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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986. Interview C-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A pioneer despite herself

Everett resists the label of pioneer in this excerpt. She remembers that people would sometimes suggest that she choose certain paths in order to achieve something first, a tactic she never believed in. She seems to sign on to her grandmother's philosophy, who read law with her husband "for her own pleasure and to help herself."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, January 21, 1986. Interview C-0006. 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

I think you really could be said to have been a pioneer for women taking on new responsibilities. You were one of the first women lawyers in the state and you were the first woman on the Durham City Council. Did you consider yourself a pioneer? Did you see yourself in that light?
While I filed first, Mary Duke Semans and I were elected at the same time. As to my being a pioneer-I don't know. I don't stop to consider that. You just do what comes and what you believe in. You don't stop and think whether you are a pioneer. I realized later that perhaps people maybe would suggest things for me to do with the idea of pioneering. I remember Chief Justice Walter Clark was a great believer in women and women doing things. I knew his daughter and visited their home some and we travelled together. I know he wanted me to qualify and be the first notary public. He said get ready to; but I wasn't especially interested in being a notary public so I didn't do it. These other things have come about because they were maybe in the line of what I was doing. I have had several firsts but they were just because I happened to be there at the right time. Of course, my work needed it. Going in practice with my father, I had cases ready. Generally, you have to build up to the supreme court, something like that. Mr. Everett, my husband, my son, and I were all admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States at the same time. That was the first time they had had a father, a mother, and a son. Now, I noticed they are having a good many husbands and wives and there seems to be an increasing number of husbands and wives who are practicing together or who are practicing, sometimes they are in different firms but they are practicing. That seems to be growing quite a bit. I don't think the three lawyers in the same family is growing quite as much, when they are husband, wife and son. I've practiced with my father, my husband and my son-three generations.
No, I think you may keep that record.
We may have a fourth. My oldest grandson is going to college next year, and he may take up law. We are leaving it to him what he'll do. So if he does, he'll be the fourth lawyer in one family. Then, way back there, I found out in my history that in my ancestors, one of my great-great-grandmothers read law with her husband, who read law. But she did it just for her own pleasure and to help herself.