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Detroy, Susan, 2018 September 12

Identifier: Coll520_do012
Oral history interview with Susan Detroy
Oral history interview with Susan Detroy


Susan was born in 1946 in Indiana. She grew up in a conservative family. Susan was a good student and loved dancing at an early age. She was bussed to school as a part of racial integration. She studied Spanish at DePauw University. She lived abroad in Spain, which opened her eyes to a different culture. She discusses the Cuban Missile Crisis. She taught in St. Louis for a while after college, and married a man. After divorce from her husband, she lived in a commune in Indiana. She traveled around in California, and visited Eugene in 1971 and decided to stay. Susan discusses the Growers Market, a not-for-profit food-buying club for buying organic and natural foods. She was involved in protesting the Vietnam War. She discusses the beginnings of the WOW Hall. She became interested in martial arts, which became her community. She discusses a commune near 12th Avenue and Monroe, called “Café de Poets,” with Tom Cooke and Laurie Shaw. Susan became a Head Start teacher in Creswell, which she found to be a very conservative place. In the mid-1980s, Susan lived with her partner in Marcola, where they were out to the community. At the University of Oregon, she took classes in photography, which captured her interest. Susan discusses her artwork. She discusses her work to combat the anti-gay ballot measures and the Oregon Citizens Alliance. During the campaigns, she went door-to-door, and had people yell at her. She had nightmares during the campaigns and was afraid at the Riviera Room, that someone would come in and shoot the customers. She started Lez Dance so lesbians could dance together. There were no “male” and “female” dancers; there was “lead and follow.” Susan concludes her interview by discussing the lesbian community in Eugene.

Key terms: Abortion; Amazon Kung Fu; Bars (Drinking establishments) -- Oregon – Eugene; Buckley, Florence; Cancer; Community Center for the Performing Arts; Consciousness-raising; Gertrude’s Café (restaurant); Maedl, Kathy; Perry’s; Photography; Racism; Veterans Memorial Building (Vet’s Club)


  • Creation: 2018 September 12

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Selected items are closed until Summer 2022 (Jodie Mooney) and 2028 (Wendy Woods).

Collection digital files may be requested through Special Collections and University Archives Reproductions Request Form or accessed online.


2 digital file(s)

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA