Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Working for the Farm Settlement Administration

MacLachlan briefly describes the work she and her husband did for the Farm Security Administration during the mid-1930s. Because of his graduate work in sociology, MacLachlan's husband was asked to come organize a farming community that was being developed for unemployed workers from Atlanta. The community was located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and the MacLachlans helped to organize the school. Later in the interview, MacLachlan explains that it was during these years that she and her husband were particularly attracted to radical politics and issues of social justice.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038. 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

Then, the Rosenwald people came by and wanted somebody to go to one of the farm resettlement administration projects that was opening up down in Georgia between Columbus and Atlanta at Pine Mountain, Georgia, near Warm Springs. They were trying to take the unemployed carpenters, electricians, painters, out of the city of Atlanta, put them on forty acre farms, under the resettlement administration. And so, we went down there. In the nine months, Sept.-June 1935-36 I think that Horace Hamilton was a little disappointed that John Maclachlan did not stay with him at the department at Raleigh, but the people offered us more money. I think they offered us three thousand dollars, which was great wealth.
What was the position that he held?
They wanted John to set up the school, to organize the school. They got a brilliant young architect from Dallas design the houses and supervise their building. He later became a very famous architect and is still living, has his architectural firm in San Antonio. O.Neil Ford. Then, the social worker was Joe La Rocca. He's high up in social services administration work in Washington now. These three young men were idealists, they were enthusiastic, they had in mind something like people who are organizing communes today. They wanted this to be run by the people.
Were these going to be white farmers?
They were all white. It was not integrated.
Never thought about that.
No, never thought about that.
And it was supervised by the welfare administration in Atlanta.