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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Gladys Avery Tillett, March 20, 1974. Interview G-0061. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Women students supporting the suffrage movement

Tillett reiterates her support of the suffrage movement. Tillett explains that state legislators assumed that the women student at the Women's College in Greensboro, North Carolina, would be against suffrage; however, Tillett asserts again that most of the students did favor women's right to vote. Following her graduation from the Women's College, Tillett continued to support the movement while working in Charlotte and going to school for a second degree at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Gladys Avery Tillett, March 20, 1974. Interview G-0061. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

That was such an exciting time. Let me go back a little bit … What was your first public involvement? Were you publicly involved in the suffrage movement besides just reading about it?
I was at Woman's College and I was involved, we were all involved on the campus, deeply interested. I had an inspiring political science teacher. I think one might compare it to the interest of young college women today in the ERA and political science courses.
Did you petition the legislature?
No, but the legislators were visitors at the college and spoke to us in College Chapel, usually assuming that we were not for votes for women, but the sentiment of the student body was in favor of votes for women. It was very strong due to our political science professor, Harriet Elliott, and our U.S. history professor Dr. W.C. Jackson. Age of maturity I guess was a little farther along. But it was an excellent meeting. Later on in years I was to hear Mrs. Catt, you know, a skillful organizer, and after suffrage won, when she presided in a meeting such as the Baltimore meeting, it was well organized and presented to an interested audience… there was wide interest in it … well, the history of the long years of the women's movement was presented by those who had worked to bring it about and all were urged to join the League of Women Voters to become informed and then to participate in the party of their choice and stand for things they believed in… I think what most people don't realize, which I realized at the time (women were not in the political party set up) the first step in getting into the political party of your choice was to get in, and men leaders must decide to appoint youths to any office of leadership. You see, most people don't realize that all women had was the right to vote, period. And that's pretty well on the outside looking in. I got my county Democratic chairman to appoint about 15 women as precinct members of their respective precincts. Later I organized the first county League of Women Voters in North Carolina. I served as president in my county and later I was state president.