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Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell

Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell

Descriptive Summary

Title: Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell
Creator: Weeks, Lorena, 1929-
Inclusive Dates: 1966-2009
Language(s): English
Extent: 1 box(es) (.25 linear feet), including 1 photograph
Collection Number: RBRL263LWSB
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.

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 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.

Related Readings:

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.

Scope and Content

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.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared on: 2010.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Roberts, Sylvia M. (Sylvia Mae), 1937-
Sex discrimination.
Weeks, Lorena, 1929-
Women's rights.

Related Collections in this Repository

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

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Marguerite Rawalt Papers, Schlesinger Library, Harvard University

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

11Letters from publishers, including letters to Weeks from two publishers requesting information and materials about her case against Southern Bell, 1995
12Miscellaneous correspondence, including correspondence from various people including NOW members, a personal account by Weeks, and clippings, 1971-1975
13Sylvia Roberts letters, including correspondence between Sylvia Roberts, Weeks and others regarding Weeks' sex discrimination case against Southern Bell, 1969-1979
14Clippings, about weeks and other women facing sex discrimination, and an article about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act of 2009, 1969-1971, 1987, 2009
15Marguerite Rawalt, including letters by Rawalt and others, clippings regarding her involvement in the Weeks case, and letters to Weeks from Judith Peterson, 1969-1986
16Interviews, including transcript of an interview with Weeks for NHK, with accompanying letter, and undated draft of Weeks' testimony, 1999, undated
17Court proceedings, including legal documents and correspondence pertaining to the Weeks case, such as original complaint to Weeks' union, her testimony, and copy of 1979 settlement, 1966-1980
18Southern Bell, including letters and documents from Southern Bell, Weeks, NOW and others related to Weeks' employment at Southern Bell and court case. Also includes an Equal Opportunity booklet by Southern Bell from 1973, and photographs of Weeks and her workplace, [1963-1979]
19Emory University, University of Georgia, including letters to Weeks regarding her involvement in women's rights workshops at Emory University and the University of Georgia, a letter from Sylvia Roberts to Emory University, and a program schedule, 1975
110Lorena W. Weeks in C.D.O., Wadley, GA before ofc. was made ESS. [?] is a step by step ofc., undated. (1 (3.35x4.25") b/w)