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Oral history interview with Peter Poinsette

Repository: Avery Research Center

Collection Description (Extant): In this interview, Peter Poinsette discusses his family background including his father's birth as a slave on Poinsette Plantation near Pinopolis and his position as a messenger during the Civil War. He was traded or sold to Colonel Gabriel Maingault and then traded to Mayor Charles MacBeth after Maingault's wounding. Also, includes information about Peter's father's first marriage to Emmaline Douri and their child Alice Poinsette. He continues at length about his father's work for the Womens Exchange catering service and his father serving at the St. Cecelia Ball and the Cotillion Ball, including Peter's assistance at the catering service, in which he served the Metz Band. He continues with information regarding Mr. Metz as a director of several bands. Peter mentions his father's working on the Isle of Palms, and explains the process involved with making the trip. Mother's background is included. She is from Haiti and was brought to Florida by her uncle, William Duburst, a cigar maker. Peter talks about his siblings, including Septima Poinsette Clark. Education is discussed, including Peters time spent at Shaw school and Burke Normal and Industrial School. He mentions his teachers were all white and his decision to transfer to Avery was made after watching his sister Septima's commencement exercise in 1916. His profession is discussed as well. Beginning in 1911 when he went to work for German grocers until his time at the Post Office (1936-1970). Lucille played the piano, Peter played the violin. He took music lessons from Saxon Wilson, James Logan, and Miss Highsmith. Played in the Utopian Orchestra-band members include Merton Gillard, Percival Green, Miss Gibson, Frank Hat, Fred Hay, a Cook, Jullian Bryant, Lucy Poinsette, Lydia Anderson and Mr. Blake a member of the street band for Jenkins Orphanage. Peter discusses Avery as an exceptional institution including Mr. Cox as principal, drama at Avery, Shakespeare plays, rhetoricals, Mr. Moore and the chorus, Mrs. Dumont, the director of choir. Also includes information about visitors to Avery, such as Dr. W. E. B. DuBois. When asked about the attitude of white people towards Avery students, Peter says, they were not antagonistic because Avery got the better type of kids. Kids that wanted to advance themselves higher in education.

Access Copy Note: Audio and transcript are available online.

Date(s): 1981

Digital Status: Yes

Existing IDs: AMN 500.001.007

Finding Aid URL: http://lowcountrydigital.library.cofc.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/AOH&CISOPTR=200&CISOBOX=1&REC=12 External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Peter Poinsette

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

African American schools
African Americans--South Carolina
Clark, Septima Poinsette, 1898-1987

Genres:

Interviews
Sound recordings
Transcripts

 

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   March 5, 2012
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