Interviews

Drucilla Barker

Academia: Economics/Women’s and Gender Studies

“Any oppressed group partakes in internalized oppression. They buy into the lies that their oppressors have told them. This is part of black liberation, part of women’s liberation. Hell, I’d like to bring the word liberation back into our vocabulary, even though it’s so old fashioned, but I like it as a word.”

Debbie Billings

Academia: Public Health

“Once you start isolating certain issues from everything else and privileging them, I think we lose the sense of the ways in which people’s lives are integrated and how one thing is affected by another… I do feel like we are, it’s a little slow for me, but I feel like here in the US we are kind of taking on that challenge of not just focusing on single issues, right, as feminists, in the sexual and reproductive health realm.”

Cindi Boiter

Writer and Arts Advocacy

Coming soon

Sally Boyd

Academia: Women’s and Gender Studies

“I was a subscriber to Ms. Magazine almost from the very beginning and the women that I formed friendships with were other feminists. I don’t even know if we used that word all the time but that’s who we were and what we were about.”

Martha Brim

Academia: Dance

“I started a dance company in 2000 and it’s not a student company, it was intended for professional dancers and it’s called the Power Company, and the mission has always been to embrace power for all people using dance. And I think that sometimes instead of maybe talking about it so much, just kind of sharing a community and experiences is a better way to learn about what the feminist philosophy is. So that’s how I feel about feminism. I love it…I was raised in the South, I didn’t know what that was…”

Claudia Brinson

Writing/Journalism

Coming soon

Patti Sue Burton-Pye

Religion

“I never even made it to account rep in the seven years that I was there. So it was very, very different. The expectation was that women were the ones who served the men. We did their typing. We did their filing, all of that. I even had to get my boss coffee. I was required to get him coffee. One day, I came in and I had a big button that my sister-in-law got me. It said, “For this, I went to college.” He got really angry and told me to take it off, and I said, “Well, it’s true. For this, I went to college so I could get you coffee and type your stuff.” We had words, and then he didn’t make me get his coffee after that (laughter).”

Eve Carlin

Law and Politics

“I was a teenager in the 70s, so one of the most profound events was Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation in 1974. So I was after the Vietnam War but remnants of Watergate babies coming in ’74, new members of Congress, and fresh new people coming in with visions on how to reform the government and make it better for the people. So those were pivotal event in my life, my teenage years.”

Lee Coggiola

Law

“Yeah, I had good role models in my stepmother and my father was fairly active in the first round of feminism. I remember he took me to hear Gloria Steinem speak one time and we always said, “Oh Daddy loves women.” But it was, but I think he really did. He’d say “Women are beautiful creatures with big brains.” But he was a family man, I don’t ever remember a sense of him treating mother or Jo in anything but being an equal in terms of intelligence and ability to do things. He died much too early. He was 64 and he wasn’t going to retire from Newsweek but they had a mandatory retirement.”

Jan Collins

Journalism

“I felt fairly supported there but there were men there that I think were, didn’t like me very well because I was kind of a star in the newsroom…I know two of the editors I found out later used to call me Wonder Woman, behind my back of course. It was not a compliment.”

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Beryl Dakers

Broadcast Journalism and Documentary Production

Coming soon

Heidi Darr-Hope

Arts

“I realized later on….that for me, creating art is a form of meditation. A way for me to quiet my mind and a way for me to express experiences that sometimes there aren’t words for. [And] I did actually take a pottery class in high school….at the museum here and I loved it. Learning to throw on a potter’s wheel was terrific.”

Tameika Isaac Devine

Politics

“What I will say is that I get people who ask me all the time like will you run for a higher office or do this, I love local government. I mean I really feel like this is what I was born to do. Not necessarily to be elected but to be working in the community that I live and I serve the community that I live in…”

Alfred Mae Drakeford

Business and Politics, and the first Black female mayor of Camden, SC

“I am a person that believes that there are opportunities for all of us. And I believe in anything that is worth having is worth working for. I believe that we have to deal with a lot of things because we don’t have “White” privileges, like the White race does. Therefore because we don’t have those privileges, we have to work a little harder. But I’m not afraid of work, no I’m not afraid of work.”

