The Emancipation Celebration.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 January 1917.

As we have seen here and here, for more than 50 years after the Civil War, January 1 (rather than Juneteenth) was the date Wilson’s African-American community celebrated Emancipation.

In 1917 (not ’18, per the headline), the Negro Business League sponsored the observation of the 54th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. Master of ceremony Samuel H. Vick delivered remarks that appear calculated to soothe white attendees, as jarring as they may seem now. Mamie Faithful, a local teacher, recited two of her own patriotic poems, which, in the writer’s opinion, compared favorably to those of Paul Laurence Dunbar. And Presbyterian minister Halley B. Taylor delivered the keynote address on the progress and shortcomings of the Negro.

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  • Mamie Faithful

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: retail merchant Sulley Rodgers, 35; wife Earley, 33; and school teacher Mamie Faithful, 50, boarder.

Mamie Faithful is listed in the 1922, 1925, and 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directories.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 114 Fourth Street, owned and valued at $1000, widow Mary Woodard, 34, laundress, and roomer Mamie Faithful, 61.

Mamie Faithful died at Mercy Hospital in Wilson on 15 January 1938. Per her death certificate, she was 63 years old; was single; worked as a laborer; and was born in Tarboro, N.C., to Irvin Thigpen and Beedie Faithful. Informant was James L. Faithful, Tarboro.

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