|Title: Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell|
|Creator: Weeks, Lorena, 1929-|
|Extent: 1.0 box (.25 linear feet), including 1 photograph|
|Collection Number: RBRL/263/LWSB|
|Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies|
|Abstract: The collection contains materials pertaining to Lorena Weeks’s sex discrimination case against Southern Bell Telephone Company. The materials date from 1966 to 2009 and detail her fight to be promoted from operator to switchman, a job Southern Bell claimed to be reserved only for men, despite such practices being declared unacceptable by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.|
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 1966 Ms. Weeks applied for a promotion at her longtime employer, Southern Bell. The position, that of a switchman, promised an increase in pay and a significantly shorter commute to work. Despite her seniority with the company, she was denied the promotion because she was a woman and it was a job reserved for men. Weeks knew about the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed by President Lyndon Johnson and felt that Southern Bell had violated her rights under the law, which specified that an employer could not discriminate on the basis of 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. After years of appeals, Weeks won her case in 1969. She became a switchman at Southern Bell, a position she held until her retirement in 1983 after more than thirty years of service to the company.
Davis, Flora. Moving the Mountain: The Women's Movement in America Since 1960.New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.
Foner, Philip S., ed. Women and the American Labor Movement: From the First Trade Unions to the Present. New York: The Free Press, 1979-1980.
Frost-Knappman, Elizabeth, and Kathryn Cullen-DuPont. Women's Rights on Trial: 101 American Trials from Anne Hutchinson to the Virginia Military Institute Cadets. Detroit: Gale, 1997.
The collection contains materials pertaining to Lorena Weeks’s sex discrimination case against Southern Bell Telephone Company. The materials date from 1966 to 2009, and include grievances filed by Weeks’ union against the company; correspondence between Weeks, Southern Bell, and Weeks’ attorney, Sylvia Roberts; court proceedings; and Weeks’ own testimony as well as the testimony of her supervisors. Also included are letters from publishers seeking information about the Weeks case; a transcript of an interview for NHK; clippings about Weeks and other women, including Marguerite Rawalt, another prominent female lawyer; letters and materials from Emory University and the University of Georgia regarding women’s rights events of which Weeks was a part; an article about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act of 2009; and various photographs of Weeks and her workplace.
Types of materials in the collection include correspondence, court documents, interview transcripts, clippings, flyers, and a photograph.
The collection is arranged chronologically.
Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.
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Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2010.