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An Interview With John Williams
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With John Williams
AbstractInterviewer: Edward Scott. Interview recorded November 20, 1975. 2 sound cassettes (ca. 60 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Has printed guide to contents.
NotesListed in the religion category. John Wesley Williams was born January 3, 1908. Interview was conducted at St. Stephen Baptist Church, Truman Road and the Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri. In the interview, Reverend Williams discusses his early life, education, call to ministry and coming to St. Stephen in 1944, etc.
SourceKansas City Public Library; Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc.
LocationSC69-2, Tape 55, CD 55
Local SubjectSaint Stephen Baptist Church
Williams, John W.
African Americans
Oral History
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionOutline of Interview:

Place: St. Stephen Baptist Church, Truman Road and Paseo, Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Williams was born John Wesley Williams, January 3, 1908. He was delivered by a mid-wife. Rev. Williams came from a large family of ten. Seven girls and three boys. He was born and raised in Houston, Texas. His father was born right after slavery and was not able to trace lineage. Father was a laborer and Deacon and later became a minister. He raised his children to believe in God. He remembers his grandmother he says very well. He was named for John the Baptist and John Wesley (one a Baptist preacher and one a Methodist preacher). His grandmother came from Jamaica in the West Indies.

His mother was a devout Christian, also. Rev. Williams says that if any of the children went astray it wasn't due to a lack of assertiveness by his parents concerning the Christian way of life. He says that if he would tell us how he actually decided to be a minister, and some people hear about it they will make fun of his statement. He was working, he wanted to get an education in order that he might intelligently carry out the ministry to which he had been called. He then began to attend different colleges. He attended Bishop College, Conroe Norman Industrial College, and Paul Quinn. These were only schools of religion, none seminaries. Moved later to other churches.

He was called to St. Stephen in Kansas City, Missouri in 1944. He says that he has been developed as a leader because of the kind of cooperative spirit manisfested by the people of Kansas City.

Rev. Williams says he married in 1938 to Miss Marena Belle Wilson. Her father and grandfather were both ministers. Three children were born to this marriage. His wife is choir director at St. Stephen Baptist Church and vocalist. He has recently been asked to revise King James Version of the Bible. He has made many changes in St. Stephen. Rev. Williams and his congregation have also been active in community enterprises, he says. They were active in the establishment of Martin L. King Hospital, and the Young Baptist Convention of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. They built a convalescent home out in Independence, Missouri.

Rev. Williams says he is truly grateful for his many awards but hastens to attribute the glory to his congregation at St. Stephen. If bussing would make quality education possible then we need bussing, he says.The differences in the Nation of Islam and Christianity are real and true differences, he believes.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210276
CONTENTdm number36319
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