Interviewee: Teresa Hicks
IWY SC 607
Interviewer: Saznette P. Fleming
Date: June 10, 1977
Teresa Hicks was from Columbia, South Carolina. Hicks was not in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment because she felt that women were protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, the Constitution broadly, and “statutory law.” Interview includes discussion of: Hicks’ belief in equal rights for women, but not the Equal Rights Amendment; Hicks’ support of women’s organizing in general; and Hicks’ background growing up in a poor, white family.
Saznette P. Fleming: Now we have with us?
Teresa Hicks: I’m Teresa Hicks.
SF: Would you like to tell me your purpose for being here today?
TH: Yes. As I understand it, this is a grassroots meeting for the grassroots to be heard on their feeling on topics of interest to women, and I’m here to express my views.
SF: What are your views, may I ask?
TH: Of what?
SF: On this meeting. What would you like to come out?
TH: Well, there are so many things covered that I don’t believe in the time of this interview that I could cover everything that I’d like to see come out of it.
SF: You may start and we can take as long as you like.
TH: Okay, I would like out of this meeting that we are not in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was – the first notice given was a communication from the Carters that they are supporting that officially for rights of women, and as a grassroots speaker I’m opposed to it in areas of credit, employment, and various other areas where some women feel that they don’t have their rights. I feel that I’m protected by law both at the Constitutional level and by statutory law that I have all the rights as a woman that I need.
SF: So, your feeling about, we do not need to pursue this any further because we have the rights already, so we don’t have to get out there and stand up for a right that’s already given to us?
TH: That’s right. We already have these rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and under statutory laws for equal employment, equal credit, equal education; we already have all of this.
SF: And the main objective that you would like to come out of this conference is not to see –
TH: No, no, my main objective is a very positive one. I would like to see come out of this meeting that women can get anything they want on their own merits and efforts.
SF: But what I hear, you said you’re opposed to the Equal Rights Amendment.
TH: That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to equal rights. I’m opposed to an amendment.
SF: So you figure that there’s enough in the Constitution now?
TH: Yes, I feel that there is enough already under statutory law and Constitutional law, and I as a woman, I have been discriminated against because of my religion, but I have never been discriminated against because of my sex.
SF: Well, I really appreciate you taking the time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
TH: No, I think that summarizes. And I’m not here in a negative aspect. I’m here from a positive standpoint. I’m forty-nine years old and achieved anything that I’ve wanted to achieve, despite economic deprivation. I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. As perhaps one of the poorest, white families in this area, and I have achieved everything that I wanted to achieve. I have found no barriers based on any sort of law, and any discrimination that is not based on law cannot be changed by law.
SF: I really appreciate you taking the time. Thank you.
End of Interview