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Oral History Interview with Naomi Elizabeth Morris, November 11 and 16, 1982, and March 29, 1983. Interview B-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Naomi Elizabeth Morris was born in 1921 in Wilson, North Carolina. Having grown up with a strong mother as a role model and with family expectations to excel in school, Morris attended Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College) from 1939 to 1943, earning her degree in English. The summer after her graduation from college, Morris lived in Washington, D.C., with several of her sorority sisters. There they worked for the war effort with the Signal Corps, coding and decoding messages. The death of her father brought Morris back to Wilson that same year. After moving in with her mother, Morris began to work as a legal secretary for William Lucas at the Lucas & Rand law firm. She excelled at her tasks there, and in 1952, Lucas recommended her for the School of Law at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Morris describes what it was like to be one of the only women attending law school at UNC during the mid-1950s. Following her graduation in 1955, Morris returned to Wilson to work for the Lucas & Rand law firm, where she quickly became a partner by 1957. In the 1960s, Morris became increasingly involved in politics, campaigning for Governor Dan Moore. In 1967, Moore nominated Morris to become one of the founding members of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Morris describes in detail what it was like to serve on the Court of Appeals from the late 1960s into the early 1980s, and she offers her thoughts on the role of law and the judiciary in politics.
    Excerpts
  • Description of mother as a strong, moral influence
  • Life in a southern community during the Great Depression
  • Women working for the war effort in Washington, D.C.
  • Southern woman decides to go to law school with the encouragement of her mentor
  • Southern woman describes going to law school
  • Southern lawyer helps establish African American nursing home
  • Relationship between religion and the role of a judge
  • Southern woman appointed as one of the first judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals
  • Establishing procedures and protocol for the North Carolina Court of Appeals
  • Argument for the separation of personal and judicial philosophy
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Resources for Educators
  • Southern Women Trailblazers Learning Object
  • Subjects
  • Women judges--North Carolina
  • North Carolina Supreme Court
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.