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Title: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986. Interview C-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Everett, Kathrine Robinson, interviewee
Interview conducted by Dean, Pamela
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 144 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-02-05, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986. Interview C-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0006)
Author: Pamela Dean
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986. Interview C-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0006)
Author: Kathrine Robinson Everett
Description: 156 Mb
Description: 44 p.
Note: Interview conducted on January 21, 1986, by Pamela Dean; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Ron Bedard.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986.
Interview C-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Everett, Kathrine Robinson, interviewee


Interview Participants

    KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT, interviewee
    PAMELA DEAN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PAMELA DEAN:
This is Pamela Dean. The date is 21 January 1986. I'm going to be talking to Kathrine R. Everett in her office in Durham. I'd like to start and go all the way, way back and ask you a couple of questions about both your mother and your aunt. You said that both of them had gone to school; let's see, your mother went to Mary Baldwin and Atlanta Female College.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
You know I think maybe the Mary Baldwin has some connection with Atlanta Female. I'm not sure that those certificates are not from Mary Baldwin.
PAMELA DEAN:
I see. Well, I was curious on why she went that far away to school. Do you have any idea?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I really don't know why she selected that school, except they were looking for good schools and I think Mary Baldwin even back then had a reputation for being a good school. There were not as many schools, of course, back then for women as you had maybe up North.
PAMELA DEAN:
Right. This is true. But, frequently women did go to just a seminary close at hand.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, they went to finishing schools more to take art and certain things. A good many went to St. Mary's. St. Mary's was an old school, well established. I told you I knew my great aunt was there at the end of the war . . .
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, you did.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
. . . so I know she was there before the end.
PAMELA DEAN:
And then she went on to Queen's College, is that right?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Now that's my great aunt. It's called Queen's now; it was not Queen's back then.

Page 2
PAMELA DEAN:
Did either your mother or your great aunt teach at all?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They didn't teach, no. My mother was very literary and artistic and did painting and took lessons in painting and we have a number of her pieces of work; we have some paintings—oil paintings. I had a charcoal drawing. She did paintings on china that are very lovely. She did homes of different writers and poets. And then flowers and birds and other things; she would do the whole set of each one, very much like some I've seen at the Smithsonian in Washington, very much. So it evidently was the style at that time.
PAMELA DEAN:
So in neither case were they going to school to . . . teach?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Not to teach.
PAMELA DEAN:
Not to be able to earn a living or anything, it was for the sake of education.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
For the sake of education. They did believe in education and no, neither of them taught ever.
PAMELA DEAN:
OK, just curious. I asked you last time about people who'd been an important influence on you and you mentioned your great aunt as being someone who had influenced you.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Aunt Georgie (Hicks) was lovely in both face and spirit and we loved each other dearly. She was brought up, of course, in the old school which believed in discipline much more than today. I notice quite a difference as I deal with young people. I have three grandsons and I meet their friends and see about the way discipline goes in that age and those three grandsons spread from nine to seventeen so I get enough examples

Page 3
to form some opinion. And I think that society has a difference in discipline. For instance, as a little child, one of the first things I recollect—we had a cook, we had a maid, we had a gardener, we had servants. But my sister and I were taught to do something. My parents believed that we ought to learn early that everybody had a certain obligation to the family. So I'd go out with my little basket and pick up chips of light-wood and splinters to start the fire the next morning. The fire would be made for us before we got out of bed. We had open fireplaces and it took a long time to warm the room at all, as you probably know if you lived in Maine. And later we replaced those fireplaces with stoves. But, nevertheless, you'd have a fire built just before you got up and it was very good to have something that made it burn quick, a hot fire. But I thought it was not necessary at all for me to have done it because we did have the other people who could do it, grown people who could have done it. But that was my job; that was my contribution to the family.
PAMELA DEAN:
And this was when you were just . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Very little, just as little, maybe four or five years old, maybe even three. But my parents believed in doing something for the family. And they believed in certain toughness, too. They constantly showed their love for us but they didn't believe in just cuddling you too much, coddling you, rather, too much. I remember that we had an open fire, we had the pitcher and washbowl, and it was awfully cold taking baths. But we—my sister and I—every morning were taught to bathe at least partially to toughen you so that you wouldn't catch cold

Page 4
when you'd go out. I don't think that it did much good, but in a way we learned we had to do certain things. And I don't think now, while everybody takes baths all the time, they're in a warm room, and plenty of hot water, and we didn't have a small pitcher. [laughter] I'm wondering if that is not partially the cause of some of the terrible things that are happening because people want to have something easy and want to have life easy and if that isn't leading to some of the bad things in the juvenile range—a lack of a sense of obligation.
PAMELA DEAN:
We certainly have different expectations. I think, now, than people used to. Did your aunt do any church work or civic sorts of things?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Did a great deal. Fayetteville was a town at that time of about 8,000 people and it was a historic town. La Fayette had visited there when he came back to America after the Revolution on his wonderful tour to meet the American people and they had a chance to thank him. In the center of the four streets was a market house on Main Street, Hay Street, Gillespie, and Green Streets, and they had this market house which blocked the streets, you had to go around it, you couldn't just go straight through. A lot of people—newcomers—came to Fayetteville and said the market house ought to be taken down because it was an obstruction to traffic but the older residents said no, this was very historic. It was called the Market House because it had meat shops inside. And originally, it was said that slaves had been sold there long before that. But there is some question as to that; that's disputed. But I think most of

Page 5
the older residents said that it got its name, the "Market House," not because of the marketing of slaves but because of the meat market. But anyway, they did say slaves were sold there, too. Well, with a heritage like that and La Fayette having been there when he was entertained in Fayetteville, the people wanted to maintain it and they needed money to do so. Having the meat markets in it had run it down and it looked dirty and run down inside, so the women in Fayetteville formed a civic club and my great aunt was president of it. So they raised money to fix up the market house and save it when the hue and cry came to pull it down. She was very active in both church and in civic work. I remember as a child, at that time I was about eight or nine years old, I would go around and sell tickets for the movies for the benefit of the Market House. We'd have a great time and many benefits for raising money for it. It is still there, by the way, and I think today nobody would think of taking it down but then it was a little different.
PAMELA DEAN:
So she really set a model for you.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I said that I was taught to take part, to do things, to try to help the community.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, I think you've lived up to her . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't know about that. [laughter] But at least I had the example.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, I guess so.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't remember my mother because I was just a year and a half old when she died, except what I've been told about her. But she was a very gracious, charming person and

