We Exist Series 3: Audio Recordings
The Black Church and the Black Family: Emma Jackson


The Black Church and the Black Family: Emma Jackson



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Emma Jackson (age 62; March 14, 1941 in Atlanta, Georgia; married with three children; lives in the Lewiston/Auburn area for 45 years; lived in Maine for 46 years)

Interviewer: "And you are a member of Christ's Temple"

Emma Jackson: “Christ's Temple”

Interviewer: "Church of God in Christ?"

Emma Jackson: “Church.”

Interviewer: "Can you, um, just talk a bit about your membership or your history with the church?

Emma Jackson: “Well, we started now -- the, ah -- we originally were in Portland. The -- the head -- the mother church is in Portland. Williams Temple. Williams Temple at the time was, um, my uncle, Bishop, ah, David. Ah, Bishop Aradee Williams was the Bishop there and my aunt -- we talking family–”

Interviewer: "That was your uncle?"

Emma Jackson: “And we came here with family. I came here with family. Years ago that's the way a lot of people came to Maine.”

Interviewer: "Mmmhmm."

Emma Jackson: “Now, there were original blacks here.”

Interviewer: "Yes."

Emma Jackson: “There were some original blacks here.”

Interviewer: "Mmmhmm."

Emma Jackson: “The Cummings I think were originals.”

Interviewer: "A long time. Yeah."

Emma Jackson: “It was a very long time. There was a -- the Fishers, the Donald Fishers. These were original families. But a lot of black families came through other -- my uncle was here because there was no Church of God in Christ up here. So he was an, what you call back then, overseer. So they wanted to work, ah, to start up a mission up here in the State of Maine. So he was sent here to start the mission. The -- and he started a mission in Portland. So he didn't have any-very -- it's sparsely as far as the membership was concerned. He always had white members.” Okay. “From the minute this church was conceived there was always whites. There was never -- we were never a time when it wasn't a mixture of people in this in the Church of God in Christ here in the State of Maine.”

Interviewer: "Okay."

Emma Jackson: “In -- in on the Bishop Williams.”

Interviewer: "Mmmhmm."

Emma Jackson: “So but what -- he would go -- in order to populate more, he would go back in to his, ah, ah, family members and his wife's, ah, family and bring people here. So my husband is here because of Bishop Williams. My husband's sister was married to another minister that came here since Bishop, ah, brought -- ah, oh, asked him to come, and he finally came up here and was working in Bangor. So my husband -- it was a large family. The Jackson's was nine boys and -- and three girls. So periodically some of them would come here to visit and they would stay.”

Interviewer: "Okay."

Emma Jackson: “And that's the way I came here.”

Interviewer: "And can you tell me a little bit about the -- the Christ Temple congregation?"

Emma Jackson: “Now -- the Christ Temple congregation. We stayed in Portland for a year. No. No, no, no. We didn't -- we stayed there maybe six months -- six months or so. Then we moved here. My uncle was the -- was the minister here -- ah, Alee Hall was the minister at –here -- here in Christ Temple. And we had a very small – very close knit. We were a very close-knit family. Very close knit to church. We -- we didn't have, ah, a building. We worshiped at a church called Pinley's Comer. It was a historical church, but again, the people were -- they would allow you as far as churches was concerned. You -- if you needed something -- if you needed help, they were willing to help. So they let us use that.”

Interviewer: "Okay."

Emma Jackson: “But he started off on Cedar Street in a little church there. But, then these were all missions, like storefronts.” Mmmhmm. “And moved onto Pinley's Comer. And we were -- we lived – we lived -- we worshiped up at Pinley's Comer. It was a very small congregation. Again, let's say at -- at our largest we had 35 members. And a portion was white, a portion was black, a lot of family. We carried on there. Then we moved into town and we, um, had a little building over on Dennison Street and we converted -- it was a store. And he bought it from the man and converted it into a church. For years a very small congregation. For years we had -- again, it was family. His family, wife, and three sons, and my, ah, ah -- my husband is -- ah, me and, ah, our son and the children and brothers. Some brothers were there. So it was a very small congregation. And we carried on the church there. My uncle left. He -- he was here for a number of years until his -well, he left when my daughter was nine months old. Robin is the one that I'm talking about now.”

Interviewer: Mmmhmm.

Emma Jackson: “He left when she was nine months old. And we continued to carry on the church for, oh, two or three years, and then my husband took it over -- was ordained pastor.”

You can visit this page for the complete interview and transcript.

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African American, Oral History, Maine, Church, Faith, Family

The Black Church and the Black Family: Emma Jackson