Interviewee: Dorothy Franklin
Interviewer: Louise Pettus
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Dorothy Franklin, 53, from McCormick, South Carolina, was a mother of four and had three grandchildren. She became involved in political activism in 1969 and worked on issues like childcare, voter registration, senior citizens’ rights, and women’s rights. Interview includes discussion of: Franklin’s work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the NAACP; her positive impression of the state IWY conference so far; and her interests in the workshops on childcare and senior citizens.
Louise Pettus: To start off, what is your name?
Dorothy Franklin: My name is Dorothy Franklin. I’m from McCormick, South Carolina. I finished high school, I married; I have four children, three grandchildren. My most interest is in childcare, voter registration for one thing, I just love that, plus all the women senior citizens, and also the rights of women.
LP: Then you have a wide range of interests here. When did you first get involved or interested?
DF: I got involved in 1969.
LP: What caused it?
DF: Well, there wasn’t too many blacks on our registrants book in McCormick.
LP: Voter registration?
DF: Voter registration, right, so I started off with SCLC and campaigned from house to house, walking streets, begging blacks to vote, register. Then I went from there to GLEAMNS community action, which is a childcare program, and that’s where I’ve been working ever since. And also, I get myself involved in – well, I used to be vice president of the NAACP in McCormick. I have a chapter there. Now I’m just a member, because my son now is president. So, I have a wide range of interests and I just love people.
LP: What do you think of the convention so far?
DF: So far it’s good. Yesterday, two things touched me. I can’t think of the lady’s name, the white lady that couldn’t talk English when she came to South Carolina. And the second thing was this black nurse that’s nursing in Columbia, and that, really, tears came to my eyes because that gave me the faith in people who I work with at home, especially young people. You can do if you have a desire. It’s all in the head. And I always have felt like this. I taught my children this. Even after they came out of college I told them, “Now, you got it, and as long as you get it up there nobody can take it from you, so use it. And whatever you see good, pattern from it.”
And she really touched me. And to think where she came from, her grandmother raising her, and her grandmother was a slave, and she went to school, her first year in school she was nine years old and went one year, and then came in thirty years old and started off back in adult education and got where she is today. That means that if you want to, you can do it.
There’s one thing, in this voting process, as I afore said, I’m interested in senior citizens, but young people, around the 27th of this month I will be fifty-three years old. I think I still got my life to live, but I think people younger than I am should be represented morally here and be that concerned what they want out of life and how they want to be treated.
One workshop I do want to go in today and that is the childcare program and the older women. Because, now, in my county they have a senior citizen there, but there are older women there who are just thrown out. You know what I mean? They end up in homes, convalescent homes or in a house by themselves, and I think something should be done about it. It’s a small county, but still, we are sort of writing letters to the governor, the senator, even to [President] Carter.
LP: Okay, thank you very much.
End of Interview