Page 6
loved flowers and had beautiful flowers which still existed in my childhood. We had a green house and we had flowers, ferns and things, that were in there that would go through the winter, and beautiful hyacinths outdoors. Our yard had been landscaped so they had the English privet hedge borders, the little short hedge. She was noted for her flowers.
PAMELA DEAN:
And that's all kept up after she had died.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, they still talked about the flowers. My aunt loves flowers, too, and so do I.
PAMELA DEAN:
You also mentioned last time that you had started school. I think the first four or five years, first or five grades you went to a private school.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. My father and my aunt, too, were great believers in democracy. They thought that was the real gift of America and they also believed in a good foundation. So they sent my sister and me both to an excellent private school about two blocks from our home until we were ready to go into the fifth grade and that was quite an experience, too. It very much resembled the old fashioned one room schoolhouse.
PAMELA DEAN:
Was this the private school you are talking about?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, this was a private school. There were two main teachers, sisters, Miss Alice and Carrie Mallett. One of them later married the ambassador to Cuba or the minister—I don't know what you call the one who goes to Cuba, a minister or ambassador. But he was Major Hale. She and her sister at that time had not married and they had this school in this large one story home to which a long addition had been added. You'd go in

Page 7
a little entrance and there's one room there. Then you'd enter another room—great big room—and it had windows on two or three sides of the room and desks lined up by the windows. The center part was a stove and benches and you would go and recite in the center part so the others could listen if they wanted to and get what they said or they could study. There was also a smaller room for some of the older students. But something was always going on in the center part of the large, main classroom. It was quite an experience. They had spelling bees, too, with the different grades participating. One thing they stressed then, that I think was excellent—and I don't believe the schools are doing it today—was memorization of good literature, especially poetry. I find that those things that I memorized I still know and they are great source of comfort to me. Something comes up and you suddenly find out that you know poetry that answers exactly. I don't think they stress memory work today as much. The Malletts and their assistant, Miss Wetmore, were very good teachers and one of them was very strict. As I say, there was much more discipline then in school as well as at your home. I remember you'd get demerits if you disobeyed or if you made noise in the classroom because, of course, being in that room you had to behave or you couldn't learn at school.
PAMELA DEAN:
How many students were there, do you know?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I would say there were probably, I really don't know, it would be a guess, probably 50 to 75.
PAMELA DEAN:
Really! That large?

Page 8
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Grades went up. My sister was three years older than I and there were some there a little older than she. So they had a nursery, or rather pre-first grade for little children. It was a little better than nursery, a little bit higher. A kindergarten more apt which Miss Annie Wetmore taught. And then up until the teaching went beyond the fifth grade, but we transferred when we reached the fifth grade to go to the public school. As I said, my father especially wanted us to learn to get along with people generally. And so we did. We found out we had a very good foundation then and we enjoyed the public school. We had good teachers there, too. And of course the grades were larger, much larger, but nevertheless we liked it.
PAMELA DEAN:
About how large was the public school? You said there were about 8,000 people in the town. Was the high school separate from the other grades in the public school?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, they were there all in one large building. We had assembly the first thing in the morning, which wouldn't be allowed today because we had prayers, and then we'd have music and a program. If you were late you'd be marked down. They had assembly the first thing in the morning at 9:00 and the grades would all march into this big assembly room. So the school was not too big for an assembly and it was rather personal, too. It wasn't so big that you lacked the personal touch. I remember, I got my foot hurt and had to come in a city hack every morning, I couldn't walk. This hack would come for me when I went home to ride, and the superintendent would come to my grade and announce

Page 9
to me that "my chariot had arrived." [laughter] You can't imagine a superintendent coming and telling you that your "chariot had arrived" now, would you?
PAMELA DEAN:
No! [laughter] Do you recall how many classes, classrooms, how many teachers the school was divided up into?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't remember. In the high school, I remember studying French, having one teacher for French, and the teaching was good because when I went to college, I passed off two years of French that I had had. I think they had four years—no, two years of French in high school. Then I had Latin there. I had Math and had English; had spelling and geography. I think you had different teachers. I think we must have had . . . I'm trying to think of the ones I knew. I can remember three or four very distinctly. So there probably were others as well. We had a man who taught Math; two women—one to teach French and one to teach Latin . . . and one English. We must have had about five different teachers in the high school. We had one teacher for each grade below the high school and they were good, experienced teachers. I raced in getting good marks with a boy several years older in the class who worked hard, so I worked hard, too, and became valedictorian. I was privately taught elocution and went to a dancing school, too.
PAMELA DEAN:
This was when you were in high school?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. It was a very good high school. I find, however, that some of the subjects that I studied in college, like trigonometry, my grandson is studying it at Durham Academy. So I'd say we did not have twelve grades, we had ten grades. So

Page 10
we were not up to the standard today as far as how far you went but were up to the standard at the time for college acceptance and accreditation. We did get pretty good foundations. That's again a thing I'm wondering about if we today are having so many subjects that we are not getting the depth we would if we studied fewer subjects a little bit more. And even we didn't get to studying a subject in depth as much as the generation before me. My father had gone to the University of Virginia and gone to Bingham School in Mebane before he went to the University of Virginia. It was right after the war and they didn't have any money for books at Bingham. Colonel Bingham would go to the blackboard and write on the board the Latin, for instance, and they would copy it. They'd make their own Latin book. But as a result he learned Latin so thoroughly that when I came along in school, he could pick up Aeneid, Virgil, or Horace, or what, and read it like it was English. So sometime he'd read it to me and I'd go read it to the class the next day, he would be the "pony." [laughter] The fact that he could do that and we couldn't! I couldn't do it twenty years later. Well, I think most students are not studying Latin anyway now.
PAMELA DEAN:
I don't even know if they offer it; they still did when I was in high school, but I wonder if they still do at all. [laughter] I wanted to ask you a little bit more about your earlier childhood. Your leisure time activities outside the school, what was your favorite?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We loved to play outdoor games. We had croquet. We had a yard, a side yard with grass and we had croquet hoops

