Women’s Issues to be Discussed at William Woods

A discussion about women’s issues in society, led by the Women of Worley Manor, will be held at William Woods University Tuesday (March 25). The event, at 7 p.m. in Aldridge Lounge, is part of Women’s History Month.


The Women of Worley Manor is a reference to Mabel Worley, a Black woman in Tennessee, who won a home improvement contest in 1928. She altered Worley Manor, a “rather unattractive” two-story “I” house with a central gable, into a “beautiful Southern colonial” home with gleaming white columns. Worley sold flowers, vegetables and poultry, kept boarders and worked as a stenographer to earn improvement funds.


Founded by Verna Harris-Laboy, the Women of Worley Manor unites a group of ethnically diverse women to combat media deception of beauty and encourage one another. Harris-Laboy and several members will talk about their group and what they have learned.


Harris-Laboy is a longtime Columbia, Mo., community activist. Best known as the founder of the Smithton Valley Neighborhood Association, she has worked with almost a dozen community organizations, ranging from the Police Department Community Action Team to the mayor’s Race Relations Task Force.