In 1947, Lorena Weeks went to work for Southern Bell Telephone Company as an operator. Twenty years later, she applied for a promotion at her longtime employer, for the position of a switchman, which 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, brought her case before Judge Griffin Bell in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Weeks finally won her case on appeal 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. Above: Image of Lorena Weeks in her position as a switchman in Wadley, Georgia
Left: Ms. Weeks posed with a sign advertising her oral history screening at the Russell Library.
The Russell Library is open for research from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of University holidays. For further information on the Lorena Weeks Files related to Weeks v. Southern Bell, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (706) 542-5788.