Title: Oral History Interview with Eva Clayton, July 18, 1989. Interview C-0084.
Interviewer: Nasstrom, Kathryn
Interviewee: Clayton, Eva
Subjects: Civil rights movements--North Carolina Women in politics--North Carolina African American women in politics--North Carolina Soul City (N.C.) North Carolina--Biography
Abstract: Activist and politician Eva Clayton grew up as the daughter of a successful insurance executive in Savannah, Georgia. She came with her husband to North Carolina, and while raising four children and working toward advanced degrees, she became a leading figure in the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. Her activism experience drew her to service, and she spent years working with economic and social development organizations in and out of North Carolina government, including the Soul City Foundation and the Warren County Board of Commissioners, on which she was serving at the time of this interview. Three years later, in 1992, she would win a seat in the United States House of Representatives, where she would serve until 2003. In this interview, Clayton remembers a career spent in community development. In addition to helping lead the effort to establish Soul City—an attempt to create a new kind of rural community—she served as assistant secretary at the state Department of Natural Resources and Community Development. This interview follows the career of a successful black woman who sought to share her vision of economic possibility and social progress with her community.