Interviewee: Tanzella Gaither
IWY SC 592
Interviewer: Kathie J. Carter
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Tanzella Gaither, 29, was a graduate student living in Rock Hill, SC. Gaither decided to attend the conference after reading about it in the newspaper. An instructor also suggested she attend. Issues important to Gaither included: changing economic “structures” and supporting opportunities to bring women from different economic and social backgrounds together. Gaither hoped the IWY conferences would help change women’s lives for the better. Gaither was interested in grassroots organizing.
Kathie J. Carter: Could you please tell me your name?
Tanzella Gaither: Ok, my name is Tanzella Gaither.
KC: Tanzella Gaither?
KC: And your address?
TG: 1461 Crawford Road, Rock Hill.
KC: And do you mind telling me your age?
TG: Uh, ok. Twenty-nine.
KC: Um, what brought you to this meeting today?
TG: Um, I read about it in the paper. One of my – I’m a grad student – and one of my instructors is on the committee. And she mentioned it to me. That’s when I first heard about it, and then I read about it in the papers. And, uh, I think the main thing was the slate of speakers that was scheduled to . . . they sounded interesting, and I wanted to see – hear, rather, what they had to say. Plus, you know, the phrase that was used in the paper sort of got me, you know, it . . . working at the grassroots level . . .
KC: What phrase was that?
TG: The . . . working at the grassroots level.
KC: Oh, working to that grassroots level.
TG: Uh-huh. And, so, in politics, to sort of change things.
KC: Is there something that you particularly would like changed?
TG: (Laughs) The economic structure, first of all.
KC: The economic structure?
TG: Yeah, because, you know, once that’s . . . I think is the key to everything. And once that’s changed, then, you know, other things will begin changing.
KC: How . . . what does that have to do with women? From your point of view?
TG: Well, women are at the bottom of the economic structures.
TG: Way at the bottom. And, you know, it has to be changed; somebody has to do it. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. All the place I feel to start is at the grad school level.
KC: With the women at the grad school?
KC: What, uh . . . is there personally anything, concern, that brought you here today?
TG: You mean, concerning the conference, or . . . ? Well, nothing in particular. I just wanted to see how it was going to go, and what was going to be discussed and said. And, more importantly, what could be done as a result of the whole convention today and tomorrow.
KC: What did you think . . . how did you think this sort of thing would be helpful to change the economic structure?
TG: You mean this type of convention?
TG: Um, I like the idea that it brings women together in, you know, the whole spectrum, not just the elite, and not just the real poor. You know, it brings them together from different phases, and by coming together and working together, that’s the start of change. That’s where you start. And it’s, you know, at the grad students’ level, in my opinion, you know, most everybody, since it affects most everybody, I think that most everybody should have a hand in changing it, whatever it is needs changed.
KC: That’s interesting. Anything else you’d like to add for the record? This is a historical document.
TG: Beg pardon?
KC: Is there anything else you’d like to add for the record? This is a historical document.
TG: Um, gosh, you threw me with that one. (Laughs) Because when you were asking me, I was thinking of something I wanted to say, too, but I can’t think of it. But, um, I’ll just say that I hope that as a result of this conference, there is a . . . change does come about that helps women in particular and, you know, everybody in general.
KC: Thank you very much.
TG: Thank you.
End of Interview