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Revision as of 19:33, 22 August 2016


Transcript and audio of oral history interview, Charleston, S.C., 2015 October 22
Interviewed by Jordan Hardee, Graduate Assistant, The Citadel History Department.
Transcript 29 p., 1 CD 51:25.
Susan K. Dunn (1951) was born in Murray, Kentucky. Her mother was a homemaker and her father, a World War II veteran, was a Methodist Church minister who was very active in the Civil Rights movement. Dunn attended Duke University from 1968 to 1972, and her whole college experience was deeply impacted by the anti-war movement. In this interview, Dunn remembers her days as a student, protesting in the Duke Campus, and marching to DC. After college she decided to become an attorney and attended the University Of North Carolina School Of Law in Chapel Hill. Although it was a predominately male environment she did not face discrimination or problems for being a woman. It was later, when she was looking for a job that she confronted more barriers related not only to her gender but also to the fact that she lacked family connections. After graduation she moved with her husband to Charleston and worked for a small local law firm for a while. Later, she opened her own practice focusing mainly in family law. In 1993, Dunn began litigating in a high profile case known as Ferguson et al V. City of Charleston et all which lasted for more than a decade and was decided by the United States Supreme Court. "It involved a legal challenge to a policy that was basically created by the Charleston City Police and the Medical University. It was a policy that dealt with drug-testing pregnant women and using the criminal procedure to force them into treatment or to arrest them." The Supreme Court held that the policy was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment. During all the years living and practicing law in Charleston Dunn has been involved in many causes directly related to protect and advance women's rights. Dunn has devoted her time and energy to many organizations, such as NOW (National Organization of Women), The South Carolina Women Lawyers' Association, and the City of Charleston Women Association. However, she affirms that "probably the place where I've affected more women is representing them in divorces and not charging them an arm and a leg and, you know, trying to, in one way that I could, help them get through that process with their dignity intact".In addition, Dunn worked as a lay minister at the Circular Church from 1999 to 2009. She explains that her church community is very important for her. Finally, Dunn reflects about her life as a mother and professional, and about what it means to her to be a feminist and a southern woman.


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