Susan Breslin was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1963, she joined The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in Harlem after graduating from the University of Toronto. In recalling her time with the organization, Breslin talks about the intense work she performed with the TV Image Campaign, a movement devised by CORE to force major companies to use integrated advertisement. She also discusses the significance of the August, 1963 March on Washington, stating, “I think everybody who participated in the March on Washington—and they came from everywhere—walked away knowing they were part of something huge.” Breslin’s interview dives into the rich depths of CORE’s history; specifically the evolution of its ideology. Breslin discusses the controversy that bubbled up when some CORE leaders advocated for separation instead of integration, and the resulting break that led her to leave the group in the fall of 1965. Breslin also shares her memories of major historical events such as the funerals of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. She reflects on how her participation in the civil rights movement impacted her personal relationships, discusses the emotional quality of those times, and encourages her audience to find the issue of their time and become involved. Breslin believes, as she says, “Every little step creates controversy, but the controversy does not last. What lasts is the door that has been opened.” Later, Breslin moved to South Carolina, and now resides in Folly Beach, where she continues to be active in local political issues.
Jacquelyn Elaine Venning was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where she spent most of her life. Venning describes being raised in a Christian family and her experience in private schools, including Sacred Heart Catholic School and Bishop England, where she was educated until eleventh grade. Venning graduated from Burke High School in 1983. Venning recalls her first job as a shampoo girl, which she got in sixth grade and continued to work at through her schooling. After high school, Venning relates how she fell in love and got married. Her husband then joined the military, which relocated them around the world. Venning describes her experience living internationally in Germany, and in Texas and Georgia before returning to Charleston in 1992. Since then, she has been working with Aramark at The Citadel, first serving in the Mess Hall and later serving as a supervisor in the Daniel Library Java City. In her interview, Venning recalls her apprehension of working in The Citadel’s male-only environment. But she states that her fears quickly dissipated and describes the cadets as having always been gentle and respectful with her and her job enjoyable. Venning recounts the many institutional changes she has experienced during her than twenty-plus years working at The Citadel, including the deeply controversial admission of Sharon Faulkner to the school and later the full inclusion of women to the Corps. Venning concludes with how the food industry has changed over the years and the attempts to unionize The Citadel food workers.