that


EB: It can be a spirit of hate, a spirit of jealousy,

AB: Okay, so you are saying to me that there are good spirits and bad spirits..

EB: Yes, there is an evil spirit. Can I say it like that? Yes, there are evil spirits

and there areagood spirit. There's only one. Spirit. Holy Spirit.

AB: Alright. Um,,, when, what's the diff...alright, you've already told me that the

Holy spirit can heal. Whatis the difference between the meaning of the Holy Spirit

and spirit that is in people, you know, people say they come to church with the

spirit in them, talking about themself, their spirit. Do you understand? Or maybe

I'm not...

EB: A person don't have, a person don't have a spirit because Christ said that it was

speedier for him to go away, and when you know he told his disciples to tarry, you

"fA^ ^- 6a<-p414f

Page 22

EB: know, and he would send them a comfort, which was the Holy Spirit, and it would

lead them and guide them and bring all things to their remembrance. But the spirit

don't do it, the spirits don't do that. The spirits contact you with evil doings,

you know, they always giving you a mind to do evil things, that's what the spirits


AB: Okay. So, if a person has a good, if, if it's good that they have in them, it's the

Holy Spirit

EB: It's the Holy Spirit..

AB: And none other. If they have evil in them, it can...

EB: It's spirits, that come from the devil. Dat's de work ob de devil. Dese spirits

is de work of de devil.

AB: When people have negative things happen to them, you know, like the problems

we were talking about, you know like drinking, violence, um, problems in school

and so forth, is that from evil spirits

EB: That's from evil spirits. Uh, the holy Spirit don't bring problems. The Holy

Spirit brings success happiness, peace...

AB: What happens to the Holy Spirit that's in you when you die?

EB: It goes back to the God that give it.

AB: Some people say they've seen the spirit of a person who has already died like one

person told me that when they are sick, they see their mother and father, and when

they see their mother, in a dream, this person said in a dream, other people have

said they've seen them not in a dream, and when they, this man said that when his

parents spirit comes to him, he knows he's getting well. What do they mean when

they.... Is it possible?

EB: I'se possible.

AB: Um, they don't mean Holy Spirit, they mean something else. What do they mean?

Now, I'm asking you what is it when they say they see the spirit, of their parents,

they don't mean what we're talking about.

Page 23

EB: Ummm, yes, because those that are at rest, those that are at rest, they comes back

in a form, God has a way, I've experienced 4-- When my mother passed, this is an

example, when my mother passed, I didn't know what they was doing because I was

fifteen years old. But they were ransacking the house, my daddy and his mother and

the different ones, my mother's sister, and they were ransacking the house, but for

what, I didn't know. And um, they hadn't buried her dead, but on the Tuesday when

they buried her, that morning before day, I had a vision, God gave me a vision, and

this vision was my mother, and she came, she was just as far as I could see, look

like millions and millions ofaimiles, and everything was white as snow, and she came

right up to my bed, and she called me by my name, and she said, you go, and she told

me where this money were, and she took her finger and she scratched in the sand, and

there was this money. They was hunting this money, they was hunting this money that

my.mother had, she had money put away for my college. And they couldn't find it. And

she came to me and she gave it to me. You know...

AB: Yeah. People used to hide their money because the banks w"l-g rin.. and I know

because my husband was saying that his grandmother had buried hfi money cause the

bank had gone broke or something like that. and she lost money in the bank. So your

mother came to you in a vision... so they, whenever that kind of a ... that

they call a spirit also,q// --- --

EB: Yes, yes.

AB: Okay..

EB: Now that's the spirit of God. God is a spirit.

AB: Spirit of God in a human form?

EB: Yes.

AB: When that happens, when, like your mother or father or somebody like that comes to

you, it's always for something positive, or, I mean, they come with a message?

or to... what do... Is it always positive?

EB: Yes, yes. It's always a good thing. Other words...

Page 24

AB: They wouldn't come and tell you somebody's going to die?
cjarran-+ J tcrraatd-j
EB: Yes, I have carried death weev, I carried death words to Harriet Lew's father.

