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Alphabetical List of Oral History Interview Topics


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  Southern Women
    WOMEN'S ACTIVISM
      Non-Elective Leadership

Results (most relevant first)

Oral History Interview with Arthur Raper, January 30, 1974. Interview B-0009-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Southern sociologist and civil rights activist Arthur Raper discusses his interactions with Jessie Daniel Ames and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching during his tenure as the research director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation from 1926 to 1939. Raper describes Ames as an effective but contentious leader.

Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, June 16, 1974. Interview G-0047-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mabel Pollitzer describes her involvement in the women's suffrage movement in Charleston, South Carolina. In particular, Pollitzer describes the leadership role of Susan Pringle Frost within the movement, the split between the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman's Party in the 1910s, and her perception of various leaders within the movement in South Carolina.

Oral History Interview with William C. Friday, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0049. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Former president of the University of North Carolina, William C. Friday, describes his working relationship with Anne Queen, who was director of the Campus Y from the late 1950s into the 1970s. Friday discusses Queen's relationship with students and her leadership qualities.

Oral History Interview with Adele Clark, February 28, 1964. Interview G-0014-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Adele Clark was a founding member of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia and the League of Women Voters. In this interview, she describes how the suffrage movement unfolded in Virginia, discussing the successes as well as the obstacles suffragettes faced during their struggle.

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, December 18, 1990. Interview L-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Former governor of North Carolina Terry Sanford lauds the leadership of Anne Queen, director of the YMCA/YWCA at the University of North Carolina. In addition, Sanford discusses his advocacy of the civil rights movement and argues that UNC was a particularly powerful force for social change during the mid-twentieth century.

Oral History Interview with Elizabeth Brooks, October 2, 1974. Interview E-0058. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Elizabeth Brooks was one of the leaders of the UNC Food Workers Strike of 1969. As a new worker in the Lenoir Dining Hall, Brooks helped to organize the food workers with the help of Preston Dobbins and the Black Student Movement. This interview focuses on the first strike, which was sparked by the unexpected firing of one worker, low wages, and withheld back pay for overtime.

Oral History Interview with Ellen W. Gerber, February 18 and March 24, 1992. Interview C-0092. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Ellen Gerber received her doctorate in physical education and taught in northern colleges before attending the School of Law at the University of North Carolina during the mid-1970s. After her graduation, she accepted a job with Legal Aid. She describes her careers in physical education and law and discusses in detail her advocacy of women's issues.

Oral History Interview with Gemma Ziegler, June 22, 2006. Interview U-0181. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
During the mid-1970s, Gemma Ziegler became a nurse in Louisville, Kentucky, and joined the campaign to organize nurses. In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a nurse; her work as an organizer for We're Involved in Nursing (WIN); her role in the founding of the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO); and the NPO's various activities from the late 1980s into the early twenty-first century.

Oral History Interview with Grace Jemison Rohrer, March 16, 1989. Interview C-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
The first woman to serve in a cabinet-level position in North Carolina, Grace Jemison Rohrer first became involved in politics in the 1960s, organizing the Republican Party in Forsyth County, North Carolina. Rohrer later joined forces with Democratic women in order to establish the North Carolina Women's Political Caucus (NCWPC) in 1971. In 1973, Governor James Holshouser appointed her to serve as the Secretary of Cultural Resources. Throughout the 1970s, Rohrer advocated for women to have a more active role in politics, and she actively supported the Equal Rights Amendment.

Oral History Interview with Josephine Wilkins, 1972. Interview G-0063. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Josephine Wilkins was born in Athens, Georgia, in 1893. In the 1920s, she became increasingly interested in issues of social justice. In the 1930s, she became the president of the Georgia chapter of the League of Women Voters and helped to found the Citizens' Fact Finding Movement. In addition she describes her involvement and perception of such organizations as the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, the Commission of Interracial Cooperation, and the Southern Regional Council.

Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Kay Yow, a pioneering women's basketball coach, discusses her childhood in Gibsonville, North Carolina, and her early experiences playing basketball. She discusses her experiences as a coach, her philosophy of leadership, and the challenges facing women's athletics.