Page 11
and everything. We would play there til it got so dark at night that we couldn't see the hoops even. There was a streetlight—we were on a corner and there you could see. So I remember all of us straining, having somebody stand by a hoop to see if you could get the ball through. We also had magnolia trees in our yard. They had good strong branches, you could climb the magnolia. And we delighted in climbing the magnolia, getting up in the branches, and as people passed by on the sidewalk we'd call to them and they couldn't see anybody. We would like to see them looking around in vain trying to find us. Then we played baseball—town ball—a lot. Of course, we didn't have TV. We had to get our own pleasures. But we played a lot. Now in the summer, my aunt believed, also, that you should learn something in the summer as well as in winter. So an hour was set aside in the morning before we went out to play croquet or baseball or whatnot for reading. She would read to us. We'd gather in a room. If we had guests they'd come in, too, and we'd all sit down. And she would read us maybe from Dickens or from some classic, some well known writer. We'd discuss it as we read. Then we would have strawberry acid, which I don't reckon you ever heard of strawberry acid, but then we did not have Coca-cola and all the cold drinks. So in strawberry season you would buy fresh strawberries and crush them with sugar and make this delicious strawberry drink which is very much like the bought strawberry drinks of today except it was a little better because it was made fresh. And so we would have strawberry acid and some cookies and then the rest of the day we could play.

Page 12
PAMELA DEAN:
You mentioned that if you had company they would join you. Did you have a lot of houseguests?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We had a lot of houseguests and out-of-town relatives who often visited us for several days. What I meant there was just the neighborhood company. I had three friends that were about my age and two of them went to the same private school that I did and later to the same—two of them—to the same high school. They stayed over at my home a great deal because we did have the equipment, the croquet ground and the other things for play. Another thing we liked to do right much, and I haven't probably ever gotten over it because I still love plays, we would love to act. We had a grapevine in our backyard, we had a lot of trees and vines and everything. And we would act, that would be our setting, that would be our cover for the stage. I remember they had a carnival in Fayetteville and my father was mayor or some city officer and so he was given a lot of free tickets to all the shows. So he had enough to give them to all these friends and we saw "Lunette the Flying Lady" and everything. So we wondered how we could do Lunette the Flying Lady. We decided the best way would be to pull up by the grapevine, let somebody have a board and a curtain up part of the way from the ground so the audience couldn't see the board that was being heisted on which she stood and it looked like she was flying up. [laughter] We acted a lot and I still love the theater and love acting. When I was seven or eight years old my aunt and I spent a month in New York City visiting a cousin, and we saw John Drew acting

Page 13
in "The Mummy and the Humming Bird"—I have never forgotten the excitement I got at the play.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you make up your own plays?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Sometimes, or plays we'd read like, maybe, Cinderella or something. Then they had another thing that I think children all over the world do—play hide and seek; also forfeits. We had very much the same games that had been in England for centuries. We had Valentine parties and Easter egg hunts and later small dances. You know, these and different things. And I imagine you too have cleared off a little place in the ground and gotten some real pretty flowers or ferns and made you a pretty little showplace underneath the ground, with glass over it, and charge a penny to let people come look at it. [laughter] I'm afraid today [laughter] children would rather make fun of pennies.
PAMELA DEAN:
People don't even bend down to pick them up anymore. [laughter] It's terrible!
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
But ours were very simple children's games and we had a very good time, a very good time. Another thing we did in the summer, we would go down for a month to my grandparent's home in the country about a hundred miles away in Duplin County, to this little town of Faison. A lot of the people were kin to us there; we had a lot of relatives. They would have a round of parties, dinner parties. Every family would invite all the connections to dinner. You'd have about fifteen cousins to dinner day after day at the different homes. And we'd sit on the porch at night and talk. So that was a lot of fun, too. We did

Page 14
that and we enjoyed playing cards and other things there. And we'd drive with a horse and buggy to visit relatives in Faison and an uncle in Warsaw, about ten miles away. The summer that I finished my freshman year at college my aunt, my sister, and I spent three months touring Europe, getting back just in time to start my sophomore year at college.
PAMELA DEAN:
You mentioned also what an influence your father had been on you. I wondered if when you were young you ever went and watched him in court.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. I watched him some in court but not so much. He, of course, had practiced a long time there and everyone knew him and he was mayor of the town at one time, also attorney. He brought lawyers home frequently for dinner or for supper. We got to feel very much at home with lawyers. So I think that helped my interest in becoming a lawyer. I would walk down with him towards his office after dinner—we had 2:00 P.M. dinner; in the South, it would be kind of hot in the summer and we would have dinner then and then later have a late supper—and I'd often walk back with him towards the office after dinner and discuss what he was doing and everything. He was very companionable and a very good talker, very fluent talker and very interesting. He was not one who would just push himself to monopolize a conversation. He'd listen and you might think he knew nothing about the subject as long as somebody else chose to talk.
PAMELA DEAN:
But he never treated you as if you shouldn't be interested in the law or anything like that. He talked to you and told you about his cases.

Page 15
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, and sometimes we'd discuss his cases. And often, his clients would call him while we were at dinner. I remember one called, it looked like regularly every day at dinner time and he'd have to leave dinner to go answer. So we had law, we were not strangers to it.
PAMELA DEAN:
I'd like to go on now and talk a little bit more about your years at Greensboro.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Before we leave that let me tell you just one thing that may be a little different. On Sundays we almost had "religious dissipation." My ancestors, in fact my great-great-grandfather, Angus McDiarmid, had come over to America during the Revolution as a Presbyterian minister from Scotland. And he would preach each Sunday. He preached at three of the oldest Presbyterian churches in North Carolina, the original churches that he preached at. He would preach in English in the morning. He heard the Catechism, and then preached in English before lunch, and after lunch, would preach in Gaelic. The Scotsmen came in droves from everywhere to hear this Mr. McDiarmid preach in their native language. There were a lot of Scots in and around Fayetteville. We had some of the Presbyterian strict tradition about Sunday. We prepared for it. You were taught to feel like Sunday was a special day, and to get ready for it. You had your Saturday night bath. You put out your best clean clothes to wear the next day, they'd be ready. You had breakfast an hour later so you could sleep a little longer, and had a specially good breakfast. We always had waffles on Sunday, among other things, which we all liked. Then we'd go to Sunday school.

