Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection, OHD 012 Lorena Weeks interviewed by Kathleen ClarkRichard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection, OHD 012 Lorena Weeks interviewed by Kathleen Clark

Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection, OHD 012 Lorena Weeks interviewed by Kathleen Clark

Descriptive Summary

Title: Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection, OHD 012 Lorena Weeks interviewed by Kathleen Clark
Creator: Clark, Kathleen
Creator: Weeks, Lorena, 1929-
Dates: 2009 November 9
Extent: 1.0 interview 73 minutes
Collection Number: RBRL/175/OHD
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: UGA History Professor Dr. Kathleen Clark interviews Lorena Weeks about her life and her discrimination case against Southern Bell in the 1960s. Lorena Weeks recalls how she started working at Southern Bell Telephone Company. She discusses her early life working several jobs to provide for her family. Weeks reflects on her decision to apply for a switchman job after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. She discusses her reaction upon being denied on the basis of being a woman. Weeks comments on her attempt to get union backing and subsequent decision to sue. Weeks recalls appealing the decision with Sylvia Roberts after losing her suit in district court. She recalls Sylvia Roberts' personality and attitude toward the case. Weeks discusses the effect of the lawsuit on her family. She recalls testifying in Washington, D.C. to the FCC. Weeks discusses the circumstances surrounding her childhood and the early death of her parents.

Collection Description

Biographical note

Lorena Weeks was born in 1929 in Columbia, South Carolina. Shortly afterward her family moved to Augusta, Georgia, and, when Lorena was nine, to Louisville, Georgia, where her father was killed in a sawmill accident. Lorena’s mother died nine years later, leaving Lorena to care for her younger siblings. In 1947 she went to work for Southern Bell Telephone Company as an operator. In 1965, following passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Weeks sued the company after being barred from employment as a switchman (a higher paying job) on the basis of her sex. Although she initially lost the case, she appealed, and with the help of National Organization of Women (NOW) attorney Sylvia Roberts, had her case heard in front of Griffin Bell in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1969 Weeks won her case and went to work at Southern Bell as a switchman, retiring in 1983.

Scope and Content

Lorena Weeks recalls how she started working at Southern Bell Telephone Company. She discusses her early life working several jobs to provide for her family.

Weeks reflects on her decision to apply for a switchman job after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. She discusses her reaction upon being denied on the basis of being a woman. Weeks comments on her attempt to get union backing and subsequent decision to sue.

Weeks recalls appealing the decision with Sylvia Roberts after losing her suit in district court. She recalls Sylvia Roberts' personality and attitude toward the case. Weeks discusses the effect of the lawsuit on her family. She recalls testifying in Washington, D.C. to the FCC.

Weeks discusses the circumstances surrounding her childhood and the early death of her parents.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred citation

Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection, OHD 012, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2013.


Related Materials

Access Points

Audiovisual.
National Organization for Women.
Oral histories.
Roberts, Sylvia M. (Sylvia Mae), 1937-
Southern Bell Telephone Company.
United States. Civil Rights Act of 1964.
United States. Federal Communications Commission.
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.
Women.
Women’s rights.

Related Collections in this Repository

Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection

Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

OHD 012 Lorena Weeks video and interview index in OHMS Access Online
OHD 012 Lorena Weeks video Access Online
OHD 012 Lorena Weeks PDF transcript Access Online