AB: Oh, it came to you?

EB: God gave me, yes...

AB: Somebody you saw told you that or you ...

EB: No, I'se a voice that speaks to me.

AB: Okay. hr ?

EB: And I went out, and when I got there that night, sister was there and
her eldest brother, but they He wasn't sick at the time, but during the
7 had
Christmas, And he knew that I/message for him, he always believed in..

he had a lot of faith in me. You know, he was the one said I was peculiar, and I

told him that God had give me a message to bring. He said"I know it"' And I told

him that the lord said that he had to leave. It was time for him to go. And I think

in about three days he ...

AB: Do they, can you, do you get, I was, that's something a little, I'm glad you told

me that, but that wasn't exactly what I was asking you. And things Im asking you from

various, I mean)l've interviewed about twenty-five or thirty people now, so then when

I interviewed them, I tried to recreate from what all of them say, what is the belief

of the group. You understand? So, um, some people say that the spirit of the dead

will do like you said, you come and tell them that,where something is, or
something positive, or the worst is going to happen. But then someone else said

that they saw a dead person they didn't know. And that that was not a good sign.

I didn't know how they knew they were dead, well, they said they saw them in the


EB: Well, see, alot of times you have evil spirits in you, you have these evil spirits in

you, and these, the evil spirit is all time at work. Because when Lucifer was

in heaven, you know, and he got elevated up so high that he wanted God's place, and

God had the angels to throw him out. So it is with here on earth. Dey are some

Page 25

EB: people dat think about some palmist or reader or something like that, and that's evil.

And you know they have a desire, they think God is something to play with. And they

want a mind to do something like that person said, or maybe they done been dat

direction and they had told him something, you know, and they, it's all in they

mind. But you don't concentrate yo' mind on a thing like that. When god has something

for you to do, he just fills his feeling into you.

AB: Right. You don't go out in the graveyard and look for that feeling....

EB: Naw.

AB: You said something, I was going to ask you about that anyway. Um, Some people don't

rely on God's spirit when they are sick or distressed. They seek out people who are

supposed to have special powers, and I don't mean the kind of power that you've got.

What do they call those people?

EB: Palmisters, yes. Witchcraft and all that kind of stuff. The Bible say witchcraft.

AB: Root doctors, two-headed man.

EB: Yes, .. .

AB: Dey preach _'_ ___ And what they do is from the devil.

EB: Dat's de devil's work.

AB: Now I heard that there was some ministers, now in fact one lady minister in a

Methodist church here that can tell the future. That's not true? Is that

true? Or is that possible?

EB: Yes. It's possible.

AB: I saw it. Actually I heard it. And I saw it in these Florida Watchbooks, she had

an ad in there.

EB: I'se true. Some people can predict.

AB: How can you tell the difference between whether a person's power is good or evil?

EB: A person has no power unless God invest it into them. An uh, the only way~you can

tell that it is true, uh, you know, let's see what the scriptures say, -aith, okay,

Page 26

EB: faith is something that hope for, uh, not as yet seen. Now if you, if the spirit

of Christ is within an individual John 14:10, Jesus said that the spirit would

lead us and guide us. Well, now, if you. are walking in that rut with Christ, you

'se the branch of him. And every branch that is alive gets substance from the

tree. Right? And so it is that if an individual with Christ. If Christ spirit abideth

in us, and us in the spirit, then we will understand this spiritual thing what is

showing. Uh, for an incidence, my daughter, whose name is on that pencil, she plan

to go to Atlanta temple one day. And it was through a mad passion dat she was going.,

SShe was takin seven more members of the family with her, which was all my children

% and grandchildren. And I ask her not to go because at 10:00, in the broad of the

V daytime I was sitting somewhere along here, and I saw nine cen-i right on that

wall there, at 10:00. The lord showed them to me. And I told her, I asked her not

to go. I don't question God when I see these things. But I fall on my knees and

I pray. For strength. And when she came in, I asked her not to go, and she said

mother, I am going. I told my husband, take me away from my house. I don't, you know,

you don't be sleep, but you be in a trance. And my husband just took me and rode me

because he know when the lord is done showed me something. My daughter took off whilst

I was gone, and I wouldn't let the younger one dtere go. I told her she had to


AB: fis de ne with the lil plaits?

