U-1103 Interview with James Mountain, Jr.

James Mountain Jr.'s father, James Mountain Sr., was one of twelve African American men who founded the St. Luke Credit Union in Bertie County in 1944. The interview focused in part on Mr. Mountain's father and the credit union. Ms. Amaza Byrd, a friend of the Mountain family and former employee of St. Luke, also participated in the first ninety minutes of the interview and shared recollections of the credit union's founding and role in the community of Windsor and Bertie County (SOHP recorded an interview with Ms. Byrd on Sept. 25, 2012 Interview Number U-1100). But since James Mountain Jr. was in the army overseas when St. Luke was founded, his knowledge of the credit union’s early years was somewhat limited. The interview therefore covered a number of other topics, such as Mr. Mountain’s time at North Carolina A&T University, where he earned a degree in vocational agriculture, and his time in the Pacific theater during World War Two with the Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Mountain also described his career as a vocational teacher in North Carolina, and a worker in the aviation manufacturing industry in New York; his parents going to Ossining, New York, to work as domestic servants in the 1930s; and the major role that his maternal grandparents, Stark and Lucy Eason, played in his life. He lived with them for many years and learned a great deal from them while he went to school in Bertie County and his parents were up north. This interview was one of several interviews conducted by the SOHP for a project on the history of minority credit unions in North Carolina.

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