Page 16
Then we'd go to church. Then we would take a walk from church on home, which we all enjoyed. Have a very, very good dinner with very pretty china and special things and often have dinner guests. This was a special day. Then we would rest a little while and either go to a new mission Sunday school to take part, to help teach or to help them with their music, or we'd go on a long walk. Then go back at night to church. So it's so different from the way you do on Sundays today, though my family still goes to Sunday school and church. I just forgot, one thing about our Sundays when I was a child. We had a dog "Trix" and he got to be a strong Presbyterian, too. [laughter] He would go without his breakfast to get to church. As he got older, he would go early to church and get in our pew (we had the same pew the family had had for a hundred years, the family had that same pew). He knew where the pew was. He gradually got blind but he still would go without his breakfast so he could get away and we couldn't put him up to keep him at home. When my dog, Trix, heard the peel of the church bell he at once left for church and when we'd get to church he would be there underneath the pew. [laughter] Occasionally, he'd have a bad dream during the sermon and he would growl to our utter mortification but we couldn't help that. [laughter] We had a pew right near the front, about fourth from the front. Trix also enjoyed Sundays as much as we did. [laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
That's marvelous! Well, we were going to go on to Greensboro and to your time there. Why did you chose to go to Greensboro?

Page 17
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well my father was partly responsible. He was a great believer in democracy, as I told you.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
and he felt that that school was one of the best to really teach democracy. He admired Dr. McIver. Dr. McIver died just before my sister went there. But we liked Dr. Faust, Julian Faust, who succeeded him as president, very much. And, as I said, just like he had wanted us to go a public school, he wanted us to be at a democratic college and he thought the teaching was quite good there, too. It was: it turned out to have excellent teachers. My sister, Elizabeth, went there and proved an A-1 scholar—I had a difficult example to follow.
PAMELA DEAN:
I was curious since I think you said last time that you obviously didn't go into teaching as a career and that was the primary focus of Greensboro.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Well the college at that time was primarily for teachers. A great many people could get free tuition if they promised to teach two years. My sister and I did not promise to teach, though we did later teach. I taught two years, my sister taught, I believe, only one year, but sometimes substituted for sick teachers. We were trained to teach and I had some hard teacher training. We were given in our senior year teaching underprivileged children, I mean the ones who were defective, in some way, either physically or mentally. And you felt like you were a genius if you could get certain things through their head.

Page 18
It was difficult. But they really believed in putting you up against a hard job.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you got really good training.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
So we got some good training.
PAMELA DEAN:
When you started you thought you might go into teaching.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, you thought you might because at that time there were only two or three things that women did. One was, of course, teach. Then we had some nursing, and clerks, one woman doctor later but that's about it.
PAMELA DEAN:
How many years did you go to Greensboro?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Four years. I graduated, and had an A.B. I carried on my Latin, French, English and other things that go with an A.B. I did also have history under Dr. Jackson who later became president of the college, and he was a superb history teacher. I've been very fond of history and later during the two years I taught, I had history and business courses as things I taught.
PAMELA DEAN:
I remember, you taught in Fayetteville, is that right?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
No, I didn't teach in Fayetteville. I taught in Mt. Airy, N. C., the first year and in Salisbury, N. C. the second year, and there I got one of the highest salaries the school paid teachers, which was about, as I recall, $75 a month. So I really can't get too excited when the teachers tell me they are so underpaid when they are getting [laughter] very good salaries. But, of course, things were rather different in the market all the way through.

Page 19
PAMELA DEAN:
You said that after you graduated from Greensboro, you took business courses.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I stayed home and wanted to do something. They had a very good business course in the public school. So I took the business course in the public school that year and graduated in it. But I did it just backwards; I ought to have taken it before I went to college because it was so helpful being able to take notes in shorthand to keep up with the speaker.
PAMELA DEAN:
How come you did that? Why did you take that course that year instead of perhaps going out and teaching right away?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I didn't want to teach then; I wanted to stay at home a year and make up my mind really what I wanted to do. And I had energy to do something.
PAMELA DEAN:
And so you did that. Then after that you went to teach.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, for two years. After that the war came on. I went first in my father's law office there to see something about business and law. The war—World War I—came on. I went to Washington to do war work. From . . . no, wait a minute, I've skipped something. I stayed home one year. Then I taught those two years and then. . . .
PAMELA DEAN:
Let me backtrack a little bit; I got off the subject here. I did want to talk a little bit more about Greensboro. What I was interested in is your life outside of the classroom at Greensboro.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I didn't get you.

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PAMELA DEAN:
What I'm interested in is your life outside of the classroom at Greensboro: extracurricular activities, any social activies, that you were involved with.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Greensboro, of course, has changed tremendously. The UNC-G of today was then the State Normal and Industrial School. They were very strict. They did not have outsiders as they do today, people who are only day-school students. Everybody was a resident there. They believed that you needed to work and to serve others. They believed that you needed to study. So there were less social activities. They did not allow fraternities, sororities. They believed in having some religion; you had an assembly. You had to go to the assembly meeting everyday. You had a definite seat that you sat in and the monitors would go around and if that seat was vacant your name was turned in. You could not go downtown without permission. There was a little store right off the campus, on the corner of the campus. We could go there and buy crackers and cakes and pickles—pickles were a favorite. [laughter] On Saturday morning right after lunch you would line up and the lady principal, who was Miss Sue Kirkland, a very dignified lady who came from Hillsboro originally, would stand up and you would write a little note and take it up to her and say "Miss Kirkland, may I go downtown this afternoon?" And if you did it correctly, she would say yes, and you'd leave your note so that you could be found if you weren't back by 6:00. But you had no right to leave the campus for anything without permission. Of course, that is so different today. Furthermore, they were very careful about

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letting men visit. If you had a visitor, a boy, you went in the sitting room and the lady principal, Miss Kirkland, would be in there and all the people with their dates would be in there. She chaperoned the group. You were never left there by yourself with your date. Well, that's so different. [laughter] In fact, I had a cousin who used to tease me about how strict it was and said if any of the students got married that he would cut a knot on the door. [laughter] It was very different from today.
PAMELA DEAN:
You thought all that chaperoning and strictness was going to keep you from meeting anybody you could ever marry?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
While I was at college one of the years, I was in a very nice new dormitory. They had a new dormitory for seniors. One year my dormitory, Spencer Building, caught on fire and several of our rooms were hurt so bad that we couldn't use them. So they put six of us in one of the dormitory's large sitting rooms so I had the experience of living with five other girls in a living room which was quite interesting. The things that would happen! It was very pleasant though. We all got along real well.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you ever have tea or cocoa parties in your room, that sort of thing?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Sometime afternoon tea—and "box parties." It was a day when your family sent you boxes of food, and we'd have a lot of box parties. It was a time when lights in your room went off at ten o'clock weekdays and if you were having work to do, getting ready for exams, you would have to go to the bathroom where the lights stayed on. Just before the examination

