Joyce Loretta Richardson, class of 1963


Joyce Loretta Richardson begins her interview by discussing the experiences and people that led her to apply to and attend Pembroke College. She cites experiences such as going to boarding school, having a high achieving family, rejection from Radcliffe, and her fear of swimming. She contrasts her experience at boarding school with her arrival to Pembroke, discussing the stereotypical “Penny Pembrokers,” encountering racism for the first time, and being shocked into silence. She explains the extent to which gender and racial issues were not identified and the suppression she felt. More positively, Richardson discusses friendship and support of the Protestant Ministry. She goes on to describe the professors and experiences that pushed her to major in American civilization, her archival and history work, and activities and work study. She also mentions Brown’s reputation as a drinking school.

Richardson explains that it was at Pembroke that she decided she wanted to be a social worker. She speaks to her path to social work, what it meant to assimilate, living in an essentially female world, and the lack of social and political discourse. Richardson concludes by discussing feeling like a survivor, having her self-esteem undermined, her financial naiveté, going back to school, and the beginnings of her career.

Part 1

Part 2


Recorded on March 22, 1995 via telephone at the Pembroke Center, Brown University, Providence, RI
Interviewed by Derria Byrd

Suggested Chicago style citation: Richardson, Joyce Loretta. Interview. By Derria Byrd. Pembroke Center Oral History Project, Brown University. March 22, 1995.


Joyce Loretta Richardson was raised in Washington, D.C. She attended a competitive boarding school on a scholarship from the National Scholarship Fund for Negro Students, before joining the Pembroke Class of 1963. There, she studied American Civilization and participated in the Newman Club, Baseball team, and Catholic Interracial Council. After graduation, she completed graduate studies in social work in order to supplement her career in the field.