Ellen Dunn

Communications and Librarianship

“The best part of the story is when I was in college, I interned at that station where Rod was the senior anchor, six and eleven. And I was so nervous. I thought OH MY GOODNESS! I get to meet Rod Daniels. It was such a big deal; I can’t wait to meet Rod Daniels. So, one night he is sitting in the break room at the station eating his dinner and I got up the nerve and I went up and I said, “Mr. Daniels, my name is Ellen Gemelaris and I’m a student at the University of South Carolina and you inspire me to go into television.” And we became the best of friends. And he was my mentor so much so that when I was hired at the station in Florence before I left for the interview— he had been in the hospital for heat exhaustion— he checked himself out so he could prep me for the interview. We were that good friends!”

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Jane Dreher Emerson

Field

Coming soon

Holli Emore

Religion

“It has been interesting to reenter the world of male dominated clergy through my interfaith work…For the most part people are incredibly supportive and helpful, but there are still a lot of religious groups where female leadership, they may not openly oppose you or say anything, but you’re just frozen out or not included.”

Sheila Fassler

Medicine

“While I was in nursing training at Akron I worked 3-11 on Saturdays and Sundays as a nurse’s aide and I was very fortunate that the nurses on the floor would give me more experience than I was getting in nursing school. So one of the most memorable things is I took care of their first AIDS patient in…it was 1985. And they weren’t sure really, the whole AIDS thing wasn’t firmly presented as a diagnosis but there was a lot of rumors and innuendo about AIDS at that time and they were just developing the diagnosis. So I remember very clearly taking care of a young man with AIDS who was a wonderful person and I enjoyed that opportunity.”

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Carol Fowler

Politics

“Bobby Kennedy was running. His work with poverty, there was of course some anti-war influence on me too, but his work on poverty and civil rights and justice kind of issues, social justice kind of issues, really affected my thinking…But I never got over the feeling that, “If I do something, if Democrats are elected, we can fix these things.”… I still have that feeling.”

Bambi Gaddist

Public Health

“You can’t live in the Bible Belt but yet see [epidemiology] data that says most of the STDs are in the South, where pregnancy among teens is at proportion in the South. There’s a contradiction between the fact that people go to church every Sunday but yet they’re still sexual people so they’re living these split, double lives and it makes it difficult for women like me to have the conversation and to educate.”

Patricia Glover

Animal Rights Activist

“We are Catholics and we went to church every Sunday…. I’m not there to please all these other people in the church that are looking at me. I’m there for Jesus, I’m there for God. I’m invited here to join in this day with you. It’s like you’re being invited to lunch with Jesus. Come and visit me and sit at my table and feast with me. So, you dress nice because you’re invited to this fancy place. One of our priests once said, “If you were invited to dinner with the president at the White House how would you dress? This is way more important than that,” and I’ve always remembered that, and he’s right.”

Iris Griffin

Corporate Finance

“I remember when I went to Investor Relations initially, and we would go on the investor trips to New York, and these are utility conferences, so I remember sitting in this big auditorium, you know, because there will be this table across the front where someone’s going to come and give a speech, and all these investors and investor relations people, the company representatives are all there. And I remember looking around this room that had probably 200 people in it, and there was me and one other female in the entire room, and that was the first time it really sunk in for me how much of a male dominated industry the utility world is.”

Susan Hall

Air Travel Industry

“I worked at a drapery factory and right across the street, there was an Air Force Recruiting agency. And I went over there and tried to recruit, and I told them I wanted to I wanted to fly for the Air Force. And they laughed at me. There were two recruiters there, male recruiters, young guys and they laughed at me and they said, “well we can get you on right away and give you a good clerical job, but women don’t fly”. And I was crushed. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that women didn’t fly airplanes back then.”

Marjorie Hammock

Civil Rights Movement, Social Work

“I [had] a job called Mobilization for Youth, which was started by the Kennedys, Lower East Side. Social workers and activists were placed literally in the school to make sure that equity was going on with teacher hiring as well as the treatment of the students. Because it had been Irish, Jewish and Italian and then Latinos and African Americans were moving in and there was hostility. But the other thing that Mobilization targeted was anti-gangs. We were involved with it, so there was a lot of activity going on…there was kind of in-fighting…all of these things were learning experiences in terms of how stuff operates and what you have to do to effect change.”

