Interviewee: Henry Martin
IWY SC 641
Interviewer: Rachael Myers
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Henry Martin, 44, from Columbia, South Carolina, attended the conference to represent the interests of men and to observe whether attendees followed Robert’s Rules of Order. Interview includes discussion of Martin’s opinions on international relations and the United Nations, his impressions of the conference, and his belief that the IWY conferences will have a positive impact on women. Martin was a member of the Rosewood Baptist Church and the Association of State Farm Agents.
Rachael Myers: First of all, what is your name and where are you from, and your address?
Henry Martin: Henry Martin, Columbia, South Carolina. My office address is 3700 Forest Drive, Columbia.
RM: And what is your age?
RM: Okay, now what has brought you to the convention this weekend?
HM: I have a keen awareness with the problems involving the women and men of this country, particularly this country, and I was super concerned really about being sure that we were equally represented in Columbia.
RM: Who are we? Are you a member of an organization?
HM: The men were represented; I wanted to be sure the men were.
RM: Tell me then how you want this representation. What are you talking about here?
HM: I just wanted to be sure that things went according to Robert’s Rules of Order, which they have not so far, not the meetings I’ve been in; that we do things on a democratic basis, and we certainly cover those things that are apropos to this country and South Carolina.
RM: You do not feel that this has been done so far?
HM: Well, in a meeting I was in a while ago with the International Interdependence, we had a rather headstrong chairman, or, a chair person in this case, who entered a motion on the floor. She said she didn’t enter it, but she did enter it as a primary resolution, and it was attempted to be voted on, we tabled it through the process, and then we entered our own resolution opposing this particular kind of resolution, and still for the women and the men of this country, and the chair person adjourned the meeting in the middle of the question, the question that was called for, which I believe is not according to Robert’s.
Unidentified speaker: There was no vote to adjourn. There was no vote taken to adjourn.
HM: But I think it’s probably irregular if not illegal. It’s not being – at least the democratic caucus as I see it.
RM: This conference, the International Women’s Year, the purpose of it is to deal with, question women’s problems, issues dealing with women. As a man here, did you say that men’s point of view is not being equally represented?
HM: No, I’m saying the country’s point of view, really. In this particular meeting we were talking about international interdependence, and what really boiled down here was country by country, not person to person. And it’s a fact in this country, in this country today we have freedoms that most countries don’t enjoy, yet we were bringing in other countries and saying that in Jamaica or Russia or whatever, that we want them to have freedom. So that’s true, it’s fine, but we want to do it through the UN, is what the resolution was, and let the UN promote this. The UN hadn’t done too much for this country so far. In fact, we’ve been paying the majority load, but we have been getting very little bit, as you know, return back for our investment.
RM: What impact do you think has to do with women of this country?
HM: Well, it doesn’t have anything to do with it, it has to do with very little bit of the country, but it certainly has to do with the countries. If the country’s not here, the women are not going to be here either. And certainly the women in this country have freedoms that most women in most countries don’t have, and most men in most countries don’t have. So we can’t really say that if we water it down and give the women, give our people the equal rights that other women in other countries have, we’re certainly going to lower the women’s rights in this country. We can’t say let a one-world government, or the United Nations in that case, say to us this is the way it’s going to be run, because we’ve got the best deal going already. Why should we water it down?
RM: Are there any other issues which you’ve come to this conference to address yourself to, to make sure your point of view is being heard?
HM: Not really. That’s really it. The thing is that this country needs to be lifted up instead of put down, and I think that through the United Nations we are being placed downward.
RM: What significance does that have with the purpose of this conference as a whole, with the status of women, a general time and place for people to get together and discuss?
HM: I agree we should get together, women and men and women by themselves and men by themselves and discuss issues that involve is here in Richmond County, or here in South Carolina, or here in this Southeast United States. But the whole theme of this thing is behind the Decade, the International Women’s Decade, which is promoted by the United Nations. The United Nations is certainly not on our side.
As a matter of fact, there are only nineteen countries in the whole United Nations that are so-called free countries, and about 130 countries that are so-called totalitarian or communist of socialist type countries. Well, if our system is the best, why should we subjugate ourselves to the system of some other country? I believe our system is the best, and I just want to be here to assure ourselves that we have an opportunity to still vote and be heard, and not turned off in the middle of a question. The question was called for, just to get it walked out. That’s totalitarianism, not democracy. We must live by democracy.
RM: Okay. Now, do you believe that this conference is going to have any positive impact on the status of women in this country? Not this one in particular, but the National/International Women’s Commission?
HM: I think so. I think that any time you get people talking together for whatever reason, some good is going to come out of it. Women certainly as blacks, as farmers perhaps – I was raised on a farm myself and we didn’t have the rights that some city people had, but I think that women should have more rights than they have. I think they should have better pay than they have, and I think it’s coming. It’s been real slow getting here, but I think it’s coming.
My secretary only makes about $145 a week. I would think really she should make about $190 a week. And we’re gradually getting up there, but it’s just breaking the customs. It’s a customary thing. You can’t go out and just do something without disrupting other systems nearby. If you pay your secretary $190, $200 a week, you’ve got fifteen sore people right around you that eat lunch with her and that sort of thing that’s going to be upset.
So I think we’ll have a lot of good come out of here, and I’m glad to see it. I just want to be sure it’s run correctly.
RM: Okay, one other question. Are you a member of any kind of organization?
HM: Rosewood Baptist Church, I’m a member of the Rosewood Church. I’m a member of the Association of State Farm Agents.
RM: But you’re here as an individual.
HM: Yes, I am, sure I am. As a matter of fact, I should be home. My son’s getting ready to go to Pittsburgh this afternoon and I should be home there talking with him, but I’m leaving in a few minutes.
RM: Okay, I appreciate your talking with me.
HM: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
End of Interview