Interviewee: Sylvia Watts
IWY SC 687
Interviewer: Constance Ashton Myers
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Sylvia Watts, a political science major at the University of South Carolina from Columbia, SC was student body president at Dreher High School in 1976. At the time of the interview, she was nineteen-years-old and hoped to have a career in urban development. She attended the conference because she was interested in women in leadership. She was African-American and felt that the conference could expose her to new ideas. Watts planned to attend workshops on leadership and women’s legal rights.
Sylvia Watts: Have you got anything in particular you wanted to say?
Constance Ashton Myers: Your name is . . .?
SW: Sylvia Watts
CM: Ah, where are you from, Miss Watts? Or Ms. Watts?
SW: Yeah, Ms.
CM: What’s your address?
SW: Columbia. 2472 Bratton Street.
CM: What do you do?
SW: I’m a student at USC. I’m a Political Science major.
CM: Oh, you are, huh. And why do you think this meeting is important? Why are you here?
SW: Uh . .
(Break in recording at 0:25)
CM: Ok, Ms. Watts. You’re telling me why you think it’s important to, this meeting is important. Why you’re here.
SW: (Laughs) Ok. Number one is that I’m very interested in women. And I want to find out what things, as a woman, I can do. And also since that I am going into a career as an urban development, you know, I want to see what my chances are there, and what I can do as a woman. You know, since I’m black…
CM: You’re here as an inquirer. But you’re not hoping necessarily to have input . . .
SW: I hope so.
CM: As well as to see what’s available, you . . .
SW: I’m going to watch.
CM: . . . influence what may become available.
SW: I want to watch the women in leadership here. And, you know, maybe someday I hope I can come and do the same thing. Or maybe organize, you know, something like this. That’s what I’m really interested in.
CM: Do you think there will be definite consequences for you personally? Of this meeting?
SW: Um. Consequences.
CM: Some kind of personal consequences. As the result of this meeting. It will affect your life somehow, in some way.
CM: What about . . .
SW: It’s going to open my eyes. You know? To broader aspects, that I’ve never seen before. Yeah. It’s going to do that. Um, I’ve been sitting around the house, and not doing anything, while this is going to make things more interesting. I can write now to places where, you know, I can inquire information that . . .
CM: Were you a homemaker? Before you did this?
SW: No, I’m still a student, staying with my parents. But I’m going to start young, you know what I mean? And develop into this sort of thing. I’m very interested, I really am.
CM: What do you think the social consequences of this meeting will be?
SW: Um . . .
CM: What would you hope for, anyway?
SW: I hope that more women will come to this sort of thing. I hope that the people here will go out and tell women about it. So that, you know, keep them interested. Because that’s what I plan on doing, you know? Um, going out and saying, look, “I have been to one of those before, and they’re exciting. Why don’t you go?” I mean, you learn a lot, you know. I want to really go back out and say . . .
CM: What workshops, particularly interest you? What ones do you plan to…
SW: I plan to attend the leadership one.
CM: Um-hmm. And what else?
SW: Um . . .
CM: Anything else?
SW: The one about law.
SW: I want to attend that one.
CM: Have you read the national slate of recommendations?
SW: No, I haven’t.
CM: They’re in the volume that came with the registration packet, To Form a More Perfect Union. And there will be voting on those tomorrow, and you’ll have an opportunity to make amendments. But you can do that in the workshops, too. So try to read them over tonight, anyway.
CM: Um, have you been to another conference of this sort before?
SW: No, I haven’t.
SW: The only conferences that I’ve attended have been religious ones, or they have been . . . I have served as student body president in high school. And there have been conferences in school . . .
CM: Did you go to high school here in Columbia?
SW: Yeah, I did. I went to Junior High School . . . I’m a graduate there.
CM: What high school, again?
SW: Dreher High.
CM: Dreher High School.
SW: And I had to (unintelligible at 3:28) . . . so, you know, the only really conferences and conventions I’ve ever attended were those that, you know, dealt with student council. How to become a better leader in a sense. So, I don’t know how well a leader I am. (Laughs) But, you know, that’s…
CM: Have ambition. How old are you, Miss Watts?
(Someone speaking in background at 3:47)
CM: I certainly do thank you. And I hope somebody will catch you once again before this is over so we can have your evaluation.
SW: Ok, all right.
CM: Thank you.
SW: All right. Any time.
End of Interview