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everybody would be in the bathroom studying, sitting down on the floor with books in front of them. [laughter] That, of course, is entirely different. It was a day also when the women washed their hair a lot on Sunday and anybody walking down the street would see all these heads with their hair hanging out the window.
PAMELA DEAN:
Drying it in the fresh air? [laughter] Were there special celebrations? I know a lot of schools had like May Day celebrations, with the Maypoles and so forth.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We had a beautiful May Day celebration. They had the May Day pole, and they did the dancing, and had quite a celebration. That was quite an occasion at the college. It was really quite pretty. Then on Founder's Day you'd always have a celebration. We had a lot of woods. They required you to walk or to play outdoor games each afternoon. You could play basketball or hockey or something. But you had to get out of your room for an hour, I believe it was, in the afternoon about 4:30. If you weren't on a team or didn't want to play a game, you walked around the park. Then there was a farm back of the woods and sometimes they would have turnips and the girls would go pick turnips to eat, they were always hungry. [laughter] For meals you were assigned a certain table, you had a definite seat. The seniors had a table and the seniors could ask whoever they wanted to be at their table. Of course, if you weren't invited you were assigned a table. My sister was a senior the year I was a freshman, so, of course, I was invited with upperclass women to sit there, which was very pleasant. Perhaps that was one of the few undemocratic things you had at the school.

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PAMELA DEAN:
Not entirely democratic! [laughter]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
That was a little bit, just a little bit of snobbery! They had, as I said, no sororities, but they had two secret societies. Everybody had to join one or the other. You didn't choose. They weighed people against people; they tried to keep the societies equal in ability and in desirability and other things. They couldn't tell who the officers were, everything was kept secret. While I felt like my sister had been a president of the Cornelian Society, I was an Adelphian, the opposite society. Of course, I never could tell because it was a dead secret, nobody was ever to divulge who were the officers. I was the representative of the Adelphian Society in the annual Thanksgiving debate two years. On Thanksgiving, they'd have a big dinner, and holiday, and then at night they would have a big debate between the two societies. The college students and many downtown people would all come and dress up; it was quite an occasion. Two years I was one of the two Adelphian representatives, two debaters. We took it very seriously. That was their big occasion. The societies had a lot of rivalry and you wanted to win for your group. I won one year and lost one year.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you remember what the subject of the debates were?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
One year it was on whether the governor of North Carolina should have the veto power.
PAMELA DEAN:
Aren't they still debating that? [laughter]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was trying to think what the other subject was. It was some governmental thing. I don't remember the exact

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wording. We had a lawyer downtown help train us; it was a very serious debate and you were very anxious to win. My sister came from Fayetteville to hear me, and my father sent me a palma violet corsage.
PAMELA DEAN:
That's very interesting.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We had pretty good food as a general thing, though everybody complained about it all the time. You had to eat in the dining room. The college had a big dining room, it was full. I think there were about, maybe 500 or more. When I graduated at Carolina in Chapel Hill there were about 600 students there, so it was very much that size, a little bit smaller.
PAMELA DEAN:
What sort of food? You'd have a whole three course meal, four course meal?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Did I have what?
PAMELA DEAN:
For dinners, you had a full three course meal?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Some of the girls got a job, which helped on a scholarship or something, to help serve the tables. These girls were the waitresses. But they put the food on the table just before you came in the room, and anybody from the table, if you wanted anything more, went back to the kitchen for it. So it was more self-service, but plenty of food.
PAMELA DEAN:
Let's go on for a minute about your two teaching jobs that you had. How large were those schools at Mt. Airy and Salisbury?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
The teaching jobs? At Mt. Airy, which was my first one, it was very interesting, up in the mountains and I'd come from eastern Carolina where it didn't get much cold. To go

Page 25
up there and find out that sometimes the water would freeze in your pitcher, and you'd have to break ice before you could bathe at all!
PAMELA DEAN:
And you thought the water was cold when you were a child! [laughter]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I'd gotten a little bit used to it but not like that. [laughter] I'm afraid the ice added not to cleanliness; it didn't help too much toward cleanliness. But it was a very delightful place because of the people in the town. What did you ask me?
PAMELA DEAN:
I was wondering how large the school was.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I think we'd have about 25 to 30 in a class. I put in the business course in Mt. Airy. I taught history also. I taught the same history course to different sections. I had English history and I remember more exactly about that in Salisbury where I had similar courses. There were three sections of English history and by the time I taught English history to three sections—eighth grade English history—I felt like I could stand on my head and tell it. It was surprising how when I went to England last summer to the American Bar Association meeting there I found I had forgotten some of the English history. [laughter] I thought I'd never forget it! Mr. Turlington was the superintendent at Mt. Airy and his son was a Rhodes Scholar, and he had a very good reputation as superintendent, and they had an excellent superintendent in Salisbury, too—Mr. Allen.

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PAMELA DEAN:
So both of those were fairly good-sized schools. You weren't teaching in a small school.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They were pretty large high schools. No, it wasn't country; they were both towns. You just didn't have as many grades, of course, like you do today.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had gone to school; taken a year off to decide what you wanted to do; taught for a couple of years and decided that really wasn't what you wanted to do.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, though I believe I was a pretty good teacher and I was offered a continuance of my job. I enjoyed my pupils.
PAMELA DEAN:
How would you describe yourself at that phase of your life? You went on to choose a way of life quite different than most women your age.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
My sister and I were fortunate. My father was a successful lawyer and we did not have to make a living [Interruption]
PAMELA DEAN:
I was asking you to think back when you had finished your two years of teaching and were thinking of what to do next. Why did you take such an unusual route in your life. You up until that point had been fairly typical, I think of women.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
You mean as for law?
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well you see, it wasn't so strange to me. I'd grown up with the law. I liked people and I liked problems, and I liked helping people solve their problems.
PAMELA DEAN:
But as you said, most women could either teach, or nursing, or . . . .

