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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eva Clayton, July 18, 1989. Interview C-0084. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Seeking financial success to show that it is possible

Clayton desired financial independence, and set out to make some money in the early 1980s. She sought to demonstrate the opportunities available to small businesspeople.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eva Clayton, July 18, 1989. Interview C-0084. 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

From your resume, to me that's quite clear, because in each of the things that you've listed the descriptions end up sounding quite similar in terms of the kinds of projects that you've worked on and what your goals are. So then my question is, did you feel that in a private organization which you controlled, you would be able to direct these things a lot more? You would not have the outside forces that come at you in state government or electoral politics, you would have control over what you wanted to do?
It certainly was. Not that it always resulted in that, but the motivation was that you have the independence that you don't have in the others. Also I was interested in going in business for the economics of going into business. I was interested in making money. I was interested in demonstrating that economic development could mean that you could demonstrate how you have a business and you hire other people. It's the self-determination. And I think that's symbolic. I think what you do as a person is symbolic of what your community will do, or individuals will do, and I've been honored by a number of persons sharing with me that I have been their model. My striking out has caused other women to do the same thing, or even other men, other small businesspeople, to do that. I haven't made a lot of money, oftentimes I have more debt than I have income. It's not a nonprofit, I can't write it off. But more times than not I have fun, more times than not. I wouldn't be coming from Warrenton all the way to Releigh, or going all over eastern North Carolina doing what I do if I didn't enjoy it. I'm going to change it, though, I'm going to try to work a little smarter, not as hard. I read this book, Passages, you know you go through these passages in your life. I'm not in my less mobile passage, but I am in my more thoughtful passage where you maximize your time and you spend somewhat less energies working on that.