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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Everett supports her husband's career, stresses the importance of indepent thinking, and runs for Durham City Council

Everett discusses her support of her husband's work and her later involvement in local politics. After her marriage to another lawyer in 1926, Everett explains that although she didn't practice law with her husband, she often helped him with his briefs and cases and worked side by side with him while he served on the state legislature. She makes sure to stress, however, that both she and her husband thought independently and made their own decisions about things. This was reflected in her decision to run for Durham City Council where she was one of the first women elected and served for 20 years. She was first elected in 1951.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. 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

PAMELA DEAN:
You worked with your husband after you got married. You didn't actually go into active practice with him, but you did work with him, didn't you?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I worked with him on briefs and I also helped him work up cases. He had a lot of cases. He had been practicing and was a very popular lawyer here. I still meet people on the streets who were clients of his sometime. I was rather amused- when I went to the hospital when I went on the way to Russia that time-one of the nurses, a black nurse, who had been one of his clients. And she called me Ms. Lawyer Everett all the time, and I find some of them on the street. Some of them who were his clients, not mine.
PAMELA DEAN:
He was also in the state legislature.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, he was in the state legislature for ten years. Five terms.
PAMELA DEAN:
Were you involved at all with that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
The first year we were married he was in the legislature. And I went everytime. We went to the meetings and I just sat back and listened. I was made, another time, President of the Sir Walter Cabinet, which is the wives of the legislators. Mr. Everett had gotten the Sir Walter Cabinet, some years before, interested in trying to use their influence to get a bill through, to lobby for a bill for the deaf, or the blind. And they formed then this group originally held in the hotel where they were sitting around talking. And so they became more active. And they would meet every week.
PAMELA DEAN:
Discuss the issues that were important to the legislature?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Discuss the issues or have speakers. And they are still doing that.
PAMELA DEAN:
And then you'd go back and talk to your husband and tell him . . .
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
And then go back and maybe they'd see then. [laughter] But, the other day I went to a meeting of the Sir Walter in Raleigh, and we heard the President-elect of Duke, who was the speaker that day. They have good programs and they have a lunch.
PAMELA DEAN:
You were fairly active in that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. And Duke. I think it was the first year that the legislature had ever gone away from Raleigh to something. And we had them over to Durham for an open house, at our house. And then Duke had them for dinner that night. And now they go off a lot. They will go and visit different places where they're invited.
PAMELA DEAN:
Keep in touch. Did you ever lobby your husband on how he should vote on certain issues?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Not much. He'd made up his own mind! [laughter] And I'd make up mine.
PAMELA DEAN:
Did you ever disagree on major issues?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Oh yes, we'd disagree and discuss things very much, but we believed in everybody doing their own thinking.
PAMELA DEAN:
I see. You were very active in local politics. In fact, you were on the Durham City Council for 20 years.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I was on the Durham City Council, I believe, for 20 years. Mary Seemans and I were the first women to run and be elected. A woman had run before but had been defeated. And Mary got married-her first husband had died-and she got married during that term so she did not run again. But I did, and was reeclected. I was there 20 years until Mr. Everett got sick, it was the year he died, and I decided not to run again. I thought if I hadn't done something in 20 years, there was no good in staying on longer!