Page 27
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well I think maybe the war helped me decide. Because in Washington, I was in Washington a year and a half during the war and there til the close,—I met women from all over the world, very attractive people. There were a lot of women in England who were beginning to go do new things. We saw the first women smoking, for instance. We'd never seen women smoking before. We'd go to a certain Hotel because the English women were there and they'd all be smoking. I, several years later, was president of the N. C. Business and Professional Women's Clubs and Fayetteville local president, that wasn't started until 1919, though. But you saw women doing various things in Washington. My college also nurtured independent thought. I think it was the war, too, seeing that women could go out and could do things just as well as men. I think again my father's philosophy helped me some. He thought women had plenty of sense; if they used it, they could do what they wanted to. He believed women could get there if they wanted to.
PAMELA DEAN:
He sounded like even when you were young he took you seriously.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I beg your pardon.
PAMELA DEAN:
It sounds to me from what you were saying that even when you were young your father took you seriously.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I think he did. He really believed in you doing things which helped, and my aunt and the others. I had a sister who was very loving; she was like a second mother. She was three years older but she was a musician. She graduated in music and played organ and various things. She didn't want to do these

Page 28
other things and by choice was more a "home-body." But she believed that I could do it alright. I did have family support, which helps very much.
PAMELA DEAN:
You went to Columbia, originally. You took some law courses at Columbia.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I went to Columbia University to take courses in law and in English. They had a professor there, Mr. Abbott, a very noted English lawyer, who was excellent. He made me realize again that it was a very challenging, exciting profession, that it had a lot of things that made it interesting.
PAMELA DEAN:
Why did you go to Columbia?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Because lots of southerners went there, that was where they would go up North to college in the summer. They liked New York. [laughter] I don't know whether it was New York plays plus Columbia courses, that attracted them.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you know other people who were going there?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. The first time two friends and I took a little apartment at Morningside. Then the next time I went there I stayed in one of the dormitories. They were taking other subjects but I did know people from North Carolina who were going.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had roommates?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They were at Columbia. As I said I took some courses in English, too. I found out that they were very much interested in southerners and blacks. They asked me would I debate with this Black man who was in the class about southerners' attitude about Blacks. But I wouldn't do that.

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PAMELA DEAN:
Oh! [laughter]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I wasn't going to do that. But I found Columbia was used to women and Blacks, both.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you find that unusual? I mean, you'd gone to a women's school.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, it was different.
PAMELA DEAN:
It was different from the way things were at home at the time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Columbia's attitude was not entirely southern. I deeply love the South but I think I thoroughly enjoyed Columbia. Among other courses I took a sightseeing course. You registered and you went somewhere maybe every other day or something. You'd go to the Ritz-Carlton one time; then you'd go slumming the next day. So you saw the different sides of a big city which was quite interesting, too.
PAMELA DEAN:
Why didn't you continue going to Columbia? Why did you end up at North Carolina?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well I wanted to go to a university in the South, I think. I wanted to go to the University of Virginia because my father had been there. And I believe I told you they said they still would not take women—"ungracious enough not to take women" were the words they used. Then I asked Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina couldn't have been nicer. They really changed some of the courses around a little bit so I could get my courses that I needed to graduate. I was very fortunate that it turned out that way because I know people in my state. My father had said that that was one thing he missed in going to

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the University of Virginia—most of his friends were in Virginia rather than in North Carolina. So it turned out decidedly for the best.
PAMELA DEAN:
How would you compare the quality of the classes at Columbia with those of North Carolina?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh, Columbia was so much bigger, much bigger. It was kind of like Harvard; they had huge classes.
PAMELA DEAN:
How about the faculty?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
The faculty was excellent at both places. I had a course in property and I had a course in wills, this was in Columbia. At Columbia the teacher of the wills course was a lawyer in New York himself who gave you a very practical training in it; it was very good. But at Chapel Hill, I had excellent teachers, too. Mr. McGee was dean of the law school. I can still see Mr. McGee; he wore glasses and he'd take off his glasses and he would give you law references, twirling his glasses around all the time he was talking, and would quote reference after reference giving you the book number and page, which is quite a feat because there are so many references that you have to give. We had excellent teachers at Chapel Hill. I think they still do. I think maybe we had an advantage that they don't have today because the class was so much smaller. There were in the class at that time a number of boys who had been in service in the war. The war had ended and the boys were there to finish their education. They were nice; they were nature enough to appreciate the opportunity then and the small class gave us individual attention.

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PAMELA DEAN:
You mentioned last time that you had gone with your father to President Wilson's inauguration and you'd seen the suffragists speaking . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, when Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated.
PAMELA DEAN:
. . . and that you were quite impressed with them. After the woman suffrage amendment was passed you were involved in getting women to register to vote. Had you worked for passage of the suffrage amendment? Were you involved in that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh, yes, some. I wasn't a militant suffragette; if you mean that. I was not. I was for woman's suffrage and did work for it and believed in it. I still think that we'll get some of the things we haven't yet gotten. We've come a long ways.
PAMELA DEAN:
As they say. [laughter] Sort of along the same lines, you told me last that you did believe in the ERA amendment. Were you at all active in supporting the efforts to pass that in the '70s?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I was. As I say, I wasn't a militant, if you mean that. I told you I believe that I still have on my car the amendment sticker—"ERA—Yes!" and I think probably it is the only ERA sticker still on the back of any car in Durham! Yes, I've been for it from the beginning because I feel it is right and there is no real point against it. I didn't agree with Senator Ervin on that. I think he was mighty smart but I think he was wrong on that.

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[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
PAMELA DEAN:
Tell me a little about your training for suffrage.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
You ask a little bit about my training for suffrage. I had gotten very good training in woman's suffrage at the college, the woman's college. We had had debates and we had had mock conventions. I remember, several of us represented one of the candidates. It happened that I drew Debs, so my part was to try and argue for Debs, who I didn't believe in nevertheless.
PAMELA DEAN:
This was Eugene Debs?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
So the woman's college was excellent training for women in politics. Gladys Tillett was in the class just after mine. She was a sophomore when I was a freshman. Gladys was quite active in North Carolina and, you remember, was given a national position because of her work for the Democratic party. There were a number of women, I think all of us tried to work out. I do feel this—probably which may not be entirely in line with what many women say—I don't believe that a woman ought to be given a job just because she is a woman. I feel unless she is qualified she doesn't help the cause a bit in taking a position that she isn't qualified to hold. This means in a choice between an able man and a woman who is just trying to get the job because she is a woman. I don't think she ought to be given the job because I think there are plenty of capable women that could do it. But I do feel like there is no reason either in law or in common sense in disqualifying a capable woman. That she should have an equal chance. That is my position. I worked for them.

