The Work of Juanita Webb in Laundry
As the granddaughter of Thomas and Frances “Franny” Fruster, and grandmother of the first Fruster family Clemson graduate (Eric Young) Juanita G. Webb’s domestic service at Clemson brings us insight into the experiences of Black Women in the area at this time. Only two generations removed from slavery, Juanita Webb and the rest of her family remained in the Clemson area and became one of the first Black families to own land near Walhalla, SC before 1900.
With this history, Juanita Webb holds ties to the university before she begins working her first job in the Clemson College Laundry. At the young age of sixteen she filled the place her mother had in the Laundry when her mother grew too ill to continue working. Instead of ending her education here however, Webb continues to attend classes at Pendleton elementary school during the day then go to work in the afternoon where she would be folding sheets and towels for the cadets. When she received her check at the end of each week, the money earned went straight to her mother in support of her family.
Although Webb was unable to attend a segregated Clemson for a college degree, she would go on to receive a 10th grade education and hold numerous other jobs in the Clemson area. She is known for being a cook in the dining hall, a server and baker at the Clemson House Hotel, a server at Dan’s Sandwhich Shop in Clemson, a caretaker for former football coach Bobby Gates’ and Judge Walter Cox’s children, a piano part maker at the Pratt Read Corporation in Central, a janitor at all-white Calhoun High School and a housekeeper for other football coaches Covington McMillan and Les Herrin as well as Professor of Architecture Joseph Young among countless other occupations.
Juanita Webb’s service to the Clemson area does not end with her life however. Her descendants would also go on to contribute to the campus and community in ways that would further mark their presence in Clemson history forever.