Viola Addington Lenoir (1894–1988)
Cook and Church Keeper
“All of my people are dead and buried here and I was afraid I might die and nobody would put a stone to my grave.”
Viola Lenoir loved St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church all her life, beginning as a child when it was a school and became a mission church. Her mother’s mother was “almost half-Indian” and her father’s mother “a thoroughbred African, brought here and sold.” Years of living and working in the home of a local white family gave her an intimate understanding of race. In 1980 she welcomed white members to St. Cyprian’s, and took her key and, walking across the road, opened “one of the most lovable churches in this county” to all worshipers.