@ Weeksville Heritage Center
Caroline Mercer, Kaitlyn Greenidge
DescriptionCaroline Mercer was born in 1942 in Wilson, North Carolina. Her father, Ulysses Mercer, was a sharecropper, growing cotton and tobacco on 50 acres. As a child, her father traveled around to different churches in the state in a boys singing group, managed by his father. Ulysses was a veteran of WWII: while in service, he rose to the rank of sergeant. When he returned from war, he began to farm. He also worked as a hireling, shoeing horses at other people’s farms. He retired from farming in 1965, when he was able to get a job with the state highway commission. Caroline had six brothers and sisters: her mother died when Caroline was young, so she was raised mostly by her aunt. Her father’s farm was remote: she recalls that the family only went to church every third Sunday. Caroline attended school in Lucama, NC. She recalls the classes being small, and knowing everyone who attended her school. She remembers that when she was fourteen, her stepmother had a miscarriage, and Caroline had to stay home from school to take care of the family’s farm. Her teacher sent her work to do at home, allowing her to pass the ninth grade and graduate from high school on time: something she attributes to the small school size and sense of community. In this interview, she also recalls the types of food her family ate and grew in their garden: 5 of the 50 acres the family farmed were reserved for...
Oral History Wav
Caroline Mercer, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Rose Heredia, Meron Tebeje