Oral History Interview with Louise Young, February 14, 1972. Interview G-0066. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Louise Young was an educated woman from Tennessee who spent most of her adult life working to promote better race relations in the South. Young describes her years teaching at African American institutions of higher education—Paine College and the Hampton Institute—during the 1910s and 1920s; her job as the director of the Department of Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, where she trained students at Scarritt College in race relations; her support of women's organizations, particularly the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching; and labor activism, as exemplified by the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.

Oral History Interview with Ruth Dial Woods, June 12, 1992. Interview L-0078. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ruth Dial Woods describes growing up as a Lumbee Indian in Robeson County, North Carolina, in the 1930s and 1940s. During the 1960s, Woods participated in the civil rights and women's liberation movements. In 1985, she was appointed to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, where she worked to promote equality for minority students.

Oral History Interview with Gladys Avery Tillett, March 20, 1974. Interview G-0061. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Gladys Avery Tillett was an advocate for women's suffrage during the early twentieth century and a participant in both state and national politics from the 1920s into the 1950s. In this interview, she describes her education, her work with the League of Women Voters, and her experiences as a leader in the National Democratic Party.

Oral History Interview with Martha C. McKay, June 13, 1989. Interview C-0076. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Martha McKay was actively involved in student politics at the University of North Carolina before her graduation with a degree in economics in 1941. Here, McKay describes her active involvement in Terry Sanford's gubernatorial campaign, the Democratic Party, and the women's rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s. She discusses her role as a founding member of the North Carolina Women's Political Caucus, the need for effective leadership and organization for women's rights, and the progress women have made in politics.

Oral History Interview with Emily S. MacLachlan, July 16, 1974. Interview G-0038. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Emily S. MacLachlan grew up in the early twentieth century in Jackson, Mississippi, in a family that advocated relatively progressive ideas about race. MacLachlan describes her mother's efforts to balance family life with social activism (specifically with the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching), her own academic endeavors, and her advocacy of civil rights and radical politics during the 1930s.

Oral History Interview with Guy B. Johnson, December 16, 1974. Interview B-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
This interview with Dr. Guy B. Johnson, sociology professor and author, focuses on his work as the first executive director of the Southern Regional Council (SRC) and as a member of the North Carolina Committee for Interracial Cooperation. Johnson discusses the role that women and church groups played in the Interracial Commission, describes the debate over issues such as segregation among SRC members, and outlines the conflict between SRC leaders and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.

Oral History Interview with Jean Fairfax, October 15, 1983. Interview F-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Jean Fairfax first moved to the South in 1942, where she became involved with the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen for several years. Fairfax describes the goals and activities of the Fellowship, discusses the role of leadership in the Fellowship, and draws connections between her work with the Fellowship in the 1940s and her later involvement with the civil rights movement from the late 1950s on.

Oral History Interview with Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, August 4, 1974. Interview G-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Southern writer, academic, and social activist Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin describes growing up in a family where the "Lost Cause" was heralded and her subsequent work towards promoting causes of social justice. In so doing, Lumpkin describes her work with the YWCA, her education, her career in academe, and her books The Making of a Southerner and South in Progress.

Oral History Interview with Kay Tillow, June 23, 2006. Interview U-0180. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Kay Tillow discusses her career as a labor activist, describing her early work in social justice movements of the 1960s and with Local 1199 in Pennsylvania during the 1970s and 1980s. In the late 1980s, Tillow returned to her home state of Kentucky, where she worked closely with the Nurses Professional Organization (NPO) as a representative of the Association of Machinists, who sponsored the NPO in their initial effort to organize Louisville nurses. She continued her work with the NPO towards achieving bargaining power into the early twenty-first century.

Oral History Interview with Thelma Stevens, February 13, 1972. Interview G-0058. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Thelma Stevens was the director of the Bethlehem Center in Augusta, Georgia, and the Superintendent of Christian Social Relations of the Women's Missionary Council for the Methodist Episcopal Church. In this interview, she describes her childhood in rural Mississippi, her education, and her work with the Methodist Church, all in relationship to her lifelong devotion to improving race relations in the South.

Oral History Interview with Bonnie E. Cone, January 7, 1986. Interview C-0048. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Bonnie Cone describes her career as an educator in South Carolina and North Carolina during the first half of the twentieth century. After teaching at Duke University during World War II, she moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, and became one of the primary personages behind the successful establishment of a university in that city.

