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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jean Fairfax, October 15, 1983. Interview F-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Goals of the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen

Fairfax briefly describes her involvement in the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen during the mid-1940s. Fairfax became involved with the Fellowship, as well as the YMCA, when she moved to the South to teach, first at Kentucky State College and later at Tuskegee. Fairfax explains, here, that the ultimate goal of the Fellowship was to "affirm the unity of the Christina fellowship in a divided society."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jean Fairfax, October 15, 1983. Interview F-0013. 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

JEAN FAIRFAX:
Well, as I said, I am not exactly sure when I became active. But I was active until I left the South and went overseas with the American Friends Service Committee in 1946. So it was certainly over a period of three or four years.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
What kind of relationship did you have with the Fellowship?
JEAN FAIRFAX:
I attended their meetings. I don't know if I was actually on the board or not, but I went to many of their meetings and I knew the few persons who were in the leadership capacity in the Fellowship.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
Who was that?
JEAN FAIRFAX:
Nelle Morton. And I am still very closely to Nelle. You would have to help me recall the names of the persons. The Presbyterian minister in Chapel Hill, and the person who was called Scotty.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
Charles Jones and Scotty Cowan. Gene Smathers?
JEAN FAIRFAX:
Yes and Hughley-not Mel-Neal Hughley and his wife.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
Sadie.
JEAN FAIRFAX:
Yeah. they always got students involved. And as I said, at that time I was actively involved in the Student Christian Movement in the South specifically in the YWCA because the YMCA was very resistant to the integration. I am sure that my memory of my work with the Y and the Fellowship overlap, so I couldn't tell you half of the time whether I was with one group or the other because there were a lot of the same people involved. Ann Queen, for example.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
That happened with a lot of people. What do you think were the primary goals of the Fellowship?
JEAN FAIRFAX:
To affirm the unity of the Christian fellowship in a divided society. I would say that was uppermost in the thinking and the goals. And to translate that into specific acts.
DALLAS BLANCHARD:
What acts did they engage in while you were a part of it?
JEAN FAIRFAX:
I guess it was the meetings they held as much as anything. As I recall, this was before the year before the demonstrations and public acts of that kind, even to meet was a very important statement or political act at that time to meet across racial lines and to have public gatherings and so forth. There was a lot of support of individuals, I would say, in addition to making the affirmation about the true meaning of the Christian Fellowship.