Susan Grant Interview
Harper, Zenobia (Interviewer)
Susan Grant is a native of Georgetown, South Carolina. Her parents were Mary Green Davis (daughter of Sarah Largees) and Joe Davis. Her mother went to nursing school after she had children to make a better living, and often left Susan and her six siblings to do the chores. Grant often insisted on challenging the rules of segregation in Georgetown, and she was escorted out of a pharmacy for sitting at the soda counter. Though she struggled at Howard School because of undiagnosed dyslexia, she found a way of working with understanding teachers. When Susan was 14, she began working as an assistant at Georgetown Hospital, even though her mother and classmates would work at the beach cleaning houses. She refused to do housework, and she was encouraged by Dr. Foster, who worked at the hospital. She moved to New York City, had a job as a file clerk, but then enrolled in barber school when she realized there was no growth potential. She was the first woman to ask to take the exam to be a licensed barber, and she excelled at both exams, then she worked her way into a career as a woman barber. After her divorce, she returned to Georgetown, and managed to become the first woman (and black woman) to become a crane operator at the steel mill using some of the lessons on hard labor that her grandmother taught her. Even though she received death threats by her coworkers at the steel mill, she persisted to find one of the best-paying jobs. Her stories all showcase how strong-willed and powerful she was to make opportunities for herself in circumstances that would discount her because of her race or gender. She credits the women in her life, her two grandmothers, both of whom she described as fearless "but in different ways." She mentions her connection to Plantersville through her Grandmother Sarah, and how some individuals from Plantersville would come and stay in the house while visiting Georgetown. She mentions that she felt the spirit of family at Chicora Wood Plantation, the same feeling she had in Ghana.
Plantersville (S.C.)--History;Georgetown (S.C.)--History;Georgetown County (S.C.)--Economic conditions;Georgetown County (S.C.)--Race relations;Women employees--United States--Economic conditions;African Americans--Employment--South Carolina;Gullahs--South Carolina--Interviews;Gullahs--Plantersville (S.C.)--Interviews;Grant, Susan Davis;Plantersville (S.C.)
This interview is protected by the copyright of the interviewee and The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University. Any form of alteration, reproduction or commercial use of the interviews or other material is prohibited without the written consent of both the interviewee and a representative of The Athenaeum Press. Citations for scholarly purposes must clearly acknowledge the name of the interviewee, the date and The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University.
Grant, Susan Davis and The Athenaeum Press, "Susan Grant Interview" (2021). Plantersville Oral Histories, 2019-2021. 9.