Katherine Peterson

Growing up in Mound Bayou, Mississippi was only the beginning of Katherine Peterson's life. Katie's life has been filled with joys and tribulations but she has never stopped striving towards and achieving her goals. While her living environment changed when she moved North, and eventually back to the South, she still lives her life the same spiritual and caring way. A theme that runs consistently through her life is that friends and family are the center of her life. Rarely putting herself before her family or friends, Katie doesn't regret any of her decisions in her life. She is always trying to look out for them and trying to help in any way possible. Talking with her, it was visibly clear that making others happy in life is what made her happy in life. Her undying willingness to give is only surpassed by her belief in God. Katie's personality is one that leaves a mark on all people she encounters.

It was truly a pleasure to get to speak with Katie and we are so glad that she was able to share her time and caring nature with us.

Katherine Peterson was born on a farm in Mound Bayou, Mississippi in 1923. She described her life on the farm as "self contained". Her family was able to utilize the products grown on the farm and they lived almost self-sufficiently. They traded their produce, such as cotton, wheat, and corn, in town for other goods they needed. She married her first husband at seventeen and lived with him for two years. After the divorce, in 1942 she moved to Chicago.

Photo of Claire Anderson, Katherine Peterson, and Kenrick McNish
Claire Anderson, Katherine Peterson, Kenrick McNish

  In Chicago, Katie Peterson worked in a piano factory. She left her job two years later to work in a restaurant where she stayed until 1961 when she returned to Mound Bayou. In Chicago, Katie Peterson joined the Secret Pal Social Club, the main source of her social life. The club sponsored many social events with other social clubs with similar intentions. A larger and more instrumental part of her new life in Chicago was her church.

In Chicago, Katie Peterson joined the Greater Bethel AME
Church. Ms. Peterson was an active member in her church, she sang with the choir and also participated and served on the usher ministry. Chicago gave Ms. Peterson a different view on life that Mound Bayou was not able to provide. Ms. Peterson found that Chicago gave her more opportunities than Mound Bayou could give her. It was a challenging moment in her life when she realized that she had to return to Mississippi.

In 1961, Ms. Peterson's mother fell drastically ill and she returned to Mound Bayou. She remained in Mound Bayou after her mother's death because she wanted to stay with her father, who did not really like the city and the idea of returning to Chicago was not considered by either Ms. Peterson or her father. She has been living in Mound Bayou ever since.

Ms. Peterson married her late husband Marcus Peterson in 1972. An extremely active member of her church, Greater Bethel, A.M.E. She serves on the stewardess ministry, pastors aid club, is head of the food committee and is a church trustee.

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