"My name is Katherine Council and everybody calls me Mama Kat for the simple reason that when I had my first grandchild I didn’t want to be called grandma because I didn’t want men to stop looking at me!"
- Katherine "Mama Kat" CouncilBorn and raised in Northside, Katherine "Mama Kat" Council describes herself as a happy person who has lived a good life, despite hardships. She is an active member of St. Joseph CME church, volunteers constantly at the Heavenly Groceries food ministry and is a Community Mentor who loves children and never hesitates to speak to schoolkids about her life.
Katherine Council - On home, family, and changes in Chapel Hill
Katherine Council - On food, cooking, and recipes
Katherine Council and Lillian Alston - On Heavenly Groceries, St. Joseph's Church, and the importance of volunteering
Katherine Council - On education, changes in the community, and racial discrimination
Katherine Council - On her childhood, family, and changes in Northside
This interview provides an overview of the place and birth of Mama Kat. Her house burnt down in 1962. She notes the change in neighbors versus before. She had children graduating from college. Her 3 kids were in college at the same time. The last baby was born with down syndrome. She recounts the change in the community in terms of demographics. Everybody used to know everybody. There are no children running outside now, everyone is grown up. Northside used to be a tight-knit community. There was a very dramatic moment in Mama Kat's life when Odell became ill. She tells the interviewer how she ended up with the name 'Mama Kat.' She had employment as a cashier and then cleanup lady. There was controversy with either going to the new school or staying at the old school as a cafeteria lady. " I love peoples" Odell's sickness comes back again but this time he becomes paralyzed. He worked in the food ministry back when it only had bread. Everyone in the family went to different churches while growing up. She recalls a childhood memory of calling Jones Ferry Road the "lake road." Her grandmother was the cook of the house. She has memories of going to a one-room school with only 40 children. She sees how older generation views were different from the younger generation views; schools were beginning to become integrated. Her daughter was one out of the 5 blacks to integrate into the white school. She would still be at her old house on 15-501 if her house did not burn down. Her father used to farm. Her son did not play any sports. She rented a house 4-5 months before moving into the current house she lives in. She did not have anything when she moved into the new home. The neighborhood now is so different from what it was back then. She describes demographics of the neighborhood, "I am surrounded!" She spoke about unfair treatment by a white man at the Laundromat and how a white woman helped her. She loves working right at home or next to it; it meant a lot back then to own a home. She spoke of how she met her husband. She shares what she really enjoys in the present moment is working with students from UNC.
Katherine Council - On growing up in Chapel Hill and changes in the neighborhood
Katherine Council - Holiday Memories
To hear more from Katherine Council, listen to her full oral history "Katherine Council - On growing up in Chapel Hill and changes in the neighborhood."
Katherine Council - On her children and growing up outside of Carrboro
Katherine Council - On her pound cake recipe
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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