The present study was designed to explore the multiple effects of institutional discrimination on individuals by examining the distinctive and interactive effects of racial and sexual prejudice and/or institutional discrimination on the coping styles of a small sample of older black women. The existence of the Black Women Oral History Project provided a unique opportunity to examine the perceptions and experiences of discrimination among a set of American black women 70 years of age and older who have made a significant contribution to the improvement of the lives of black people, especially in the 1940s and the 1950s. Examples from these accounts are presented and analyses discussed which suggest that direct instrumental coping may not be the strategy of choice in coping with experiences of discrimination. Rather, selected situational variables (the racial composition of the workplace and the type of discrimination identified) and personal factors (perceptions of the control of the outcome and of the source of the problem) interact and differentially predict either direct instrumental coping or flexibility in coping styles. The findings suggest further that in some contexts a less direct coping strategy may be more effective than a direct instrumental strategy in creatively confronting discrimination.