Oral History Interview with Margaret Anne O'Connor, July 1, 1987. Interview L-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
English professor Margaret O'Connor discusses the formation of the women's studies department at UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as some of the administrative and political issues she dealt with after its inception.

Oral History Interview with Frances Pauley, July 18, 1974. Interview G-0046. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Frances Pauley was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, during the early twentieth century. An advocate for the poor and of racial integration, Pauley served as president of the Georgia League of Women Voters in the 1940s and 1950s, where she focused specifically on integration of public schools. In 1960, she became director of the Georgia Council on Human Relations and worked within the civil rights movement to promote African American leadership and interracial organizations.

Oral History Interview with Guion Griffis Johnson, July 1, 1974. Interview G-0029-4. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Southern sociologist Guion Griffis Johnson describes her work with the Georgia Conference on Social Welfare during the 1940s and her involvement with the women's movement and civil rights activism during the 1960s and 1970s in North Carolina. She discusses strategies for effecting change, the achievements of the Georgia Conference in promoting awareness of social welfare and race-related issues, and the progress of women and African Americans in their struggle for equality.

Oral History Interview with Ellen Black Winston, December 2, 1974. Interview G-0064. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ellen Black Winston was born and raised in North Carolina. She received her doctorate in sociology in 1930. Actively involved in issues of social welfare in North Carolina, Winston was appointed as the North Carolina Commissioner of Public Welfare in 1944 and went on to become the first United States Commissioner of Welfare in 1963. In this interview, she describes problems and opportunities for professional women, her goals to improve standards of social welfare in North Carolina, and her work with various branches of government.

Oral History Interview with Anne Queen, April 30, 1976. Interview G-0049-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Anne Queen spent ten years working for the Champion Paper and Fibre Company in North Carolina before continuing her education at Berea College and Yale Divinity School during the 1940s. In this interview, she describes her life as a worker, her advocacy of social justice causes, her experiences in higher education, and her work at University of Georgia, with the Friends Service Committee, and the YWCA-YMCA at University of North Carolina.

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, September 5, 1976. Interview G-0040-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Southern labor organizer Eula McGill explains her views on leadership in the labor movement and the role of workers' education. After rising through the ranks of the labor movement during the Great Depression, McGill continued to work actively to organize workers from the 1940s to the 1970s. She describes in detail various labor campaigns and strikes in the South, as well as her work with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and other labor organizations.

Oral History Interview with Nancy Palm, December 16, 1974. Interview A-0194. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Nancy Palm was the chairperson of the Republican Party in Harris County, Texas, during the 1960s and 1970s. She describes her own transition from liberal to conservative in the 1950s, the importance of political organization to the evolution of the Republican Party in Texas, her perception of women's liberation, and the role of such politicians as John G. Tower, John Connally, George Bush, and Richard Nixon in the rise of southern conservatism.

Oral History Interview with Nancy Kester Neale, August 6, 1983. Interview F-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Nancy Kester Neale remembers her father, Howard "Buck" Kester, who founded the Southern Tenant Farmers Union and held leadership positions in the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen and the Committee on Economic and Racial Justice.

Oral History Interview with Isabella Cannon, June 27, 1989. Interview C-0062. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Elected in 1977 at the age of 73, Isabella Cannon was the first female mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. In this interview, Cannon describes her involvement in the United Church of Christ, her support of the civil rights movement, and her advocacy for community revitalization and development. In addition, she recalls her major accomplishments as mayor and the challenges she faced in implementing her long-range comprehensive plan for the city.

Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, September 19, 1973. Interview G-0047-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Mabel Pollitzer was born Charleston, South Carolina, in 1885. After graduating from Columbia University in 1906, she returned to Charleston to teach biology at Memminger, an all-girls school. Pollitzer describes her involvement in the women's suffrage movement, her perception of politicians and women's rights leaders, and her civic work within the community of Charleston.

Oral History Interview with Eulalie Salley, September 15, 1973. Interview G-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Eulalie Salley, a suffragist from South Carolina, describes the effort of American suffragists to bring about the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the issues that mobilized male and female supporters of women's suffrage, important leaders in the movement, and the issues facing women today.

