Oral History

Albert and Eloise Williams - On community, faith, race, and being a firefighter

Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan and Rob Stephens on March 24, 2010

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 and a native son of St. Joseph CME. Mrs. Williams is also a lifetime resident and active member of Staunton Memorial’s choir. Rev. Williams begins the interview by discussing his family, early career and life in general in the 1960s. This section of the interview has a heavy focus on race and refers to dividing lines in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. As the interview continues, Williams discusses becoming a firefighter and his blossoming role in the community. During this he also reflects upon his time in the military and on very nearly being sent to Vietnam. He then focuses on the powerful role of the church, where Mrs. Williams interjects and offers her opinion on why kindness suffers in the modern world. Throughout the interview he refers to the role of community, the strength of the solidarity among its members, and an unflinching willingness to help others. At the end of the interview he returns to discussing his role as a firefighter and how the fire department plays a role in the community.

Albert and Eloise Williams - On community, faith, race, and being a firefighter

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Oral history interview of Williams, Albert conducted by Vaughan, Hudson on March 24, 2010 at Home of Albert and Eloise Williams, Carrboro, NC.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Albert and Eloise Williams - On community, faith, race, and being a firefighter,” From the Rock Wall, accessed July 21, 2024, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/albert-and-eloise-williams.

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