Harriet Hancock

LGBTQ+ Advocacy

“I started Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in 1982. My son came out to me ‘80-‘81 and immediately I knew just instinctively that nobody in the world chooses to be gay, that he certainly did not chose to be gay, knew how hard it was for him to tell me all that. And so I just embraced him completely and of course my heart sank and was anxious not because he’s gay but because of how the world would treat him…So it was scary for me but never did I reject him.”

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Barbara Hazzard

Field

Coming soon

Deborah Hazzard

Academia

“One of the reasons I chose North Carolina State is that I was a computer science major and so when I began to look at programs that had really good computer science – computer science was in their school of engineering – and they had exceptional computer science programs, still do. So, that was one of the things that led me to North Carolina State as opposed to staying here in South Carolina.”

Sarah Keeling

Racial Justice Advocate

“What I think got me started was Ferguson, and then what compelled me to keep moving on was the shooting in Charleston. So, I was always raised to not be racist, never say the n-word, although my mom is very racist now which is weird. But anyway, I just wanted to do something besides write Facebook posts, so there’s a national organization called Showing up for Racial Justice and they have chapters. So I was like ‘I’m just going to start a chapter in Columbia’. And I did it in a very white woman way, I didn’t ask anybody in the community whether it was something that was needed, or that would be good, I just did it and had a few people at the first meeting, mostly my friends. And then I got connected to the Black Lives Matter chapter in Columbia, they are called Simple Justice, and went to one of their meetings. And fortunately they were like “Oh yes we need you, this is great”, so we’ve been partnered with them, and so we try to educate white people so they can go out in the community and be allies, and advocates and accomplices without burdening people of color to teach them what they need to know, or teach them how to do it well. So that’s what we try to do.”

Adelaide “Tootsie” Kline

Field

Coming soon

Brenda Kneece

Religion

Coming soon

Michelle Logan-Owens

Medicine

“Any woman that’s listening to this or any man, be mindful of how you’re raising your daughters because they’re watching. Just like I noticed the positive people who I observed in my life and their influence on me. You never know who’s watching and who’s listening so we need to pay attention. Our words matter, our actions matter and so we need to always conduct ourselves in a way that if someone was watching the trailer of our lives, that we could be proud of it.”

Betsy Long

Field

Coming soon

Shirley McGuinness

Field

Coming soon

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Elizabeth McLendon

Field

Coming soon

Karen Mitchell

Field

Coming soon

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Emily Newman

Field

Coming soon

Elise Partin

Politics and Academia

Coming soon

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Barbara Rackes

Business and Women in Leadership

“I never shied away from anything I thought that I could do. I’ve never been taught that I couldn’t do something. So I won’t say I, like acted as a feminist, it was like actions speak louder than words…I was very involved in the ERA in the early ‘70s…it’s not equal rights for women, it’s equal rights for everybody.”

Rice, Nena

Archeology/Anthropology

“The bigotry and intolerance that I experienced as a young teenager, I just didn’t want to have anything to do with the South, the way they treated people. But I came to grips with it and came to love it and embrace it and realize it really needed somebody like me to be here to help keep our coasts clean and don’t cut down big trees and keep our rivers and water and air clean and soil.”

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Becci Robbins

Activism

Coming soon

Cyndy Storm

Mortgage Banking and the Military

“I started subscribing to Ms. magazine … I think in high school when it first came out. Because a friend of mine had a copy and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to get one of that too;’ and I started reading it. Although, sometimes my mother would just kind of hand it to me like ‘hmm.’ They had articles on sex in it. She didn’t stop me from reading it, but I don’t think she really approved…”

Evan Talib

Graduate Studies

Coming soon

Myriam Torres

Academia

Coming soon

Candy Waites

Politics

“I also had good relationships with the press, the people that covered County Council, because I realized that they were the way the public knew what was going on…I would sit down with them and I would explain how the budget worked or what was going on, or if they had questions I would always answer the questions, because they were the entree to the public.”

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Waters, Mary 1

Academia: Women’s and Gender Studies

Coming Soon

Lois Duke Whitaker

Women’s and Gender Studies

“I think one of the aspects of college teaching is mentoring, not just young women but young men, too. I just can’t recall or recount the times that, I just let it be known, my office door is always open. If I appear to be busy just come on in and I can do that another time. Would love to talk with you about anything, about any topic. I think I was successful in that, the open door policy.”