EB: Naw, the one behind her. That's my youngest one. I told her not to gobgause she

was under age. And, she didn't go. My daughter was gone I guess about three hours

before someone hit her) lap in the back and broke her car half in two.

AB: They were all killed?

EB: Naw, didn't get a scratch on them.

AB: Well, thank God for that.

EB: Prayer.

Page 2

EB: Now she had to turn around and have her car towed back, when she come back.

I think it was about twelve o'clock when I heard the car out, and I said

I told her daddy, I said honey, DaTrPn car is out there. So he jumped up.

/ And she come to me and she said "Mother' she said,I don't know why I'da go and

you told me not to go. I don't beg nobody. If the Lord show me something, I just

tell them that the Lord said it. And that's all. So that was a lesson for her.

Now they could have got kilt-cause they was hit f-lem the back. See, and so hard

until it broke the car half in two, and the one with the plaits was a little baby.

And nobody got a scratch on them. God is wonderful. God is wonderful.

So I'm well-experienced.

AB: So what you're telling me is that you've had the experience of foreseeing the

future, it doesn't, you didn't see the automobile accident, but you saw death.

EB: Yeah. I saw all'em. Well, I've told 6m, my son would just drop dead. The Lord

sent me to him one sunday morning around nine and um, I talk to him and told him

what the lord said, and he said, "Ohmother' he said "yo money running you crazy".

I think I had about t cets, maybe or fifty cents.., and um, he ignored it and

the lord prepared me, he was three days preparing me. I didn't eat, I didn't drink,
imrr A- Di^ROp 0iT
and the people were just coming in,You know, because I tells these things, and

the people was just coming in to see, you know, and I told them about my son was

going to get kilt. And they came in, they say,8, I hope not, so, the day when the

Lord had observed me right, I told them, alright, this thing is fixing to happen.

At 2:30 that morning before day, the telephone rang. And I went to the hospital,

and he couldn't even see me, but he said f > od bless you. He said God bless

you. He was broke all up.

AB: What happened to him?

EB: He had a wreck. He, somebody who was driving his car, wrapped it around a pine tree

I mean, tore it up, and you see, he was the only one, but you see I was trying to

/ bring him up in the right way and he wouldn't listen.-6 14C-,

Page 28

AB: How many children did you have?

EB: I'm the mother of ten.

AB: Oh, my heavens. That is beautiful. Ten! I didn't ask you that,. How many grand?

EB: Oh, I'll have to go to work and count those grand.

AB: And greatgrand?

EB: Yes, I have great grands.

AB: Umm-... Before I leave, I'd like to get the names of your children, and how many

children they have so that I can make this family tree complete on, down, seer I didn't

have all that, that's what that line is for.

EB: I see..

AB: to put in your children, and your children's children.

EB: My oldest daughter named Dora,

AB: She was born in ?

EB: '32. Excuse me, JanCi'r the 9th.

AB: Alright, the years are just enough, Okay.

EB: '32. And she have two children. Um, the next one is Vera Mae, um, she born in '34.

She have two children, she have three children. The next one is Horace, he have, uh

he's born 35, they is very close together. He have eight children. He is passed.

He's the one that they found dead the other month.

AB: Found him dead ?

EB: He went to go to bed and he just fell asleep.

AB: Died in his sleep. Next.

EB: The next one is Francis. Uh, she's born in, um, 48. She have three children. The

next one- you wouldn't want the deceased ones?

AB: Yes.

EB: You want the deceased ones.;okay, Leon. He's born in, Francis was born in what?

g AeMABft well, he was born in '50. The next one is Alfred.

AB: Did he have any children?


EB: No. They died. And they died young.

AB: He was a little boy when he died?

EB: They got drowned. (v^j '- Sb

AB: Next.

