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Oral history interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974

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Creator:MacLachlan, Emily S. (Emily Stevens), 1908-
Creator:Hall, Jacquelyn Dowd
Creator:Brinton, Hugh P. (Hugh Penn), 1901-
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974
Date:1974 July 16

Emily MacLachlan grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1910s and 1920s. She begins the interview by briefly discussing her family history, and then turns her focus to her mother. The daughter of a Methodist minister and school teacher, MacLachlan's mother grew up in a household that espoused a liberal social gospel and relatively progressive views on race and social justice. While MacLachlan was a child, her mother focused primarily on raising her children and running her household (with the help at times of a handful of African American servants); however, in the 1930s she began to work more outside of the home as a social activist, primarily with Jessie Daniel Ames and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. MacLachlan explains how her mother (and other like-minded people of that generation) had a paternalistic approach towards solving problems of racial inequality and that the primary focus was on addressing racial violence and health problems rather than systemic problems. While MacLachlan's mother was advocating for an end to lynching in the South during the 1930s, MacLachlan had relocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a master's degree in sociology. MacLachlan's future husband also studied sociology at UNC, and she describes their work and life in Chapel Hill. MacLachlan explains her decision to stop work on her master's degree and to focus on raising her family instead of pursuing a career. She links this challenge to her upbringing and to social expectations of women. Later in life, however, MacLachlan did return to finish her graduate studies in sociology and to pursue a career following the unexpected death of her husband in the late 1950s. MacLachlan describes how she and her husband were drawn to radical politics and issues of social justice during the 1930s, their work with the U.S. Resettlement Administration and the Julius Rosenwald Fund in Georgia, and her brother's legal work for the civil rights movement in the 1960s. She concludes the interview with an addendum to the transcript that reiterates how women such as she and her mother faced unique hardships in balancing work, family, and social activism.

Title from menu page (viewed on Nov. 14, 2008).

Interview participants: Emily S. MacLachlan, interviewee; Jacquelyn Hall, interviewer; Hugh Brinton, interviewer.

This electronic edition is part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South. It is a part of the collection Oral histories of the American South.

Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner. Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories | Sound | Text
Subjects:MacLachlan, Emily S. (Emily Stevens), 1908- | Civil rights--Mississippi | University of Florida. Dept. of Sociology | Women social reformers--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | Women sociologists--North Carolina--Chapel Hill | Social movements--Southern States | University of North Carolina (1793-1962) | Unemployed--Relocation--Georgia | Women social reformers--Mississippi | Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching | Women--Employment | Work and family | United States, North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 35.9132, -79.055845 | United States, North Carolina, Orange County, 36.0613199, -79.1205595 | United States, Florida, Gainesville, 29.651634, -82.324826 | United States, Florida, Alachua County, 29.6747551, -82.3577015 | United States, Georgia, 32.165622, -82.900075
Collection:Oral histories of the American South (Georgia selections)
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/G-0038/menu.html