AAUW LUBBOCK HISTORY
AAUW Lubbock was one of the ten local community groups or branches that formed before 1926 when the state (AAUW TX) organized. In December 1925, after Texas Technological College had opened that fall, a group of faculty women, who had been active members of AAUW in other cities, called an organizing meeting in the college cafeteria. The group also included schoolteachers–some of them former AAUW members, several town women, and wives of college faculty members. The group was chartered in 1926.
The list of charter members resembles a list of Who¹s Who of the early leaders of Texas Tech — professors, heads of departments, deans, and wives of deans–Doak, Leidigh, Dingus, Gates, Erwin, Weeks, etc. When the local group organized, Texas Tech graduates could not be members of the new branch because the college was not approved by AAUW (then called the Association of Collegiate Alumnae). Criteria or approval standards for an institution included: a commitment to treat its women faculty and staff equally with its male employees; facilities for women students, and representation of women on boards of trustees. The branch began its road to AAUW accreditation in 1946.
Twenty-three years after the branch was chartered, AAUW recognized Texas Tech, making it possible for Tech graduates to be members of the national organization. Dean James J. Allen wrote that this approval was the first step in the process toward other special recognitions that come usually only to the oldest and most highly respected colleges and universities.
THE EARLY YEARS (1926-65)
Lubbock¹s early AAUW interests were the betterment of education and social companionship. Members studied and took action on social, economic, and political issues. The Lubbock branch has usually followed Association’s lead in its mission of equity for women, education and self-development over the life span, and positive societal change; as well as its topics (Education, Community, Cultural Interests, and International Relations) and issues (Equity for Girls).
The branch had standing committees on legislation, fellowships, economic and legal status of women, social studies, education, international relations, and consumerism. Interest groups focused on child development, book discussions, dramatic arts, fine arts, and recreation. In 1940 the Consumer Group had a unique program–the college veterinarian demonstrated cuts of meat by cutting up half a beef at a meeting of the interest group.
THE LATER YEARS (1966-2004)
Membership rose to 299 in 1955 before the branch started a decline in the mid-1960s. At that time, AAUW Lubbock was taking less action on issues, and other organizations and institutions were taking more actions for community betterment that were once initiated by AAUW. In the 1980s a schism developed within the membership over some AAUW positions, and by the mid l990s, lack of leaders to take the helm resulted in the branch being inactive for several months. In 1996, a Steering Committee of Texas Tech related women, sparked by Shirley McManigal and Betty Anderson, revived the group. In the 21st century, the branch is actively working to further Association principles.
AAUW LUBBOCK AND ASSOCIATION PRINCIPLES
In 1989, AAUW published “Historical Principles, 1881-1989.” Six areas were identified as AAUW principles—Education; Individual Rights; Government; Labor, Health and Human Services; Arts and Humanities; and Global Interdependence.
Education and Government.—For four decades child development study groups were of great interest to many members. The topic was a successful recruiting tool, and many joined AAUW after attending the child development study groups. In 1940 AAUW petitioned for establishment of kindergartens in public schools. There were also interest groups on elementary and adolescent education and educational standards.
In 1927 when the Association launched its first million dollar fellowships fund, Lubbock AAUW helped make the campaign a success. In 1935 AAUW started adult education classes in the “Mexican section” of Lubbock. There were classes in music, homemaking, home management, and care of children, as well as monthly community meetings for general instruction and entertainment. In 1943, AAUW began to work with “Negro” nursery school coordinators to make a detailed survey as the basis for cooperation of women’s organizations to assist in developing larger and better-equipped nursery schools for Negro children.
In 1992, after AAUW published “Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America,” a roundtable of community leaders met to discuss the status of gender equity in the local schools. Later in that decade, the branch sponsored a Sister to Sister Summit where girls ages 12-16 talked to each other about issues that affect their lives but are not always adequately addressed by schools–sexual harassment, violence, early sexual activity, substance abuse, and body image .
