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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Mother's role in the family and her work for social justice

MacLachlan discusses her mother's role as disciplinarian while she was growing up and briefly mentions her later work the the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. MacLachlan discusses her mother's activities and influence over her life in great detail throughout the interview. Her comments here help establish the tone of the focus on her mother and the emphasis on strong roles for women.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know how many children there were in the family?
EMILY S. MACHLACHLAN:
Well, there were five sisters and one brother. The brother turned out to be sort of the black sheep because he wouldn't go to college. He ran off up to Akron, Ohio and started working for the rubber industry. He raised a large family up there. But the girls did go to college. They were talented, they sang, they read, they were literary. My mother then reared a large family of children, she had seven children. Two of the boys died, one in infancy, one at age ten and so there was a gap in the family. She had the two oldest of them and then the gap where the two little boys died and then there were three younger ones. I was the next eldest. I was the eldest daughter, my sister is seven years younger. So, my mother was very strict with us. She was a strict disciplinarian. She ran a very disciplined household. She did have servants to help her. She always had black people in the household. There was a yardman, there was a cook, there was a nursemaid and she took quite a personal interest in their lives. She used to have a class of Negro girls to come to the house to learn sewing. And she taught them sewing and I imagine that she probably taught some principles of her religion to them in the meantime. Her religion was a sort of activism, doing more than … a religion of doing. She was very active in community affairs. So, when Jessie Daniel Ames came down there from Texas who Will Alexander appointed to head up the Southern Society for the Prevention of Lynchings … what was it … the Association …
JACQUELYN HALL:
The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching.
EMILY S. MACHLACHLAN:
… Mrs. Ames was looking for a lady from Mississippi to have the Mississippi area. And she persuaded my mother to take this on in addition to her other duties there at home and abroad.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had your mother been involved in the suffrage movement at all, or sympathetic to it?
EMILY S. MACHLACHLAN:
No, I can't recall that she was, but she firmly believed in women voting and she never hesitated to let it be known that she voted opposite from my father.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is that right?
EMILY S. MACHLACHLAN:
Oh, yes. It was a joke in the family that she …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did their politics differ?
EMILY S. MACHLACHLAN:
Somewhat. She was much more liberated. She would tend to vote for the liberal candidate and my father would never tell who he voted for, but since there was a kind of joke about it, we just assumed that she had sort of killed his vote.