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Special Collections and Archives: Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: T

A guide to the Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project collection.

Tibbetts, Christine

Interviewee: Christine Tibbetts
Interviewer: Mary Jo Duncanson
Date of Interview: June 4, 2004
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 39 page transcript

Christine Tibbetts was born in 1948 in Somerville, New Jersey where she spent the majority of her childhood. After high school, she enrolled at the University of Missouri where she received a degree in journalism. It was only after she moved to Atlanta that she parlayed her work in journalism into political activism and implemented her investigative journalism skills to research and write on social, political and cultural issues. While living in Tifton, Georgia, Tibbetts was asked to help organize the ERA campaign in South Georgia. From 1972-1978, Tibbetts worked for the Georgia Association of Educators, producing many publications, including statewide news releases, pamphlets and manuals, and training educators throughout the state. In 1978, she founded her own business, Tibbetts Communications, a marketing and public relations firm with an emphasis on community development, the arts, tourism and travel, and non-profit organizational development. Throughout her years in Georgia, she has chaired numerous community organizations and also helped to support the arts in Tifton County. In 2003, Tibbetts received the First Place Award in the Domestic Newspaper Category by the North American Travel Journalists Association for her travel feature on the Lewis and Clark Trail.
Tibbets begins by discussing her family, her education, and the events that led her to Atlanta. She explains that her degree in journalism helped to guide her into a life of political activism. When Tibbets accepted a position in the communications department of the Georgia Association of Educators, part of her job entailed writing and educating Georgia’s teachers about legislators, lobbyists and political action. In 1978, Tibbets moved to Tifton, Georgia, and she recounts her experiences acclimatizing to the culture of the Bible Belt. She says that while she was trying to figure out what she was going to do in her new surroundings, she received a phone call asking her to help organize South Georgia for the Equal Rights Amendment, which she knew would be a “controversial course of action.” She started organizing by calling local teachers, planning speaking events at churches and other community outlets, and using the community of Tifton to organize support for the ERA. She explains how she was able to use the community as a public forum for interviewing political candidates and for providing access to the process, so that more women could get politically involved. Through the help of the Women’s Political Caucus and the AAUW, organizers in South Georgia were not only able to educate other women on political candidates and legislators, but also on how to use the political system to help elect supporters of women’s issues to local boards, such as the Board of Elections, the library board and others, in order to start making changes from the inside. Tibbets explains, “We founded a literacy program and set out goals there for people with a fourth grade or lower reading level…what we did was got ourselves on boards to make changes then wrote grants and built non-profits to make changes and, of course, brought in more people too.” She discusses how she was able to help diffuse some of the local resistance in the community against the ERA by aligning with Margaret Curtis and the People of Faith for the ERA organization. Tibbets provides an interesting depiction of the obstacles she faced in terms of organizing and bringing political awareness to the Women’s Movement and other controversial issues in the heart of the Bible Belt. Ultimately, she asserts that women in South Georgia were able to accomplish a great deal in the midst of active local resistance.

Tracy, Dorothy

Interviewee: Dorothy Tracy
Interviewer: Dana Von Tilborg 
Date of Interview: June 11, 1996
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 25 page transcript

Dorothy J. Tracy, activist, author, financial planner, and lobbyist, was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in 1920. She received a bachelor's degree in economics from Georgia State University in 1967, and went on to develop courses for GSU's Continuing Education Program (1978-1985) as well as write The ABC's of School Finance in Georgia (1983). She worked to establish the American Association of Retired Persons' (AARP) Money Management Workshops for Women (1987) which are taught nationwide, and she has served on the task force of marital property and taxes (1987-1988) with the League of Women Voters of Georgia. Tracy was a long time member and president (1975-1977) of the Atlanta/Fulton League of Women Voters, chair of the Georgia lottery study from 1991-1993, and Legislative Coordinator for the 1993 legislative session. An active participant in Georgia politics, Tracy was a lobbyist for the Atlanta Council for Children, 1979-1981; and legislative aide to Representative Eleanor Richardson, 1983-1990. She was legislative chair for the American Association of University Women for Atlanta and Georgia, 1983-1987 and 1992; a member of the Atlanta Civil Service Board, 1985-1994; and a board member for the Atlanta Regional Community Task Force on the Elderly, 1988. In 1995 Tracy served as chair of the AARP Legislative Committee. She has been honored with Outstanding Catholic Woman of Georgia from the Archdiocese of Georgia, 1977; the Community Service Award from the Atlanta Women's Chamber of Commerce, 1984; the Georgia Governor's Commendation, 1988; the League of Women Voter's Eudora Rogers Award for outstanding service, 1992-1993; and the YWCA's Salute to Women of Achievement, 1998.
Tracy discusses her childhood and education in Pittsburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and recounts that her “mother was very intent on women’s rights, that women were just as capable as men.” She goes on to talk about her courtship, marriage and early married life with her husband Jack Tracy. During this period, she joined the League of Women Voters, and became politically active. Tracy recounts that when her husband died (in 1963), she became particularly aware of the fact that women needed to be financially responsible for themselves. She goes on to say that as a student at Georgia State University, she was asked to teach a women’s financial planning community college-level course. Not surprisingly, her interests in the Women’s Movement were focused on women’s financial rights, and in particular taxation. Tracy discusses the way the Women’s Movement affected her personal life and in particular the lives of her children. She finishes by considering the accomplishments to the Women’s Movement: the greatest, she feels, is that women not only have access to professions previously closed to them, but that they also have a greater sense of their own worth.

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