Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories/2017/Fall/Section 26/Daisy White

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Corrie Wingard
BornCorrie Wingard
06 October 1908
Dutch Fork, South Carolina, United States of America
DiedFebruary 1985
Other namesDaisy White
OccupationDomestic Servant
ReligionUnited House of Prayer for All People
SpouseIsaac Robinson



Corrie Wingard was an African American domestic servant. She was interviewed by the Federal Writer’s Project on December 12th, 1938.[1]

Early Life[edit]

Wingard was born on October 12, 1908. She grew up in Dutch Fork, South Carolina with ten other siblings. Her family worked on Younginer’s farm. Wingard picked cotton with her father and siblings. Her mother, Mary Ethridge, was a cook.[2]

Wingard did not attend school.[3]

Adult Life[edit]

Wingard moved to Columbia, South Carolina in search of new job opportunities. In Columbia, she met Younginer’s sister and decided to work for her. Wingard was paid $3.00 a week to cook two meals everyday. She also did laundry duties for two other households, in which she was paid $0.75 and $0.50 a week.[4]

Wingard married Isaac Robinson, who was a homebuilder.[5] They rented a house from Milbrooks for $2.00 a week.[6] The house lacked electricity and running water. Only one water spigot was available in the backyard. The spigot often froze over in the winter, forcing Wingard to search for water throughout the neighborhood.[7]

Wingard had two children, who were six years apart in age. They attended a Catholic school on Taylor Street.[8]

During one winter, Wingard found an abandoned child and took the baby to Dr. Weston’s office. The doctor diagnosed the baby with pneumonia and claimed that the baby would die soon. Nevertheless, Wingard placed an onion poultice on the baby’s chest. Within a few days, the baby’s pneumonia was cured.[9]

Religious Affiliations[edit]

Although Wingard did not have enough money to attend church congregations daily, she was a member of the United House of Prayer for all People.[10] She followed Daddy Grace and his philosophy.[11]

Wingard died in February 1985 in Columbia, South Carolina.[12]

Social Issues[edit]

United House of Prayer for All People: Daddy Grace[edit]

Charles Manuel Grace, or “Daddy Grace,” founded the United House of Prayer for All People in 1919.[13] Originally from the Cape Verde Islands, Grace arrived in America and settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1903.[14] In 1919, Grace left his job as a railway cook and began his first church in West Wareham, Massachusetts.[15] He later established ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina and Newark, New Jersey.[16] Between 1920 and 1930, Grace traveled extensively throughout the American South seeking followers.[17]

As an African American religious leader, Grace attracted poverty-stricken African Americans in the Southern urban regions.[18] Grace’s flashy appearance also helped the religion gain popularity.[19] For example, he wore purple suits, purchased million-dollar apartments in New York City, and traveled with bodyguards.[20] Likewise, Grace’s fingernails were several inches long. They were often decorated in red, white, and blue nail polish.[21] Daddy Grace’s life of extravagance and conspicuous consumption attracted thousands to join his religious organization.

Because there was a stark contrast between his poverty-stricken followers and Grace’s wealthy lifestyle, many of his followers accused Grace of embezzlement from the Church. Parishioners who were estranged from the Church filed lawsuits against Grace. However, none were successful. In fact, Grace even physically emptied his pockets inside out in court to show his personal financial situation.[22]

Followers were expected to attend service everyday for an hour. They gathered to sing, dance, and often stomped and clapped to “feel the spirit.”[23]

Currently, there are approximately 27,500-50,000 reported memberships in the United House of Prayer for All People community. The headquarters are located in Washington, DC.[24]

Harlingen, Texas. FSA (Farm Security Administration) camp. Nurse on home visit to child recovering from pneumonia


Pneumonia in 20th Century America[edit]

Pneumonia is an inflammatory disease that targets the lungs and alveoli.[26] Symptoms may include chest pain, difficulty breathing, fever, and chronic coughing.[27] By the 1930s and 1940s, pneumonia had become a major public health concern.[28] Because pneumonia had overtaken tuberculosis as one of the leading causes of death during that time, Sir William Osler coined pneumonia as the “captain of the men of death.”[29] Osler was known as the “father of modern medicine.”[30]

