Browse Exhibits (8 total)

The Next Step: Clemson as an out-of-state student

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At our current state in society, students are often expected to attend college once they finish high school to become successful in their careers and lives as they mature. However, the college process offers many different things for students to consider before they decide to attend and dedicate their life to for four years. Students may still live home and go to their classes, they may live in on-campus dormitories, or they may cross state bounds and find a more worthwhile experience in an out-of-state college.

Rebellion and Insurrection: How the 'Lost Cause' Affected Clemson College

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The early years of Clemson College were plagued with walkouts, strikes, and rebellion. Could this be chalked up to teenage mischief or something deeper? Clemson University Senior Jacob D. Kea analyzes the culture of the South following the Civil War and how the 'Lost Cause' impacted Clemson College. 

The Chattooga River in Oral History and Beyond

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A combination of interviews and other sources provide a scope into the iconic nature of the crown jewel of the Southeastern United States river system, the Chattooga River.

The Road to Civil Rights in Charleston, South Carolina: Integration, Protest, and Strikes

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In the twenty-first century, when millenials hear, “March on Washington,” they may think the protest is about that bringing awareness to unfair laws regarding foreign policies, transgenders, homosexuals, immigrants, women, and minorities. The March on Washington of 1963 started the protest that constantly reoccurs now at the Lincoln Memorial. My Grandmother, Gwendolyn Milton Jordan, participated in the March on Washington, when she was 14 years old. In this oral interview I will talk to my Grandmother about her experience with the March on Washington, the Charleston Hospital Strike, and her racial experience growing up living in Charleston, South Carolina. My Research is about the determination that three African-American women held in order to gain their civil rights in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1960’s. My interviewees are my grandmother, Gwendolyn Jordan, Emily R. Nelson, and Jean Smalls



Experiences of Black Female Custodial Staff at Clemson

Custodial workers, are defined as groups of people who have, “Assigned responsibilities involving the care and cleaning of a state institution, public building, or state lodge or in the supervision or management of employees performing these duties.” Every day, they wake up sometimes as early as 6 a.m. in the morning and travel to various locations to perform jobs that the average American would never dream of. The requirements to work these jobs usually state a need for a high school diploma or GED. According to chron.com, the national average of pay for custodial work is about $11.94, with the yearly salary being anywhere $24, 840.00 to $26, 030.00. Often, the people who are responsible for ensuring that students, employers, and visitors have a clean place to eat and sit, almost always get overlooked. Custodial work can be viewed as an unwanted job, and sometimes these people can be looked down upon. There are varying ethnic groups that make up custodial work, which is why this research paper is being conducted. Here at Clemson University, there are hundreds of custodial workers who daily tasks include cleaning residence halls, buildings, offices etc. Most of these workers are African-American and have worked these jobs generationally. For this project, the focus was on a certain sect of custodial workers which are the black females. The goal was to understand who they were, their job description, and their overall experience.

Clemson University was established in 1889 as a land grant institution founded by Thomas Green Clemson. Some of the most well-known information is that the school was founded on the plantation of Fort Hill and was built off the backs of black convict labors. Fast forward to well over a century today, and you have an integrated premier school in the South for agricultural and engineering and other forms of applied science. Clemson has earned recognition for having the best football team in the nation, the best school spirit, but most importantly having an amazing group of faculty and staff. Most people think that only students and professors can make a school run, but that is not the case. Some of the most important people who often get overlooked is the custodial staff. The custodial staff is the primary reason this school can operate, they ensure that each building and classroom is up to standard. In the dorms, sometimes they can serve as friend or confidant to a student who is a few miles, and several states away from home. The reason I was inspired to write this oral history project, mainly had to do with my family working as custodial workers for Clemson University. My grandmother, as well as my cousins and aunts dedicated much of their life to keeping Clemson a clean and adequate space for students and faculty to us. I am almost certain their work has gone unnoticed, but I decided to let them tell their stories and what their experience was like as a Black Female Custodial staff member here at Clemson University.

One of the first people interviewed for this project was C.W. C.W. is widowed and has been at Clemson University almost twelve years. Ms. W is a custodial worker in Hardin Hall and ultimately states that she enjoys her jobs. In Hardin Hall you can always see her cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping the floors, and interacting with students and faculty. Sometimes the students are not that interactive and sometimes the morning schedule can get busy, but Ms. W stated that is the only downfall of the job. For the most part she enjoys what she does for a living. Since she is currently still employed, for this project she was granted anonymity. The next person interviewed for this research paper was Cassandra Earle. Ms. Earle is also single, and worked at Clemson almost twenty-two years, the longest out of all interviewees. In Ms. Earle’s interview she stated that her starting salary was only $3.45 an hour, and she only brought home about $200.00 every two weeks. She noted that one of her struggles as a custodial worker came from being mistreated by other black workers. Ms. Earle said that once other black custodial workers were promoted to positions of power that they discriminated against other blacks. Coming into this interview I had a prejudged opinion that most discrimination came from the white faculty or students, but as Ms. Earle clarified it also equally came from other workers who looked just like her. The last interview conducted took place with Mrs. Gloria Earle, sister in law to Cassandra. Mrs. Gloria worked at Clemson University almost 16 years, starting at $6.00 an hour.  When she left this past February, she was earning nearly double that. Though her interview was very quick, Mrs. Gloria stated that she enjoyed her as a custodial worker and was treated rather fairly by students and staff. She stated that if she had to be remembered years from now she would want to be known for being an easy to get along with person.

In conclusion, after conducting this project I realized there is so much more to Clemson than its outside views to the world. Clemson is made up of so many different diverse backgrounds of people, people who somehow and some way contribute to bettering the school. If it were not for the labor of black convicts the university would not have been built. If it were not for the labor of our custodial workers Clemson University could not run its everyday tasks. It really takes a village, and the women interviewed were phenomenal in the way they impacted Clemson during their time here. There are still so many more stories to get, but for now these will do.

 Bibliography:

Parker, Mike. "Average Pay for a Custodial Worker in a Hospital." Work - Chron.com, http://work.chron.com/average-pay-custodial-worker-hospital-6319.html. Accessed 15 December 2018.

Preserving Appalachian Tradition: Local Folk Music

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This exhibit attempts to recreate the cultural and emotional attachment to regional folk music and historical tradition, as it attends to several essential elements valued by the local folk music community. 

Mill Villages of Greenwood and Ninety-Six, South Carolina

In this collection: an oral and local history of Greenwood and Ninety-Six Mill Villages is examined and recorded. The stories here are those of the great-grandson of a mill's owner, the daughter of a mill supervisor, and a mill worker. 

Remembering The J.C. Stribling Barn & Plantation, Circa 1822

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In this exhibit, the J. C. Stribling Barn & Plantation located in Clemson, South Carolina is examined for the historical role it has played at the local and state level. For it is that our history is not bygone, nor is it some fading notion of that which once was, here where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness the past is. This exhibit elucidates details about the life of the properties most prominent inhabit, Jesse Cornelius Stribling as well as the property.