Interview with Barbara Clowers, September 12, 2019, Catholic Pastoral Center, Savannah, GA



Interview with Barbara Clowers, September 12, 2019, Catholic Pastoral Center, Savannah, GA


Barbara Clowers shares her experiences as a teacher at St. Peter Claver School. She also witnessed the racial integration of the parishes in Macon, and served as the Chair of the SPC Evangelist Mission which had a great impact on the community and children.

Barbara Clowers (née Brooks), 88, was born in Macon, GA in 1931 to Julia Bell Brown of Albany, GA, and Harold Sheffield Brooks of Macon, GA. Her mother worked as a teacher and her father was an agent with Atlanta Life Insurance in Macon, as well as a musician. Sadly, Julia died in childbirth with her youngest child, Essie. Barbara was only five years old. Following the death of her mother, Barbara and two of her siblings, Marilyn and Harold Jr., were raised with their grandmother. The baby, Essie, was sent to live with the niece of her grandmother in Philadelphia, where she met Mother Katharine Drexel (canonized a saint in 2000) and served her whenever Mother Katharine visited the school Essie attended.

Barbara worked as a teacher for 5 years in Bibb County Schools and was a social worker for 20 years in Bibb County, DFACS. In 1956, Barbara married Frank Clowers, a mechanical engineer. Frank received his degree from West Virginia State College (now a University). He worked for Robins Air Force Base and Travis Air Force Base in graphics and design. He also taught at Macon Technical College. After 53 years of marriage, Frank died in 2009. They had two children, Michael who also died in 2018 and Francine lives in South Carolina.

Barbara and Frank were not born Catholic. They converted later in life. Frank’s sister was Catholic. After Marilyn (Barbara’s sister) married, she and her husband became Catholic, and shortly after that Frank and Barbara became Catholic as well and fully immersed themselves in the St. Peter Claver community. Barbara served as the first Director of Evangelization and organized the Vacation Bible School summer programs. She also volunteered with St. Peter Claver’s food pantry.

Bettye Middlebrooks is a longtime member of St. Peter Claver Parish in Macon, GA and a member of the Black Catholic History Advisory Board to the Archives.

Katy Lockard is the Director of Archives & Records Management for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah.


September 19, 2019


Archives & Records Management Department, Catholic Diocese of Savannah, Copyright 2019.

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19 minutes, 27 seconds


Bettye Middlebrooks and Kathryn Lockard


Barbara Clowers


St. Peter Claver Parish


Office of Archives and Records, Catholic Diocese of Savannah, “Interview with Barbara Clowers, September 12, 2019, Catholic Pastoral Center, Savannah, GA,” Diocese of Savannah's Black Catholic History, accessed July 23, 2024,