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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Clement, July 13 and August 3, 1989. Interview C-0074. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The state of women's rights in Durham

Along with ending racism, Clement remains committed to furthering women's rights. She discusses Durham's Women's Commission, what it has done well, and what it has not yet tackled.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Clement, July 13 and August 3, 1989. Interview C-0074. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KATHRYN NASSTROM:
Along those lines, because I have read about the ordinance for encouraging minorities in business, I came across an interesting reference to the county creating, in 1987 I think it was, a women's commission?
JOSEPHINE CLEMENT:
Yes.
KATHRYN NASSTROM:
And I take it that was more to study issues?
JOSEPHINE CLEMENT:
Right.
KATHRYN NASSTROM:
But if you'd say a little about that?
JOSEPHINE CLEMENT:
That is really not, I'm not sure it has worked out as well as we hoped, but it's in place and that is very important. I made that motion also for the establishment of a women's commission. There is a state commission, North Carolina commission, and then each county is supposed to have one to determine the needs of women in that particular area, to make a needs assessment and to make recommendations to the County Board of Commissioners as to what they can do to help the plight of women. In essence I think that is about--it's a little nebulous there. They are meeting regularly, they've not done an awful lot, but they are organized and in place. They've had some problems getting started. They've had their own internal problems, but I still have hopes that it's going to function, perhaps even more than it's doing now. They do sort of ceremonial things. It's amazing, the people you find who are against these things. You'll find black people who find some arguments against rights for black people, you'll find women who are against progress for women--we don't need any or what not. We've had a lot of that to overcome. The younger women on the whole, however, are very aggressive. They're ready to move forward and I just think we're going to do a little bit more than we've done already.
KATHRYN NASSTROM:
Will the commission in the end come up with a set of recommendations?
JOSEPHINE CLEMENT:
They're supposed to. This is what they're supposed to do. For instance, I'll just use the example of battered women. Suppose there are no facilities in the county for that. They're supposed to keep up with the needs in the county and make recommendations to us. They've not really come up with very much along that line. Their own internal organization seems to have taken most of their time and their energy. But that is exactly what they're supposed to do.
KATHRYN NASSTROM:
So then it's hard to say at this point what will tangibly come out of . .
JOSEPHINE CLEMENT:
Right. I have hopes though.