Page 15


Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto GR 7-4171 WE’RE OVERSTOCKED! on help, paper, ink, type, shipping charges, and utilities. “Everything must go sell to the walls.” TURA PRESS I C Hickory 2-8682 Hickory 2-2426 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE P. 0. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS Observations I kl*A”.A.A.A.A.AA Why was Lydia Pulsipher asked to resign as a social worker for the state in Bryan? An interesting question. Mrs. Pulsipher is a pretty, well-educated blonde, the 27-year-old wife of an economics professor at Texas A&M. She had scored, on the Texas Department of Public Welfare’s merit rating examination, 94.75 out of a possible 100. She suspects that she was ousted before she got properly started in her new job because she was one of about five liberals out of about 100 persons at the convention of precinct 13 in Bryan on May 7. She didn’t say a word, but her husband did, trying to get a resolution passed for a job safety law in Texas and that sort of thing. On May 19, at 10 a.m., she says, Harry K. Lesser, her supervisor, “comes to me out of a clear blue sky. He said he’d been thinking a long time, and it was ‘best you resign’.” She didn’t have the right attitude, he told her. He said she could leave at noon that same day, and they’d pay her through 5 p.m. Shocked, she demanded a written statement of reasons, and she says he refused to give it to her. “He said I was the best educated worker he’d ever had and had the best score he’d ever seen on the merit test,” Mrs. Pulsipher says. She recalls him telling her, ” ‘Maybe your education hampers you’.” She has a B.A. from Macalester College in Minnesota in history and political science, attended the University of Vienna a year in history and literature, and has completed all requirements toward her MA in Latin-American area studies, with her major field of study Negro anthropology, at Tulane University. Well, the next morning, Lesser presented the educated lady who made him uncomfortable with a filled-out evaluation form on just three of the cases she had worked on. Mrs. Pulsipher naturally does not know whether that precinct convention had anything to do with her dismissal. In his written comments about her work on May 20, Lesser said she had stated that “she cannot agree to agency policy of having to ask clients personal questions in order to establish their eligibility.” She says she didn’t say this, but had remarked to him that the New York Times had said it. Because the aid to dependent children program requires that children, to be eligible, must have been deprived of parental influence, a man cannot be sleeping with the mother of the children. The real motive of the state’s prying into whether AFDC mothers have lovers is to stop them from having children so they won’t cost the state so much welfare money. Mrs. Pulsipher says she was asking the necessary questions, but she had been encouraged by Lesser to discuss her views with him freely, and she had; he had not warned her, but had simply suddenly fired her. She had started with the agency in Bryan less than two months before. Mrs. Pulsipher acknowledges that she blanched at having to ask mothers if they were having intercourse and if so, with whom. “I would have gotten used to doing this. I was just trying to find a polite way to do it,” She says. Once, she said, a client came into the office, “and I went out to greet her. Lesser told me I was too friendly, too ‘buddy-buddy’.” In his report on her he wrote, “Worker-client relationship is June 10, 1966 13 The Case of Lydia Pulsipher AMERICAN INCOME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF INDIANA Underwriters of the American Income Labor Disability Policy Executive Offices: P.O. Box 208 Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, President