Families

The families of Denton Women’s Interracial Fellowship (DWIF) members played an important role in driving these women to facilitate the desegregation of Denton. The women of the DWIF came from diverse backgrounds and upbringings, and grew up with varying views on race, and later in life chose to raise their families in environments where race did not matter. Many of the members were mothers, and gave much attention to the raising and development of their children. Mothers of the DWIF took active steps in introducing their children, black or white, to children of other ethnicities so that they might become more acquaintance and thus accepting. For example, Dorothy Adkins stated that black and white members of the group let their “three and four year olds play together” at Saturday morning play school, and this “resulted in our inviting them to the birthday parties too, so we had integrated parties for our three and four year olds, too.” Mrs. Adkins deemed the children the “pioneers” in creating a more tolerant Denton. Linnie McAdams voiced a similar observation that the women in the DWIF felt that there needed to be change, “and if our children were going to have a different attitude, we needed to start with them while they were young.”

These women had husbands, many of whom actively supported their wives and the mission of the group.  For the women of the group that had children, their mission was to create a Denton in which racial lines were erased. Although most ended up being supportive, not all husbands encouraged their wives' DWIF organizing from the outset. Alma Clark’s husband, for instance, initially had “mixed emotions” over his wife’s involvement with the group, emotions spurned by white treatment of him and other Denton blacks that had been forced to move out of Quakertown. Clark’s husband later changed his mind, though, when he saw the positive impact the group had on the children.

For the women of the DWIF, passing these notions of racial equality and harmony to other families was important. To Linnie McAdams, the DWIF concerned itself with the “whole of the black family and trying to elevate it.” If other families could share in the passion that the women of the DWIF had in bringing about better race relations, then these families could pass on attitudes of acceptance to their children and beyond. By raising the next generation of young Dentonites as tolerant people, with the support of their husbands and friends, the women of the DWIF demonstrated the power of what a family unit could do in bettering race relations in their communities.

(Click here for an interview with the daughter of a DWIF member.)

 

Oral History Interview with Dorothy Adkins (2017, 1 of 25)

Dorothy Adkins talks about "Negro Appreciation Day" at the Texas State Fair.

Oral Interview with Euline Brock (2017: 3 of 7)

Dr. Euline Brock discusses her children's interactions with African Americans.

Oral Interview with Euline Brock (2017: 2 of 7)

Dr. Euline Brock discusses the impact of the DWIF on her children.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 9 of 14)

Pat Cheek tells of her grandmothers influence on her views of race.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 10 of 14)

Pat Cheek discusses her parents influence on her views of race
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