Oral History Interview with Grace Towns Hamilton, July 19, 1974. Interview G-0026. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Grace Towns Hamilton was raised in Atlanta, where both of her parents were involved in community service and issues of social justice. Following family tradition, Hamilton was an active participant in the YWCA during the 1920s, and during the 1940s and 1950s she was the director for Atlanta's Urban League. She describes her work with these organizations, focusing on issues of segregation, education, voter registration, and housing.

Oral History Interview with Lucy Somerville Howorth, June 20, 22, and 23, 1975. Interview G-0028. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Born in 1895, Lucy Somerville Howorth was born and raised in Mississippi. An activist for women's rights from an early age, Howorth was actively involved in the campaign for women's suffrage before she became a lawyer, a judge, and a politician. She describes her involvement in numerous women's organizations, her perceptions of the women who led those organizations, and their evolution over the years.

Oral History Interview with William and Josephine Clement, June 19, 1986. Interview C-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
William and Josephine Clement were both born and raised in the South. They describe their family backgrounds and education. Josephine focuses on race relations in Atlanta and her father's radical politics, while William describes his participation with the Masons and his work with North Carolina Mutual.

Oral History Interview with Charles Adams, February 18, 2000. Interview K-0646. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Charles Adams was a teacher and coach in Wake County, North Carolina, during the 1960s before becoming the assistant director (and later the director) of the North Carolina High School Athletics Association. In addition, Adams's father was a leader in the effort to desegregate Wake County schools. Consequently, Adams offers an insider's perspective on the process of school desegregation, focusing specifically on Cary, North Carolina, as a pioneer and model for other local schools.

Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Beginning with her family background and early childhood, Adamson traces the dynamics that led her to adopt her radical stance later in life. She also responds to the accusations that she had been a Communist spy and explains how the Red Scare affected her life.

Oral History Interview with Isabella Cannon, Spring 1993. Interview G-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Isabella Cannon was the first woman mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina. Elected in 1977, at the age of 73, the "old lady who wore tennis shoes" was a staunch advocate for community growth and revitalization. During her tenure, she worked to push through the Long Range Comprehensive Plan, to reconcile tensions between the city and the police and fire departments, strengthen the relationship between the city and the state, and to revitalize the downtown area.

Oral History Interview with Edith Mitchell Dabbs, October 4, 1975. Interview G-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
South Carolinian Edith Mitchell Dabbs discusses her family history as well that of her husband's family, which owned the Rip Raps Plantation. In addition, she describes the work she and her husband, James McBride Dabbs, did in advocating for racial justice during the 1940s and 1950s, their evolving views about race and race relations, and her involvement with the United Church Women.

Oral History Interview with Miriam Slifkin, March 24, 1995. Interview G-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Founder of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center Miriam Slifkin discusses the issue of rape within the context of the local women's movement in Orange County, North Carolina. The founding of the OCRCC was illustrative of growing tensions between feminism and anti-feminism in Orange County. The issue of rape is also situated more broadly within the context of the women's liberation movement in the 1970s, especially in relationship to legal changes, the formation of women's studies curriculum, and the relationship between local and national aspects of the movement.

Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, November 19, 1990. Interview L-0048. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Daniel Pollitt describes his admiration for University of North Carolina Campus Y director, Anne Queen. He discusses his and Queen's engagement in social justice movements and the city of Chapel Hill's reaction to student political engagement.

Oral History Interview with Modjeska Simkins, November 15, 1974. Interview G-0056-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Modjeska Simkins describes growing up in a prosperous African American family, going to school, and her thoughts on "color consciousness" during her childhood in Columbia, South Carolina. In addition, she discusses her involvement in the South Carolina Commission on Interracial Cooperation and other race organizations beginning in the 1920s, her thoughts on women's unique capabilities as leaders of social justice movements, and the nature of racial tension in the South.

Oral History Interview with Naomi Elizabeth Morris, November 11 and 16, 1982, and March 29, 1983. Interview B-0050. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Naomi Elizabeth Morris grew up in Wilson, North Carolina, during the 1920s and 1930s. After graduating from college in the early 1940s, she worked as a legal secretary before attending the School of Law at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. One of the only women to graduate with her class in 1955, Morris practiced law for twelve years before becoming one of the original judges to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Oral History Interview with Guion Griffis Johnson, May 17, 1974. Interview G-0029-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Guion Griffis Johnson, a southern sociologist who received her Ph.D. in sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1927, discusses the challenges she faced as she balanced career and family as a woman. Johnson describes women's changing roles in American society, and addresses her involvement in voluntary organizations, advances in birth control and abortion, and the evolving nature of marriage, divorce, and family.

