Interview with Carol Redding Cummings, St. Peter Claver, Macon

Digital Library of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Introductions

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Partial Transcript: KLockard Okay, can you start by telling us your full name please?

CCummings Carol Redding Cummings.

KLockard Okay, and can you spell it for us, please?

CCummings Capital C-A-R-O-L. Capital R. Capital C-U-M-M-I-N-G-S.

KLockard Thank you.

BMiddlebrooks Okay Carol, first I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview. And we're trying to put together some black history from the parishioners from our mouths, history as they remember it. So if you will go back, as far as you can and tell us what you remember about your days at the church and school.

CCummings All right. My husband kept that. [00:01:00] So, will you get for me?

KLockard Okay. Let me go grab it from your husband.

CCummings He asked me to bring it. It's something that includes my grandparents and the rock of the Christian religion for us. [Pause] And then you of course ask me questions too. [Pause] All right. Are you going to ask? Or what are we going...

BMiddlebrooks No, I want you to tell us.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Cummings presents a note her husband saved. She asks Mrs. Middlebrooks if she has any questions, but Mrs. Middlebrooks asks Mrs. Cummings to read the note for the oral history.

GPS: St. Peter Claver Parish and School, 131 Ward St, Macon, GA 31204
Map Coordinates: 32.843858, -83.649573
00:01:44 - Mrs. Cummings's Letter & Biography, St. Peter Claver History

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Partial Transcript: CCummings All right. Thank you Ms. Middlebrooks, for giving me the opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane. [00:02:00] I have a rich religious history at St. Peter Claver Church and School. In the mid-1800s, my religious history began with the birth of my grandparents John and Sally Hughes. Eleven children were born to this couple. Six children died at birth and five survived. Each one of the children and later their families, were church members.

CCummings In 1904, the school on Ward Street began a faith-based instructional school, [00:03:00] offering some academic courses. Children of all faiths were allowed to attend. Margaret, my mother, one of the five, was in the class of students who made their first Holy Communion in 1917. Her religious life continued throughout her lifetime. She died at age ninety-nine. According to church records, Margaret was the oldest senior member of the parish, the one that she had supported for over eighty-five years.

CCummings [00:04:00] In 1934, I was baptized in the new church and entered school at age five. Every school day was fun because I could walk home with my grandmother, Sally, who worked in the convent caring for the nuns. The convent became my second home after a hard day of study. The miracle on Ward Street was still working. Entering the seventh grade, I joined the church choir. This was one way I could become an active member of the church family. [00:05:00] I sang with the church choir over seventy years. The Catholic experience continues to grow within me, and in my children. Each of them are in some way involved or have been involved in school and church life. The year is now 2019 and the miracle on Ward Street is alive and well. Thanks.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Cummings reads her note describing her family's religious history. She also explains the "Miracle on Ward Street", or the origin and growth of the parish and school.

Keywords: Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament; St. Peter Claver Parish (Macon, Ga.); St. Peter Claver School (Macon, Ga.)

Subjects: African American Catholics; Catholic Church--Education

GPS: St. Peter Claver Parish and School
131 Ward St, Macon, GA 31204

Map Coordinates: 32.843858, -83.649573
00:05:43 - Katherine Drexel, Summer Enrichment Program

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Partial Transcript: BMiddlebrooks Okay, Carol, is it my understanding that either your mother or your grandmother met Katharine Drexel?

CCummings Yes.

BMiddlebrooks Who was that?

CCummings [00:06:00] My mother, Margaret.

BMiddlebrooks Margaret. OK. She was actually a member here when Katharine Drexel was here trying to get everything started.

CCummings Yes.

BMiddlebrooks Okay, now, you went from kindergarten through the eighth...

CCummings Eighth grade.

BMiddlebrooks And during the summers, you all had a summer enrichment program? What was that?

CCummings One...

BMiddlebrooks What did you all do?

CCummings One particular summer, while the nuns were getting ready to go to Philadelphia, they conducted a little summer session. There were people who came in, taught us how to knit, how to crochet, how to play ping pong, and how to play volleyball, you know, in the yard. And sometime we did some coloring and painting, just something to help [00:07:00] occupy us.

BMiddlebrooks And how long did that — did it last the entire summer?

CCummings No, just until the end of June.

BMiddlebrooks Okay.

CCummings Cause then they were ready to go for the summer.

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Cummings's mother, Margaret, worked with Mother Katherine Drexel. She also elaborates on SPC's summer enrichment program from her youth.

Keywords: Drexel, Katharine Mary, Saint, 1858-1955; Summer enrichment program

Subjects: Drexel, Katharine Mary, Saint, 1858-1955; Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament

00:07:11 - Sister Marcella, Grandparents and Siblings

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Partial Transcript: BMiddlebrooks Okay. Sister Marcella—

CCummings Marcella

BMiddlebrooks ...that is the one who had a special relationship with?

CCummings Yes, Sister Marcella.

BMiddlebrooks And what grade were you in then?

CCummings She taught sixth and seventh grade, one year and then they changed — they transferred her to the seventh and
eighth grade. So, my familiarity with her was well built.

BMiddlebrooks Okay. All right. Now everybody in your family was Catholic.

CCummings Everybody.

BMiddlebrooks Nobody converted, everybody, they were cradle Catholics or whatever.

CCummings Exactly.

BMiddlebrooks Your parents.

CCummings Yes.

BMiddlebrooks Where did they get it from — your parents?

CCummings My parents got it from their parents.

BMiddlebrooks Okay. So it’s [00:08:00] always been?

CCummings Always been. Um-hm.

BMiddlebrooks Okay.

CCummings From the 1800s, and I think the particular year was 1844 and 1846, my grandparents were born. That's why I
said the mid-1800s would cover that period of time.

BMiddlebrooks Okay, so now, right now, do you have any sisters and brothers?

CCummings I have four sisters, well I had three sisters, one brother.

BMiddlebrooks Alive now?

CCummings No. Two are dead now, one sister one brother. My older sister is alive and of course, me. We all were Catholics and we all participated and graduated from Peter Calver School.

BMiddlebrooks All right, Carol. Thank you so much.

CCummings Thank you. [00:09:00]

Segment Synopsis: Mrs. Cummings recalls Sister Marsella, and notes that her family members are cradle Catholics going back before 1846. She also counts her siblings.

Keywords: Cradle Catholics; Sr. M. Marcella Keegan, S.B.S. (1900-1988_

Subjects: Family History