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Transcript and audio of oral history interview, Charleston, SC., 2013 November 19
Interviewed by Jordan Hardee, Graduate Assistant, The Citadel History Department.
Transcript 34 p., 1 CD 1:14:19.
Carol Tempel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1941 to first generation Polish and German- Czechoslovakian parents. Her father was a Roman Catholic Democrat and her mother a Missouri Synod Lutheran Republican. She credits her parents' experiences as the foundation for her understanding of civil rights; " I think those experiences are really the thing that helped me understand what the civil-rights movement was all about, what discrimination was all about, what prejudice was all about, because it was founded on knowing people as people." Her father encouraged her to attend college and pursue a career in science even when in 1963 it was an uncommon career choice for a woman. She graduated from Augustana College, majoring in Biology and Secondary Education. Later she pursued a master's degree in Biology and completed her PhD in Educational Leadership. In the interview, Tempel tells about the times when she was denied employment despite her qualifications because of her gender. In 1978, Tempel moved with her husband, George Tempel, and children from Kansas to Charleston. Tempel remembers feeling she was "an anomaly" among the other women. She joined the League of Women Voters and soon was deeply involved in the Equal Rights Movement. She tells about the efforts to reform the legislation in South Carolina, the criticism she received in her own community because of her activism, and finally the frustration when despite all the hard work in 1982 the legislation did not pass. Tempel never stopped working in the community; from ‘82 to ‘88 she served as a chair of the James Island Constituent School Board and was the owner of a small business. In '88, she was hired by Charleston County Schools as curriculum specialist and she worked with the school district in many different capacities until her retirement. She is the president of the American Association of University Women of South Carolina. In the interview, Tempel reflects about the motivations behind her activism, her biggest accomplishments, and what means for her to be a feminist and a southern woman.


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