Mother serves as strong female role model
Winston describes the strong influence her mother exerted in terms of establishing a "liberal, democratic attitude" that shaped her later involvement in social welfare issues. According to Winston, her mother was actively involved in various community organizations and was forward-thinking in terms of social issues. Her comments demonstrate the centrality of having a strong female role model in her upbringing.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Ellen Black Winston, December 2, 1974. Interview G-0064. 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
- ANNETTE SMITH:
Your mother, I know that she was active in library work later on. What
other kinds of things did she do?
- ELLEN WINSTON:
My mother was really quite a remarkable woman. She was a
great reader all of her life. She particularly liked biographies,
biographies of people of achievement. She was a devoted wife and mother
and never let her outside activities impinge on those responsibilities.
But she was the founder of the PTA in our community, she started the
woman's club, she was very active in church work. And then, when she had
more leisure, she founded the Marianna Black Library and gave a great
deal of time to that throughout the rest of her life. I really think
that my parents, in many ways, were ahead of their time, certainly ahead
of the community in which they lived, although they were both expert in
adapting to the overall environment in which they lived. They were both
almost without prejudice, I would say. My mother even more so than my
father. Mother was always very concerned about any group which had
criteria that barred people from becoming members if they wished to do
so. She had many very interesting small charities. I remember one year
when I had to take an apple to school every day because there was some
poor child that Mother was helping and trying to persuade to remain in
school and the apple was the reward, you see, for coming to school each
day. I think that perhaps I told you about Mother's efforts to see that
the little Negro school, because those were the days of separate
schools, had play equipment for the children and had books for the
children, so that they would not be too discriminated against in these
areas. So, it was indeed a very liberal, democratic attitude which
prevailed in our home. And always, the children were encouraged to do
everything that they could. We were expected to have good grades in
school. We were expected to be concerned about less fortunate people.
That sort of thing. And of course this does have a tremendous influence
on one as you move along in the later years.