To prevent the spread of the disease, Dr. Huntington Williams implemented a $10,000 campaign in 1938 to allocate and distribute therapeutic serum.[31] In early 1939, sulfapyridine had been introduced nationwide as the first successful chemical cure for pneumonia.[32] By the end of World War II, penicillin had replaced sulfapyridine as a more effective treatment.[33]

Before the prevalence of serums in medical facilities, practices to use food to cure diseases were popular in underdeveloped African American communities. For example, believers ate roasted onions with brown sugar to cure bronchitis or placed fried onion poultices on their chest to treat chest colds.[34]

However, compared to food treatments, serums were more effective when treating pneumonia. Dr. Williams stated “...twenty-four hours is usually the margin of life and death in a case of pneumonia. If there is serum available for the type of pneumonia involved, the quicker it is used, the better the chance of recovery.”[35]


  1. Daisy White, interview by Lea Verner, Columbia, South Carolina, December 12, 1938. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/03709/id/1294/rec/1
  2. Ibid., 2.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., 3.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., 4.
  7. Ibid., 8.
  8. Ibid., 2.
  9. Ibid., 3.
  10. Ibid., 6.
  11. Ibid., 7.
  12. U.S., Social Security Death Index. “Corrie Wingard Issue Date: Before 1951,” Ancestry.com, accessed September 21, 2017, http://search.ancestryinstitution.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=corrie&gsfn_x=0&gsln=wingard&gsln_x=0&msypn__ftp=columbia%2c+south+carolina&catbucket=rstp&MSAV=0&uidh=yn9&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=68224273&recoff=10+11&dbid=3693&indiv=1&ml_rpos=4&hovR=1
  13. Amy Tikkanen, "United House of Prayer for All People," Britannica Online Encyclopedia, last modified January 18, 2017, https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-House-of-Prayer-for-All-People
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Douglas Frantz and Brett Pulley, "Harlem Church Is Outpost of Empire; House of Prayer Built Wide Holdings on Devotion to Sweet Daddy Grace," New York Times, December 17, 1995, accessed September 21, 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/17/nyregion/harlem-church-outpost-empire-house-prayer-built-wide-holdings-devotion-sweet.html?pagewanted=all.
  17. Marc Folco, “Sweet Daddy Grace still a legend in New Bedford,” SouthCoastToday, last modified April 27, 2014, accessed October 9, 2017. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20140427/ENTERTAIN/404270306
  18. Marie W. Dallam, introduction to Daddy Grace: A Celebrity Preacher and His House of Prayer. (New York: New York University Press, April 1, 2009 https://nyupress.org/books/9780814720370/
  19. Folco, “Sweet Daddy Grace still a legend in New Bedford.”
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. “Sweet Daddy Grace Legacy,” Soul of America, accessed October 9, 2017, https://www.soulofamerica.com/us-cities/charlotte/charlotte-sweet-daddy-grace/
  23. Ibid.
  24. Tikkanen, "United House of Prayer for All People."
  25. Arthur R., Harlingen, Texas. FSA (Farm Security Administration) camp. Nurse on home visit to child recovering from pneumonia, 1942 ( Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC 20540 USA)
  26. Dr. A. Wilberforce Williams, “Dr. A. Wilberforce Williams: Talks on Preventive Measures, First Aid Remedies, Hygienics and Sanitation SEASONABLE DISEASE Pneumonia,” The Chicago Defender, March 3, 1928, accessed October 18, 2017. http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/492184291?accountid=14244
  27. “Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors,” Lung.org, last modified October 8, 2016, http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/pneumonia/symptoms-causes-and-risk.html
  28. Scott H. Podolsky, “Pneumonia Before Antibiotics Therapeutic Evolution and Evaluation in Twentieth-Century America,” American Public Health Association, December 2010: doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.048397
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. “Fighting Baltimore Pneumonia,” The Baltimore Sun (February 20, 1938), accessed October 18, 2017, http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/543161736?accountid=14244
  32. Podolsky, “Pneumonia Before Antibiotics Therapeutic Evolution and Evaluation in Twentieth-Century America.”
  33. Ibid.
  34. John Frederick Doering, and Eileen Elita Doering, "Some Western Ontario Folk Beliefs and Practices," The Journal of American Folklore 51, no. 199 (1938): 60-68. doi:10.2307/535944.
  35. “Fighting Baltimore Pneumonia.”