Interviewee: Alec Harvey
IWY SC 605
Interviewer: Elaine Mayo Paul
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Alec Harvey, of Clarendon County, was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from District 66. Harvey served a 21,000-22,000 person constituency. He attended the state IWY conference briefly after the South Carolina General Assembly adjourned for the weekend. Interview includes discussion of Harvey’s experience working with women, his interest in learning more about the IWY, and his observations about women’s issues in the 1970s, especially single parenthood.
Elaine Mayo Paul: And what did you say your name is, please?
Alec Harvey: Alec Harvey.
EP: Alec Harvey. And what do you do?
AH: I’m a state legislator, from Clarendon County, from District 66. It’s a small, rural, predominately agricultural county…lower part of the state…has a population of approximately twenty-six thousand; my constituency is roughly between twenty-one and twenty-two thousand. Primarily black; approximately sixty-one percent black.
EP: Why did you decide to come up today…to be with us?
AH: To visit with some of the people at the conference over here. I had a friend here, Ms. DeLaine, and another friend, Elaine Reed, who used to work for my congressman over there, John Jenrette.
EP: And it doesn’t hurt, since you have so many women constituents, and black constituents…
AH: True…I enjoy it; I enjoy attending meetings. I’m leaving here to go to the trucker’s convention, in Myrtle Beach tonight…it’s about two and an half hours down there, and I’ll probably miss the buffet tonight, but I’ll eat a Hardee’s. I’ll have my lunch there on the road, as usual…
EP: That won’t hurt a thing, I don’t guess…Well would you tell me, what you think about the conference in terms of its importance?
AH: I think it’s a–really don’t know that much about it—I really came over to see what was going on….And I’m sure that it will be important, though, because any time people get together to exchange ideas, you’re beginning to move, you’re beginning to make progress, you know?
EP: Have you become aware of the fact that women do have many, many problems in the 1970s? If so, how do you feel about all this? The change—the changing role of women.
AH: It’s changing—I tell you what: you do find people, sometimes caught up, in a time when you don’t know quite what role—you have a lot of women raising families for the first time with no male, you know, you have—I guess in some states women adopt children alone, you know… It’s different, you’re not in the role women once were; where you stayed at home and you didn’t work, and you raised the children, and did their homework at night… It sure is, and a lot of people have problems adjusting to it. A lot of men too—some men, they feel a little displaced in life, I think, now…they feel threatened sometimes, by women, you know?…
EP: Mmm-hmm, that’s true. Do you have anything you would like to tell us in terms of your insights into women’s issues—the problems that are peculiar to women?…Do you think–?
AH: I actually think women are much smarter than men, on the whole—
EP: Oh no, don’t tell me something like that—tell me something for real.
AH: I do, I believe that. I always feel like women are better, and particularly in teaching—in the teaching field—than men are. Much, much more so. I’ve always preferred women teachers to men teachers.
AH: Really. I do. I work—I personally work along with women better than I do with some men, because I’m not an organized person, and most women are very well organized. And they tend to take up, where I leave off.
EP: And so you work in honest pretty well with women?
AH: Very well.
EP: …Let me see if there is another question I need to—do you have anything special you would like to tell us, before you run off for your Hardee’s hamburger?…
AH: That I’m enjoying the conference; having a nice time for my ten or fifteen minutes that I’ve been here, I’ve enjoyed going around, talking to people on the inside, and seeing what’s happening—
EP: Oh! You didn’t go in for the program?
AH: No, I didn’t—I just got—we adjourned maybe thirty minutes ago, at the State House, and I went upstairs, and got up an arm-load of papers, and letters I dictated today, and a briefcase full of papers and letters to take home and read tonight, and I just walked across the street.
EP: And after you get to the trucker’s convention, you’ll get away, and you will get to sleep by about two o’clock in the morning?
AH: …Two in the morning, and probably read until about three…I got home about three, two-thirty in the morning, from adjournment court, and I was up about 6:30, 6:15…
EP: Oh, has the General Assembly adjourned?
AH: For practical purposes, we’ll come back next week.
End of Interview