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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Salley's growing involvement in the movement

Salley describes Anna Howard Shaw's visit to Aiken. During their time together, she learned that Shaw was always nervous before speaking which led Salley to reflect on her first experience speaking in public.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. 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

Then later Dr. Shaw came to Aiken, she stayed with me for a while. She was a wonderful little woman. She was the most brilliant speaker I ever heard.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Tell me about Dr. Shaw.
EULALIE SALLEY:
She was the first woman who was ordained in the Methodist church. Did you know that?
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I believe I read that. I had forgotten what denomination.
EULALIE SALLEY:
Methodist. She was a Methodist preacher and she was a brilliant speaker. I remember I called this big meeting at what we called the Opera House--which is now city hall. Before we went out on the stage she took my hand and her hand was trembling and cold as ice. She said, "My dear, aren't you frightened?" "Why," I said, "No!" She said, "I am. I'm always terrified before I speak but afterwards it all passes." And it did.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But you were not terrified.
EULALIE SALLEY:
I said, "Well, it's a funny thing. I must be a fool. I'll never make a speaker because I've never been terrified." She said, "How did you make your first speech?" I said, I went to a big church meeting away out in the country and a whole lot of country people were there. We had a long petition. We wanted to have it signed to send to the legislature. That was about 1912, I think. We couldn't get anybody to sign it. I thought if we'd get to this camp meeting and get all these sensational people together maybe we could get some signatures on it. We got out there; this friend of mine Bessie Duncan went with me. We got up there and the Baptist minister said we'd have to come up on the platform and speak up there. Bessie said, "I can't do it. I can't get up in a Baptist pulpit and speak." I said, "Oh, go on, Bessie. We came here for this and you are a club woman." She'd been head of a woman's club. I'd never spoken in public in my life. She said, "I'm not going to do it. I just can't do it." I said, "All right, I'll make a stab at it." The Baptist preacher came out and introduced me and I went out and I spoke to that congregation for twenty minutes. I never batted an eye. [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CONSTANCE MYERS:
So all these people at the Baptist meeting, or many of them, did sign for you?
EULALIE SALLEY:
They signed. They didn't know what they were signing but they signed. I took it to the legislature. This is record and we had a friend, Sen. Niels Christensen.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Of Beaufort? [pronounced "Bewfort"]
EULALIE SALLEY:
I wish I could remember the year but my diary will show it. Niels Christensen, senator from Beaufort for many years, introduced the bill in the senate. It got one vote and it was his. He introduced it several years afterwards and that was the only vote it got.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What about Pollock?
EULALIE SALLEY:
He was federal, in Congress. Niels was a state senator and he became a very great friend of mine and helped me very much in Beaufort. I started a real estate development,for him down in Beaufort. He opened a place called Pigeon Point. Anyway, it went on from there.