Interviewee: Betty Corns
IWY SC 628
Interviewer: Constance Myers
Date: June 10, 1977
Betty Corns, of Maudlin, South Carolina, attended the state IWY conference because she had a broad interest in politics, government, and women’s organizing. The interview includes discussion of Corns’ childhood and upbringing, the dynamic between her mother and her disabled father, and her interest in conference workshops on the legal status of women and on domestic violence. Corns was a reporter but did not specify the publication. She hoped that the conference would encourage more grassroots organizing for women’s issues.
Kathie J. Carter: Would you give me your name, please?
Ethel Allen: (in background) Ethel Allen.
KC: Okay, could you give me your name please?
Unknown Woman: Yeah. (Laughs)
KC: Is that mine? That’s mine. Just a minute, let me get it on record. Okay. Could you give me your name?
Betty Corns: Betty Corns.
KC: And your address?
BC: I’m from Mauldin, Mauldin, South Carolina, Greenville County. Am I not close enough?
KC: Yeah, you’re close enough. I was just getting a little closer.
BC: You just look so awkward holding –
KC: Can you tell me what brought you to the meeting today?
BC: What brought me here? An interest. I’ve always been interested in politics and people and government, and in women, you know, in general. And you know, eager to participate in any, in any facet of public life whether it pertain to women alone or, you know, people in general. Interest in my future, my daughter’s future, I have a daughter 16 years old. And so, you know, it’s vitally important to me.
KC: Why do you consider it vitally important?
BC: She has her whole lifetime ahead of her. I have hopefully quite a bit of mine, but I’m concerned about our young people and the kind of future they have. So this is just an added incentive for me to take an active interest in women’s affairs.
KC: What kind of the workshops did you hope to find hopeful helpful?
KC: The workshops that are scheduled for tomorrow?
BC: I’m gonna have to take a look at, and see what they are, but –
KC: There’s one on women’s legal status, there’s one on childcare –
BC: That’s the problem, there’s so many of them. I think the legal status of women, my mother is still alive and she’s a widow so the concerns of the, the older woman, you know, the one that’s left without a husband and maybe is not in the best of health, so. I’m gonna try and circulate between as many as I can because they’re all of interest, whether I’m directly, you know, affected by them, you know, such as a battered wife. I, thank goodness, have never had that problem but I’m interested in the situation so I’m gonna try and get to as many of them as possible. I want to circulate and cover as many of them to make a decent report back to the –
KC: You plan to report this to your paper?
BC: Yeah, right.
KC: Okay. Have you had any problems that have come to you particularly because you’re a woman? Or simply because you’re a woman?
BC: Because I’m a woman. I think I, I don’t, I think I’ve been very fortunate. I, I, nothing major really. I was raised in a family where my mother was a, played a very equal we’ll say at least, not a dominate role but a very forceful role in the family. My father was disabled. And I had, and my mother supplied a major part of the income for the family, and I have this type of role model where the woman could fulfill and do and, you know, play equal importance. And I, I just grew up with this feeling that whatever I was capable of doing and had the guts to do and try to do, you know, it was open to me.
And you know, I was, I played with boys, I had a brother, I played with boys’ toys, you know, I never thought twice about it. I was never, you know, you have to wear a little dress and, you know, behave, I mean, I was me so I really was not hindered I think in any way. You know, this was not a part of my consciousness, that I was a woman therefore I would not be able to do, you know, this or this or this. It was just, I knew that, or I grew up feeling that if I had the capabilities within me to do it, you know, I could indeed go ahead and do it. I think this was good for me.
KC: In a way your experience has been unique, but I’ve had other women tell me that today, too.
KC: That they didn’t feel so constrained.
BC: Yeah, I really have not –
KC: Because some women do and some women don’t.
BC: Yes, I know. And I find that hard to relate to coming from the sort of background I did.
KC: But then your situation wasn’t the “ideal”.
BC: Repeat? Maybe I didn’t understand.
KC: You know, the husband not working kinda thing.
BC: Right, yeah that, well yeah, that –
KC: You had different kinds of role models.
BC: Right, um-hum.
KC: What do you hope will come out of this meeting?
BC: The purpose of the meeting as I understand it is to get grassroots participation so that the average, again, whatever that’s supposed to be, woman has her chance to, you know, voice her views and get her needs and desires recognized. And that’s I think would, you know, that seems to be the goal and I think that would be probably the most important thing that could come out of it.
KC: Have you got any comments about what’s gone on at the meetings already?
BC: It’s been interesting and a little hectic. There hasn’t, the afternoon meeting was so good but it was so filled with statistics, you know, if I didn’t have my tape recorder I would’ve missed half of it, but it was, it was good, interesting, stimulating. I think it presented a pretty broad spectrum of interest, economic levels. I think, I think the Conference has done a pretty good job so far of what I’ve seen of representing a broad spectrum of women in this state.
KC: Anything else you’d like to add?
KC: Okay. Thank you very much.
End of Interview