Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lane reflects on her accomplishments

Lane reflects on what she did accomplish during her time as UNC's women's studies director. She feels that some meaningful change did occur.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. 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

MARY TURNER LANE:
You have to feel that this was a mission that had to do with the status of women and the lives of women. I went out into the world from college so unprepared for life that when I moved into this job, I guess it did become a kind of mission for me—that I do whatever in my power to enable students to be more aware of the realities of life, particularly the economic realities of life. And maybe it was that mission that kept me fired up and kept me going somehow or other. Of Course the work was fascinating. The people were fascinating.
PAMELA DEAN:
So there were rewards.
MARY TURNER LANE:
Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
PAMELA DEAN:
If you didn't achieve all of your goals, nonetheless, the process….
MARY TURNER LANE:
And ultimately, we achieved a great deal. I believe that when I left, the program had its own academic integrity. We had not overturned the University but had become a very respectable part of the University. In the last year that I was here, I spent a large amount of time working with Duke in helping to create the Duke-UNC Research Center which, although housed on the campus of Duke because the $250,000 Ford grant was actually achieved, acquired by Professor [William] Chafe of that faculty with the stipulation that it would be on that campus. At the same time, that was a singular experience or program for us to have. So that was left in place. So the fact that the program had existed, it had survived, it had grown, and it had become accepted, not just tolerated, but accepted, and had branched out in some ways that were appropriate and strong, I think were significant achievements. I also think that we had brought women faculty together in a way and had supported their research in a way that's very helpful. We started the Program of Women's Research Seminars. I think that's still going on. It's supported now, I think, by the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences but initially, we brought it, we started it with afternoon seminars where women could present papers or research on which they were working. And as they presented the research, people from other disciplines could respond to it and ask questions about it. That proved to be very helpful. We also invited people from across campus and across the community to come in. So I think the support of women's research in gender issues was certainly something that we began and that was strengthened, they grew during that time.