Outlining the two primary concerns of the YWCA
Lumpkin explains that the the YWCA was primarily concerned with two major issues: race relations and industrial conditions. Of particular interest here is Lumpkin's effort to describe how the YWCA approached these issues by forming collaborative groups that sought to incorporate voices of African American women and working women. Her comments reveal the awareness of the YWCA of potential tensions between women of divergent backgrounds and demonstrates their efforts to confront those tensions.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Katharine Du Pre Lumpkin, August 4, 1974. Interview G-0034. 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
- JACQUELYN HALL:
What were the major issues that the student YWCA was concerned with? You
mentioned anti-lynching legislation.
- KATHARINE DU PRE LUMPKIN:
They had two major interests, not necessarily in terms of issues. Two
major interests of a public interest kind, of an issues kind, were their
interest in race relations, including student interracial commission
work we got going, and the industrial conditions and industrial
relations. We not only set up student interracial groups of Negro and
white, we also established student-industrial groups. And I ran across a
little thing there which I also seem to have not
brought with me which dealt with how to make these groups more natural
and give-and-take. It was very difficult to bring about easy, friendly
and relaxed relations in student industrial groups. Usually these would
be focused in a student group from a college in a community where there
was a city YWCA so that there would be groups that would come out of
city YWCA groups. I mean industrial women who would come out of that and
sit down with the [student group]. So it would be an Industrial
secretary in a city YWCA collaborating with, if there was a college or
university there in the same, near or nearby community. Then we would go
in as staff people and work with them to establish these collaborative
groups. Then they would have exchange of students and industrial women
at their summer conferences. This kind of thing. And then, in the
college groups themselves, the local YWCAs in the colleges and
universities, they would become interested in all the legislative issues
and study them, advocate [legislation] if they wished to. And in our
summer conferences we would always deal with important legislation
effecting women and girls, child labor. These questions. Which could be
dealt with through state legislation and through federal legislation.
Minimum wage. All these issues of this kind. So I would say
that… of course, it depended on the period.