Oral History Interview with Willie Snow Ethridge, December 15, 1975. Interview G-0024. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Willie Snow Ethridge discusses her career as a writer in the South and her efforts to combine work with family and marriage. In addition, she describes growing up in Georgia, gender expectations in the South, and her work in the anti-lynching movement.

Oral History Interview with Olive Stone, August 13, 1975. Interview G-0059-4. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sociologist Olive Stone describes her work as the dean of Huntingdon College from 1929 to 1934, her doctoral work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1934 to 1936, and her work in radical politics and for social justice during the 1930s. In addition, Stone speaks at length about her life as a single woman, both professionally and socially.

Oral History Interview with Modjeska Simkins, July 28, 1976. Interview G-0056-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
African American civil rights activist Modjeska Simkins describes her upbringing in a prosperous family during the early twentieth century. She charts her work with the Tuberculosis Association, the NAACP, and the Richland County Citizens' Committee. Throughout the interview, Simkins offers telling anecdotes about racial tensions in South Carolina, the inner workings of civil rights organizations, and relationships between leaders of the movement.

Oral History Interview with Marguerite Tolbert, June 14, 1974. Interview G-0062. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Marguerite Tolbert worked throughout her life as an educator in South Carolina public schools and universities for adult education. She describes her education and high school graduation through stories from her book, South Carolina's Distinguished Women from Laurens County. She recounts how she earned a scholarship to Winthrop College and met her teaching colleagues Wil Lou Gray and Dr. D. B. Johnson; describes local activism for women's suffrage between 1914 and 1920; and recalls encounters with leaders, including President Hoover and Jane Addams. She concludes by discussing the controversy at Winthrop College over a discrepancy in female teachers' salaries.

Oral History Interview with Miriam Bonner Camp, April 15, 1976. Interview G-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Miriam Bonner Camp describes growing up in Washington, North Carolina, in the early twentieth century, focusing specifically on her mother's strong influence, opportunities for women in the community, and race relations. She moved to California in 1909, and received degrees in English education from Berkeley. She describes coeducational life in college, her experiences teaching at North Carolina College for Women in the 1920s, and her involvement in the women worker education programs in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Oral History Interview with Ella Baker, September 4, 1974. Interview G-0007. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Ella Baker was an instrumental figure in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In this interview, she offers a candid analysis of the formation of those organizations and an insider's perspective on the role of and interactions between various civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Oral History Interview with Nelle Morton, June 29, 1983. Interview F-0034. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Nelle Morton served as the general secretary of the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen from 1944 to 1950. In this interview, she describes her perception of the leaders of the Fellowship and the organization's aims and strategies in advocating for various social justice causes, including racial integration and labor rights. In addition, she describes her leadership of a male-dominated organization and how her work with the Fellowship raised her awareness of the need for women's liberation as well.

Oral History Interview with Joseph D. Pedigo, April 2, 1975. Interview E-0011-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Joseph Pedigo was an active participant and leader in the labor movement among textile workers in the South during the 1930s and 1940s. In this interview, he describes his role in the formation of a local union at American Viscose in Roanoke, Virginia, and his work with the Textile Workers Union of America towards organizing textile workers throughout the South.

Oral History Interview with Viola Turner, April 17, 1979. Interview C-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
In this second part of an extensive two-part interview series, Viola Turner discusses race relations in Durham and her experiences working for North Carolina Mutual. Turner offers vivid and detailed anecdotes that reveal the intricate social and professional network of Durham, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s.

Oral History Interview with Josephine Clement, July 13 and August 3, 1989. Interview C-0074. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Josephine Dobbs Clement talks about her various civic roles, including her activity as a member of the League of Women Voters, the Durham City-County Charter Commission, the Board of Education, and the Board of County Commissioners. She also discusses her efforts on behalf of social justice and her views on race, gender, and environmental issues.