In 2000 AAUW began its co-sponsorship of Kid Smart to promote communication about sexuality to preteens. Individual Rights and Labor, Health and Human Services, –The branch has lobbied for women’s rights, jury service for women, equal pay, the Equal Rights Amendment, consumer protection and reproductive choice.
In 1939, the Social Studies Committee, chaired by charter member Georgia Dingus, conducted a survey on age, pay, and number of employed, salaried women. Salaries ranged from $40 to $450 a month. “Women worked as elevator girls to ranch management, banking and office holding.” The women surveyed represented 111 different types of employment. The 50 women who worked on the survey concluded that marriage was not necessarily a handicap to employment. Latin Professor Dingus reported the success of business women by quoting Vergil’s estimate of women two millennia ago–varium et mutable femina–women’s facility is nimble and varied.
Forty-nine years later, in 1988, AAUW conducted a nationwide Association survey, “Women’ Work/Women’s Worth: Time to Care.” The respondents reported that the demands of paid work, unpaid care giving of children and aging parents, and volunteer community work, left no time for themselves. Problems, such as scheduling medical appointments and balancing finances to cover care for children and aging parents were major concerns of working women.
Arts and Humanities. And Global Interdependence—There was a dearth of cultural activities in early Lubbock, and AAUW filled that gap. During the 1930’s to 1950s, lectures were sponsored for the community. E.g., John Lomax on “Cowboy Ballads and Songs,” and columnist H. R. Knickerbocker on “Present (1941) Situation in Europe,” were featured speakers. AAUW also sponsored several plays by the Barter Players repertory group of Virginia.
International relations has been a priority for the branch. AAUW women exerted an important influence in the international arena in the Lubbock community. International Relations Conferences were conducted in 1927, 1930, and 1941, and international speakers from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Italy, were made available to the public. In 1929, Georgia Dingus wrote the International Relations materials for Association convention in Boston. In 1936 a series of radio programs on “Harmonizing the Faces of War and Peace, Can Women Influence the Attitudes Toward War and Peace?” was widely acclaimed.
The branch’s surveys and studies on crucial community issues were many–status of foreign born in Lubbock, educational needs, community arts, and dropouts among girls. The branch was the catalyst for many community accomplishments–passage of city ordinances in health and community planning, City/County library system, construction of the Lubbock Women’s Club, and establishment of kindergartens.
In the 1940s, AAUW furnished a dayroom for a “colored” squadron at the local air force base, and a United Service Organization (USO) certificate was awarded to the Lubbock branch in grateful recognition of Distinguished War Service in cooperation with the USO. In 1991 the branch received the J. C. Penney Golden Rule award for the volunteer project, Blue Ribbon Awareness Campaign on School Age Pregnancy
Members have served on state and/or Association Boards during each decade since 1929. They include Georgia Dingus, Grace Padley, Ivy Savage, Glenda Keyton, Betty Anderson and Shirley McManigal, and many more. Anniversary celebrations were held for the 20th, 40th, and 60th. The 80th anniversary of AAUW Lubbock was celebrated in 2005.
–History by the late Betty Anderson
UPDATE for 2004-2013
In 2006, Lane Powell and Joy Vann attended an AAUW TX State Convention in El Paso. From information gathered at this convention, Joy and Lane proposed and created the Mother-Daughter Program as a Branch project. The M-D Program, involving sixth-grade girls and their mothers, has grown from one school—O.L. Slaton (the pilot), to three schools—O.L. Slaton, Atkins, and Smylie Wilson. (The girls would be the first generation in their family planning to attend college.) The program involves the Lubbock Independent School District and Texas Tech University (the T-STEM Center, Colleges of Engineering, Business, Education, Human Sciences, and departments of Geosciences and Chemistry). At the end of each year (May), the girls and their mothers are honored with a celebration banquet for their completion/participation in the program; each year has graduated over 25 sixth-grade girls. As of 2013, the program is in its eighth year and still very successful!
The branch has worked on the Get Out the Vote program to encourage members of the local community to vote. Members of AAUW Lubbock Branch are constant supporters of AAUW’s Educational Opportunities Funds and the Legal Advocacy Fund.
–added by Lucy Barrington (09/2013)