The Women’s History Trail (WHT) project of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County adopted an activity in 2018 that was implemented in March as a part of Women’s History Month. This annual celebratory event honors a special “Macon Matriarch” and her role as trailblazer to help shape a better future for Macon County.
Since its creation, two very deserving women have previously been distinguished as Macon Matriarchs: Margaret Ramsey in 2018 and Sally Kesler in 2019.
This year, Dorothy Rose (Dot) Crawford was chosn as the WHT Macon Matriarch. A plan was in place to hold a reception for Crawford with a few guests and family members in attendance but with the need for social distancing, Mary Polanski, one of the chairs of the WHT project, devised an alternate approach.
As described by Polanski:
“On March 24, Dot and her son Tom met me briefly and safely at her carport back door. She looked beautiful in a red sweater with lipstick to match, and her smile was warmer than spring sunshine. She accepted her award with grace and expressed much gratitude for the honor. She received a plaque, a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing (one of her favorites), a vase of Virginia Bluebells, a presale copy of the Suminski Family’s new book “Special Delivery” (she is in it!), and an updated map/brochure of the Women’s History Trail. All of these items seemed to delight her,” said Polanski.
“The WHT Leadership Group had thoughtful discussions about the pros and cons of our special delivery in this time requiring prudent compliance to all health recommendations. The decision to proceed to honor her seems to have been a good one. We are sharing our story in hopes that the special love the community has for Dot will be felt as a balm and inspiration,” she continued.
“For those of you who might not know Dot, she worked for the Department of Social Services starting in 1952 and was named director of that Department in 1959,” said Anne Hyder, chair of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County ((FHAMC). Dot retired in 1984 but has continued to serve this community and our state through multiple committees and projects. Dot is considered a trailblazer in that she was a woman who publicly advocated for others in a society that, in her younger years, was overwhelmingly male-dominated. She dedicated herself to helping local residents improve their lives, particularly the most vulnerable individuals who needed the most assistance.”
The words summarized on the WHT Macon Matriarch plaque given by the Women’s History Trail – Folk Heritage Association of Macon County on March 24, 2020, gives a glimpse into Crawford’s many outstanding attributes:
“In recognition for your lifelong dedication to the people of Macon County, Western North Carolina and across the entire state of North Carolina. We honor you for your skills in advocating for programs, policies and legislation that benefit some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including older adults, children and people who battle poverty and hunger. Your name is recognized and respected throughout North Carolina. Therefore Dot, thanks for your Keep on Keepin’ on attitude!”
To help recognize Crawford for not only being selected as the 2020 WHT Macon Matriarch but also for her upcoming birthday – she will be 102 on April 24, send a card to: Dot Crawford, PO Box 149, Franklin NC 28744.
“Let us all rejoice in Dorothy’s womanly life and important contributions. She is truly a remarkable living legend,” said Polanski.
Be on the lookout for events sponsored by the Women’s History Trail & Sculpture Project as we share stories about the women who helped shape Macon County’s history. If you would like to learn more about the WHT, get involved in the project or make a donation, visit the website at www.FolkHeritageAssociation.org or email Mary Polanski at email@example.com. The Folk Heritage Association of Macon County is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Submitted by Theresa Ramsey, WHT Leadership Team & FHAMC Board Member