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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Challenging traditional southern gender roles

Brewer expresses the unusual approach her father took to her education. Unlike other southern women of her time, she was actively encouraged to be independent.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
(Laughs) I know what you mean. So that forced you to become independent and to stand on your own up there.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
And then I was terribly, terribly lucky in the business world. Of course, I would like to think I would have done as well if it hadn't been in the bank owned by my father . . .
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
(Laughs)
VIVION LENON BREWER:
(laughs) . . . but of course I know that I had advantages because he was there. I started as his secretary, and I can never be grateful enough for all he taught me. And gradually he let me take over certain responsibilities. And then we didn't have a trust department, and he let me go away and study trust business in St. Louis, and I came back and organized a trust department. And I went to law school so that I would really know what I was doing.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Where did you go to law school?
VIVION LENON BREWER:
In Little Rock, at night. I went to night school (Arkansas Law School) while I was working and passed the bar, so that I felt . . .
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
That is just most unusual, that your father encouraged you, in that day and age, to develop all these abilities and skills.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
Yes. Well, this was one of the things that I look back on as very exciting to me in those days, that when I was first elected as a vice president of the bank, my picture was in the New York Times.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Oh, was it? (Laughs)
VIVION LENON BREWER:
(Laughs) So you can see how this was ahead of my time.