Interviewee: Quinton H. Lee
IWY SC 631
Interviewer: Kathie J. Carter
Date: June 11, 1977
Quinton H. Lee, a 30-year-old African-American woman, lived in Charleston, South Carolina. Lee worked as an Equal Opportunity specialist at the shipyards in Charleston. Interview includes discussion of Lee’s work at the shipyard and her opinion that equal workplace opportunity for women has a “long way to go”; the lack of women in science and engineering fields; and her support of the women’s movement, though she did not identify as a women’s liberation activist. Lee was interested in the conference workshop on the legal status of the homemaker.
Kathie J. Carter: I’m Kathie Carter. And I’m takin’ a oral history record of what’s going on here today. I’d like your name and your address, your street address of your town.
Quinton H. Lee: Ok, my name is Quinton Lee, and my street address is 6017 Dorchester Road, Charleston, South Carolina.
KC: And that’s Q-U-I-N-T-O-N?
KC: H period Lee. L-E-E
KC: What brought you to the meeting today, Ms. Lee?
QL: Well, I’m an equal employment specialist, at the shipyard And I was interested in learning about the concerns of several of the women from my state.
KC: At the shipyard? In . . . Charleston?
QL: Charleston. Charleston-Aiken shipping.
KC: I’m surprised to find that this is so. What goes on at the shipyard in Charleston?
QL: Well, in my office, we’re primarily concerned with people conforming to the affirmative action program for minorities and women, with respect to all personnel practices.
KC: In your experiences there, how did the shipyard in Charleston abide by the law?
QL: Well, we’re doing a good job in abiding by the laws. But we . . . we have a long way to go. I mean most of the jobs for women in . . . centered in the lower grades, as usual. Very little representation in engineering, in scientific fields.
KC: Why do you think this is?
QL: Well, um . . . we still . . . around here, in our recruiting area of South Carolina, we don’t have too many female, um engineering students, or students in, um . . . women in engineering fields or scientific fields.
KC: Why is that?
QL: Well, maybe they, in high school – actually, it’s really the school system in South Carolina – they aren’t being indoctrinated, or orientated, to the fields open to them.
KC: You think that girls . . . possibly girls are not told about their opportunities at this point?
QL: This is my thinking. That’s what’s going on.
KC: As a woman, and a black woman . . . how old are you?
KC: Thirty? Um, what are your personal concerns about women’s concerns, or problems, or issue that you wish to (unintelligible at 2:22).
QL: Well, my personal concerns . . . I don’t consider myself a women’s libber, although I am sympathetic to the movement, as I am a woman, in fact, and black. But I, um, I really . . . I find that I believe in equal pay for women, childcare centers and services.
KC: Why is that? That you believe in childcare services, that’s what I meant.
QL: Well, statistics show that a large majority of women are head of the household, main bread-winners. And, nine-times-out-of-ten, there are children involved. So, in order for her to support her family, she’s gonna have to have, um, child support during the eight hours she’s working.
KC: What have been your impressions of the meetings that have gone on the last two days?
QL: I wasn’t here yesterday. I just . . .
KC: You weren’t able to . . .
QL: . . . came this morning
KC: . . . attend yesterday? Uh-huh, this morning.
QL: But I just left the one on legal homemakers. And I really enjoyed it.
KC: Did you learn something new, or different, or . . . . Why was it you enjoyed it?
QL: Well, I . . . the speaker’s great. Um, it was just . . . nice. I learned a lot. Some things that I knew, a lot of things that I did not know.
KC: Could you share with me any one thing you learned that you didn’t know previously?
QL: Let’s see. Oh, the South Carolina divorce laws. I just realized that before 1949 they didn’t have a divorce law in South Carolina, which I found amazing, really. That was something important that I did learn.
KC: Uh-huh. Um, what is your feeling . . . what are your feelings about International Women’s Year?
QL: International, excuse me?
KC: International Women’s Year.
QL: Well, I think . . . I think that the purpose of this whole meeting is, you know, it’s great, because it gives women a chance to get together and relate ideas to each other.
KC: Is there anything else you would like to add for the record?
QL: No, I don’t think so.
KC: Thank you very much.
QL: Ok, thank you.
End of Interview