Legacies of Service

Today if one were to ask a local Dentonite about what happened to the Denton Women's Interracial Fellowship they would get a variety of answers. By the beginning of the 1970s American civil rights movements changed in character and the discussions of race relations advanced beyond simply acknowledging inequality especially in the Denton area. The DWIF did not follow the rest of the civil rights groups into this new era not because of the change in discussion; rather, the focus of members began to change with time. Alma Clark recalled, “Our children had graduated and gone away. We grew older...”[1] Indeed most members stated their inactivity came from their children as the kids grew into their next stages of life whether it be moving them into kindergarten or going off to college. More importantly, the children were a big uniting point amongst the many mothers within the DWIF and as the children moved on the ladies lacked a crucial connecting point. To some like Pat Gulley, the social aspect of the group was no longer needed as “we had friendships, and we kept the friendships up. I felt I didn’t the need the structure of the group…”[2] As meetings and group projects became infrequent the DWIF largely disappeared by the mid-1970s. 

Yet from DWIF formed something unique: a legacy of service.

The dissolution of the group did not mean the end of their progressive activities, and to many of the women they saw it as one of the biggest successes of the DWIF. Quite a few began to concentrate on their careers, with some going on to have fantastic careers in local politics and heading organizations. Euline Brock, already a professor at Texas Women’s College, was also inspired to continue on with serving her community in local politics and the classroom. Pat Cheek and Ann Barnett both served on several city boards even as they raised their kids. Linnie McAdams served on numerous boards from the library board to the Denton Parks Foundation board and Betty Kimble “served on so many boards I can’t even name them… you name different committees in the city and I’ve probably been on them”.[3]

Several continued their passion in helping children in the local schools. In 1970 several of the women were heavily involved in the establishment of the Denton Christian Preschool. Dorothy Adkins helped start a small mentoring program at Calhoun High School between elderly volunteers and special needs children. Some worked in the school district in supporting roles such as substitute teaching as was the case for Pat Cheek where “I loved subbing, and they loved me… because I would let them be fun and I would also help them do their work.”[4] Evelyn Black recalled how in 1997 she helped international students in the University of North Texas university acculturation program and “when the students progressed and were able to be admitted to the university I just felt so gratified that I’ve been able to help with that process. They were hard workers.”[5]

Many volunteered for their church projects too, such as Mae Nell Shephard who continued serving in the Christian Women’s Fellowship. Even those who mostly concentrated on their jobs found themselves helping the community as was the case for Pat Gulley who worked for JobCorps as a drama teacher to “have an outlet for teaching”.[6] To some like Betty Kimble the Interracial Fellowship was just a footnote in their lives, “just another thing added to my life.”[7] “The people in the Fellowship have always had made it a point to be a part of things that mattered."[8] Regardless of the dissolution of the DWIF these women displayed a continued passion for their community and the belief in the power of the individual in making an impact.

 

 


[1] Oral History Interview with Alma Clark and Betty Kimble, 2017

[2] Oral History Interview with Pat Gulley, 1983, 14

[3] Oral History Interview with Betty Kimble, 2017

[4] Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek, 2017

[5] Oral History Interview with Evelyn Black, 2017

[6] Oral History Interview with Pat Gulley, 2017

[7] Oral History Interview with Betty Kimble, 1987, 33

[8] Oral History Interview with Pat Gulley, 2017

Oral Interview with Pat Gulley (2017: 3 of 5)

Pat Gulley discusses her view of the group's dissolution and her work in JobCorps.

Oral History Interview with Ruby Cole and Alma Clark (2017: 5 of 7)

Alma Clark and Betty Kimble both reflect on the DWIF's waning years and its impact on Denton daily life.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 5 of 14)

Pat Cheek discusses her campaign for Denton's city council in the 1970s and her subsequent loss. 

Oral History Interview with Betty Kimble (2017; 12 of 13)

"I've been on so many boards I can’t even name them…"  Betty Kimble talks about her work throughout Denton over the years.

Oral History Interview with Evelyn Black (2017; 6 of 9)

Evelyn Black on her teaching experience with international students at North Texas State from the 1970s to 1990s.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 7 of 14)

"When I retired in 2000 I must have gotten twenty phone calls..." Pat Cheek details her involvement with the Denton community in recent years. 

Oral History Interview with Linnie McAdams (2017; 7 of 7)

Linnie McAdams recollects on her experiences with the women in the Fellowship and her subsequent legacy of service.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 4 of 14)

"I loved subbing and they loved me..." Pat Cheek talks about her career as a substitute teacher.

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 8 of 14)

'"You see that white woman over there?"' Pat Cheek recalls a story with a student while working as a substitute teacher. 

Oral History Interview with Pat Cheek (2017; 6 of 14)

Pat Cheek describes the Grandparents in Public Schools program and her involvement in it. 

Oral History Interview with Catherine Bell (2017; 11 of - )

Catherine Bell discusses her volunteer work in the community and with special needs kids. 

Oral History Interview with Dorothy Adkins (2017, 15 of 25)

"They need to not forget the past..." Dorothy Adkins talks about life and activism post-Fellowship.
Prev | Next