Title: Oral History Interview with Olive Stone, August 13, 1975. Interview G-0059-4.
Interviewer: Gluck, Sherna
Interviewee: Stone, Olive
Subjects: Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.) Women sociologists
Abstract: This interview is the fourth in an eight-part series with Olive Stone, a southern sociologist. In this interview, Stone focuses primarily on her years as the dean of Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, from 1929 to 1934, and her years of doctoral study at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1934 to 1936. In addition to describing her work at Huntingdon College and at UNC, Stone speaks at length about her life as a single woman, both professionally and socially. Stone begins the interview with an anecdote regarding the visit of Myra Callis of the Tuskegee Institute to the University of Montevallo at a time when the social custom of Jim Crow segregation prevented Callis from dining in the university cafeteria. She goes on to explain her growing involvement in radical politics during those years, describing her advocacy of the rights of farmers and sharecroppers; her work with a Montgomery hospitality group; and her involvement with the Highlander Folk School. She also shares her thoughts about the role of race in the organization of agricultural workers in the South. By 1934, Stone feared that her involvement in radical politics could threaten her position at Huntingdon. Because of her desire to pursue her field research more actively and her plans to form the Committee for People's Rights, Stone decided to leave Huntingdon. In 1934, Stone's interest in radical politics and social justice led her to participate in conferences at Swarthmore College and at Blue Ridge. Unable to find funding for the Committee for People's Rights, Stone decided to pursue her doctoral degree at University of North Carolina, where she worked closely with Howard Odum.