Interviewee: Lucy Williamson
IWY SC 699
Interviewer: Elaine Mayo Paul
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Lucy Williamson, of Columbia, South Carolina, was the Teenage Program Director with the Columbia YWCA. She became interested in women’s issues through her work with the YWCA, which offered one of the first rape education programs in the city. Interview includes Williamson’s observations of the conference as well organized and diverse in terms of race and political beliefs. She also discussed her hope that the South Carolina delegation to the National Women’s Conference in Houston could show how the state was making gains on women’s issues like sexual assault.
Elaine Mayo Paul: Name, please?
Lucy Williamson: Lucy Williamson.
EP: And where do you come from?
LW: Columbia, South Carolina.
EP: You live here, in Columbia?
LW: Yes ma’am.
EP: Alright. Where do you live?
LW: I live over off of North Main, on Sunset Drive.
EP: And what do you do here?
LW: Teenage Program Director with the Columbia YWCA.
EP: That sounds very interesting. What do you think of this conference?
LW: I think it’s very well organized. I think the representation, as far as types of women, is excellent. I’m surprised that there’s many older women here as there are, and as many black women.
EP: I was surprised that there was so many young ones and delighted. However, do you feel that we really are accomplishing something? What did you hope we would accomplish?
LW: I hope that we would focus in on the women’s issues especially in South Carolina, so when people go to Houston, that we will be well represented. People have a tendency to feel that South Carolina is somewhat backward, and I don’t think we are. At all.
EP: I don’t think so either.
LW: I think the bills that passed in this year’s legislature indicate that we’re not. We have really come a long way. That new sexual assault bill is just fantastic… and it was interesting, this morning, because Brantley Harvey said that he felt women were good as far as supporting it, when the facts are that women wrote it…which, I’m sure he knows, but he didn’t give us as much credit as he should’ve. (Laughs)
EP: How did you get interested in women’s issues?
LW: Mainly because of the organization I work for. The YWCA has always been, foremost, leading, in women’s issues.
EP: Yes, yes.
LW: We have a women’s resource center, we’ve been doing a rape education program for three and a half years; we were the first to ever have one in the town…It’s because of the Y.
EP: I’m so glad I happened to catch you out of this crowd. What do you hope will be the result; in the state itself—not Houston—but do you feel that we will have any lasting results?
LW: I hope that, having had this many concerned women together, that people will keep in touch with each other, and it will—again, not just because of International Women’s Year–but that they will continue to have conferences for women to voice their opinions. I think the important thing out of this whole thing is that we have got such a wide collection of women, and that we need to get that collection together again.
EP: Oh, well you know, you really did give me a lift. I’m so glad I happened to catch you.
End of Interview