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PAMELA DEAN:
For the suffrage?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
For woman suffrage and for the capable woman being chosen.
PAMELA DEAN:
Before we ran out on the other tape, we were talking about ERA. You mentioned you disagreed with Senator Ervin on his position.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, don't you? [laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
I'm afraid I do.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I read just a few nights ago an article by Senator Ervin—one of the last he wrote—about the first amendment and he gives of wonderful historical background for it. I still don't agree quite with some of his statements in the article.
PAMELA DEAN:
ERA came up three times in North Carolina and was apparently narrowly defeated each time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
It came so close, so close it is tantalizing, isn't it? And you felt like it was going to make it. I still think it is coming. I think it is inevitable and I think that there is no reason for it not to come. And really I feel that some of the antics that the women have done have not helped it. Maybe they have given people some excuse for not being for it.
PAMELA DEAN:
For instance?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
For instance, well you know some of the antics that they have done. They have really gone out to try and attract attention. Well, I think you could get attention in more ways than some of the ways that have been used.

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PAMELA DEAN:
You are an experienced politician. Do you have any suggestions about what could have been done differently in those campaigns that you think might have made a difference?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, hindsight is almost better so I don't think I should. I think that probably the party realizes that maybe we made mistakes while pushing it. But I still am very confident that it is going to come.
PAMELA DEAN:
Why didn't it pass?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I think the women have got to work for it. I really feel like that we maybe have not been quite as diligent as we might in general because so many people feel that they are going to make their husbands mad or lose some privilege that they are not pushing it. I believe that the husbands are going to realize, too, that it is a good thing when they get it. Hopefully. We have made some progress. When we think about a woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who is doing a good job, and women running for vice-president of the United States. I think it is not going to be too long.
PAMELA DEAN:
I think you are right.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
And women are proving excellent teachers, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and doing wonderful research. I think they are making a good record, for the most part.
PAMELA DEAN:
I think you really could be said to have been a pioneer for women taking on new responsibilities. You were one of the first women lawyers in the state and you were the first woman on the Durham City Council. Did you consider yourself a pioneer? Did you see yourself in that light?

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KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
While I filed first, Mary Duke Semans and I were elected at the same time. As to my being a pioneer—I don't know. I don't stop to consider that. You just do what comes and what you believe in. You don't stop and think whether you are a pioneer. I realized later that perhaps people maybe would suggest things for me to do with the idea of pioneering. I remember Chief Justice Walter Clark was a great believer in women and women doing things. I knew his daughter and visited their home some and we travelled together. I know he wanted me to qualify and be the first notary public. He said get ready to; but I wasn't especially interested in being a notary public so I didn't do it. These other things have come about because they were maybe in the line of what I was doing. I have had several firsts but they were just because I happened to be there at the right time. Of course, my work needed it. Going in practice with my father, I had cases ready. Generally, you have to build up to the supreme court, something like that. Mr. Everett, my husband, my son, and I were all admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States at the same time. That was the first time they had had a father, a mother, and a son. Now, I noticed they are having a good many husbands and wives and there seems to be an increasing number of husbands and wives who are practicing together or who are practicing, sometimes they are in different firms but they are practicing. That seems to be growing quite a bit. I don't think the three lawyers in the same family is growing quite as much, when they are husband, wife and

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son. I've practiced with my father, my husband and my son—three generations.
PAMELA DEAN:
No, I think you may keep that record.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We may have a fourth. My oldest grandson is going to college next year, and he may take up law. We are leaving it to him what he'll do. So if he does, he'll be the fourth lawyer in one family. Then, way back there, I found out in my history that in my ancestors, one of my great-great-grandmothers read law with her husband, who read law. But she did it just for her own pleasure and to help herself.
PAMELA DEAN:
You really do have a heritage. [laughter] I wanted to touch very briefly—I would love if we ever could both have the time to do this—to talk to you more about your political career with the city council here in Durham. But I'd like to touch very briefly on it. When you first ran, you had the support of various black community organizations and, I believe, organized labor, and women's groups. Particularly with the blacks, who did not have a black representative on the council at this time, I understand.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
There were no blacks at that time on the council.
PAMELA DEAN:
What was it in your background, your previous activities, that you think made you a good representative? Made them choose you as a person to support?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I'm not sure. It may be because they liked my husband who had been a representative in the North Carolina Legislature for ten years. It may be that they felt I was fair. One of them later, Ben Ruffin, who has been right active in City

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affairs and among the blacks, in talking about this, said there were only two blacks on the committee at such and such a time and a man to whom he was talking said, "Well Ben," the man said, "there wasn't but one." And he said "Oh, yes, I forgot. Miss Everett was on it. We always talked like she was one of us." [laughter] So I think they thought I'd be fair.
PAMELA DEAN:
You had been head of the County Welfare Board . . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes—on the Welfare Board for around twelve years and chairman for two years when the former chairman died. Ben used to cover meetings all the time. He was a very forceful advocate of rights for the blacks.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had worked with some before.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I had worked with several of them. And I think my son is noted for his fairness to the blacks, too. So I think both white and black feel like we're fair.
PAMELA DEAN:
That first campaign, particularly, was very hotly contested, very close.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, it was very close. My husband was very anxious for Mary Semans to be elected, too. At that time there was a little feeling about the Dukes because some people felt they hadn't gotten as much salaries as they wanted. As you know, you always have a little bit of feeling about whether a rich person ought to have done a little more. Well, anyway, he determined that if there were anything he could do for Mary, he would do it. He worked for her so hard I told him, "I think you are going to get me beaten." [laughter] But, I came in, I ran against my next door neighbor, who I didn't feel was representing