EB: Alfred. He was born the next year. They was close together. -S1ft B B'.i

AB: He was drowned too?

EB: He was drowned. Alright, Darien. Darien was born in ff'-FS I think. She have

one child. Roy Tl Roy. Roy. Roy have... Roy was born in, cJmy soul, Roy was

born in....

AB: How old is he?

EB: Thirty.

AB: Okay, then he was born in 64, no I mean )54.

EB: Okay, $e have Ichildren.

AB: One,two,three,four,five, six,seven eight.. what happened between 1935 and 1948?

EB: I didn't have no children for eleven years.

AB: Eleven years! Isn't that something. Were you pregnant at all.

EB: No, no.

AB: Just nothing. Isn't that strange.?

EB: Naw, naw.
AB: Isn't that beautiful? And then you started having, so one more, no two more..- _

Dora, Vera Mae, Horace, then Francis, Leon, Alfred, Darien and Roy.

EB: Okay. Then the other two was, now, they wasn't full babies.

AB: Okay. They were premies or miscarriages?

EB: They was miscarriages.

AB: Miscarriages. Dey didn't live at all.

EB: But one of them was a boy.

AB: And that was after '54?

EB: No, that was between ...

PageAX 0

AB: in those eleven years...

EB: Yes. -,OMfr^ '

AB: Okay. Did you breast feed your children?

EB: Yes.

AB: Um hmmm. And did you have midwives for any of them?

EB: Uh, all except one.

AB: Isn't that something. All the way up to, which one didn't you have it for?

EB: Uh, Roy.

AB: The last one. Up to 1953 you still had midwives around here delivering babies.

Who delivered Dora?

EB: Um, um, Quincy Rose.

AB: And Vera Mae?

EB: And Rosa Paul with all the rest of 6m.

AB: Uh huh. I heard her name before. Okay. Is she still alive0

EB: No. She's passed.

AB: Oh. Is there anything you want to say about the spirit that we didn't cover.

EB: Oh, yes, I can always talk on the Holy Spirit, you know. I'se very important that

a person should be acquainted with the Holy Spirit XyOmew, because without the

Holy Spirit,we are not saved. It will save us and it will keep us. It will give

us eternal life.

AB: I notice that when you come to church, that the spirit starts jumping like,

you know, when you sitting there, it's, the whole place changes.

EB: It touches. You see, the spirit is something that touches, you know, it have a

specific job that it do, and the devil he have a job, but he cannot work over

the Holy Spirit because he is the evil spirit, so the Holy Spirit always overpower

the evil spirit.
AB: In the end. Like, uh, with Job, th y said, well, he told the devil, go ahead and

try him.

Page of

EB: Try him. Touch anything but his soul. Said take the hedges down, old devil something

else, take the hedges down and I'll make him curse you to your face. But he


AB: Hm-hm. He lost everything, but he didn't.

EB: He did not.

AB: And then his wife and his minister said that same Sunday V/R F

then his wife started talking foolish.

EB: Foolish. And he told her about it. He say you talk both --cras you were a fool.

So we should avoid that type of company. We should always mingle ourselves, or

come to ourselves, um, where the Holy Spirit is leading. Because when the spirit

is leading, it'll lead us in the wrong path.

AB: When the evil spirit...

EB: Yes. When the spirit, see but the Holy Spirit, that emphasis goes on the Holy Spirit,

because that is the spirit of Christ. And God is spirit.

AB: Well. I thank you very much. And what's gonna happen now is I'm going to,

it takes a long time so don't expect it right away. But I'm going to do what

we call transcribe this, and that is type out all the questions and all the answers.

Then I'll bring it back to you to read. And if it's anything on there that I didn't

get right, you can tell me then. And I'll get legal with you, and you can tell me

and then I'll correct that. This is going to part of oral history- I'm in a class

at the university- and this is part of the oral history of Florida.

EB: 0, beautiful.

AB: And they are interested, that's why it is all set up in this way, with specific

questions and answers, so I want to stop the,uh, /4V W4kl) now.