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women very well, or some employees of the city. I thought he was rather biased. He had been on the council for twenty-odd years and was vice-chairman at the time. So I had a hard person to beat. When the election came around, I thought I had been beaten, probably. I won by 68 votes, which is much too close for comfort. So I didn't know whether he would appeal the entire election or not and thinking that maybe there might be some error because at those times you did not have the electric counting machines like you do today. It was very easy to make mistakes at four o'clock in the morning when you are counting ballots. But he didn't ask for the election to be thrown out.
PAMELA DEAN:
But he did ask for a recount.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't think he pushed it though he said he was going to challenge certain precincts. No, he did not. I thought maybe he'd asked for a recount for the whole thing. Well, he didn't.
PAMELA DEAN:
I was going through some newspapers and they mentioned that it was one of the "bitterest campaigns that Durham had seen for quite a while." Do you recall it being bitter?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, I'll tell you it wasn't pleasant. A lot of people did not want women on the council. And even after we got elected, at our first meeting, I remember one of the councilmembers who liked the man that I defeated very much, made a speech. He showed that he didn't really want either Mary or me. He had false teeth and he got kind of mixed up as he was talking, so he reached in his mouth and he took his teeth out and put them in his pocket and went on with his speech. So I

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wondered what we had gotten into. [laughter] I never will forget this occurrence, though his own wife had run and been defeated for a County Commissioner, I believe. Some of the Council members at first showed they were not too happy to have women on the council.
PAMELA DEAN:
Oh, really. Well, that's interesting. Did anybody ever say to your face that they didn't think that you ought to be running; that it wasn't the proper thing for a woman to be doing?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh, yes, they didn't mind telling you that they thought women ought to be home.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did you say to that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
You wouldn't say much of anything. You'd just smile and [laughter] go on. Most of them later changed their mind.
I believe the second time Mary didn't run the next time. She married, she was a widow at that time when she was elected. In the meantime, before the four years was out, she'd married Dr. Semans. I don't believe I had opposition that time. I was the vice-chairman of the Air Defense Filter Center and the government sent me out to Las Vegas to see the detonation of a bomb and I got back just before the election, I got back about a day or two before the elections. It had given me very little time to politic. I don't believe I had opposition. But after that I did have. I had a young man to run against me and I had somebody else, so only one time did I get a free ride.
PAMELA DEAN:
But you were reelected repeatedly. You served for twenty years.

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KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, I was there for twenty years—elected five terms. One of the black leaders came to my son and told him that the blacks were for me for another term but my husband wasn't well and I decided not to run stated I could not run again. As a matter of fact my husband died the very day of the election.
PAMELA DEAN:
Durham didn't have as much of the racial violence during the '60s as many southern towns did. There was in '67 and '68 a certain amount and I believe there were some complaints registered that the city council really wasn't doing what it ought to have been for blacks at that time. Do you think that the city council could have done more for blacks in the '60s?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I think Durham has been much more favorable to blacks than a lot of the southern towns because we have such good blacks here and capable blacks and a college that has been predominantly black. So we've had an unusual situation. Further, we've had a large percentage of the population that has been black. I think at that time there was about 35 percent to 39 percent; it is probably higher in town now.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you think the city council could have responded differently than it did at the time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Probably not at that time. I think Durham has been about as forward looking as most any southern town. I think they really like the blacks. You know it is harder to talk about Durham's attitude to women in the public. I think that blacks have moved farther in some ways in Durham than the women. Don't you think so? I've been impressed. The blacks have combined to promote the blacks primarily, first. That would be their first

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love, and then they'd work for general good. But they would vote as a unit. If they endorsed somebody black, they would vote for them—often only for the black. Women wouldn't always do that for a woman.
PAMELA DEAN:
Women haven't had the same kind of unity.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't think women have stood together as much. Do you think that? I really do feel that.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes, I can see what you mean, definitely. I asked you last time, and you said you'd have to think about it, I haven't given you much warning to let you do so this time.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Don't ask me any hard questions!
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I asked what you thought was your biggest achievement during your years on the city council. Have you got any?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I'm afraid I still would not want to say one thing was my biggest achievement. I hadn't thought of it. It is kind of hard to know in twenty years what. We did start a few things that we thought were good; we did several things we felt were very good and helpful to Durham. I'm afraid I could not answer that—what would be the chief achievement I thought I did. One thing we did that we felt was good—and it's been undone—is to combine the police and the fire department. We felt like it had great possibilities for efficiency and much more economical. But, of course, the council last year voted to separate them again. So, we'll have to wait and see whether that was an accomplishment or not. It was one of the things that was quite a change. Durham may want to go back to that system. I think we

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also got people to realize that it was not anything unusual to have a woman in a public job. It wasn't any great achievement; it was just something that she could do just like a man.
PAMELA DEAN:
You were on a number of committees?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was on a number of committees and I took a keen interest in its problems. We frequently were in session until after midnight. We really worked at the job hard. We found it interesting. I learned more about Durham than I had in all the time I'd been here. You'll have to run for something over in Chapel Hill! [laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I don't know. Can a Yankee run for office down here?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh, yes, we'll accept them.
PAMELA DEAN:
You mean a Yankee and a woman! That would be asking for it.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I told you, I believe, I went to a Business and Professional Women's Convention in Portland, Maine. I was so surprised to find that the Maine delegates and the North Carolina delegates voted together more often than not. I thought we would be absolutely against each other on everything.
PAMELA DEAN:
I find very definitely some similarities between the two states.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
We believe in certain rights.
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I think that covers all that we can reasonably cover in one session. I think I've kept you quite awhile today and I really appreciate it.

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KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Well, I've enjoyed seeing you. I've wanted you to come over to my apartment. I really was hoping you could get over to my apartment today, but you'll just have to come some Sunday.
END OF INTERVIEW
[audio missing]
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
While it is impossible for me to point to just one thing as the most important, there were several very important things the Council did which I feel benefited Durham greatly. Besides combining the police and the fire departments thus more efficiently protecting the public by better use of the time and effort of its employees without increase in taxes, the Council extended water and sewer lines where they had long been sought, paved many dirt streets, provided better recreational opportunities for teenagers and young people in general who had been seeking recreation in surrounding towns, and had a special Council Committee formed to assist with this, built the first City garage downtown and kept an open ear to countless delegations who sought City help. From 1951-1971,—the period I was on the Council—was a period of unrest among many young people both in colleges and elsewhere, and we tried to meet problems they brought to the Council and solve them peacefully.
The first black member of the Council as well as the first women served, and demonstrated it was helpful to the City in the administration of government for both minority groups to be

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represented, and since then an increasing number of women and of blacks have been elected members of the Council. I believe further women generally in Durham began to take more interest in their City Government and to be willing to participate in its affairs. I think it was generally felt that we had a good Council. Various people still tell me I should be back on the Council.