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Special Collections and Archives: Activist Women Oral History Project: B

Barnhill, Sandra

Interviewee: Sandra Barnhill
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: August 7, 2014
Extent:

 



Biography:
Sandra Barnhill earned her BA in political science at Georgia State University (1982), and her J.D. at the University of Texas (1984). From 1983 to 1987, she served as a staff attorney for the Southern Prisoners’ Defense Committee. In this role, she represented indigent prisoners in class action challenges to prison conditions and in post-conviction challenges on capital convictions. During this time, Barnhill became frustrated by the lack of support given to imprisoned mothers and their families. In 1987, she founded Foreverfamily (originally named Aid to Imprisoned Mothers (AIM)), which is a nonprofit  Atlanta-based organization advocating for inmate parents and their children. In 2004, the Ford Foundation  recognized Barnhill for her outstanding leadership efforts.

 

Bevington, Paula Lawton

Interviewee: Paula Lawton Bevington
Interviewer: Amanda Brown (Pellerin)
Date of Interview: October 20, 2006
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs

 

 

 

Biography:
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Paula Lawton Bevington was the eldest of three children. She attended an all girl’s high school, and went on to attend St. Mary’s College and Yale Law School. After completing her law degree, she relocated to Atlanta, where her father had established the Georgia International Life insurance company. She took a job at the firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, then applied for a Fulbright Scholarship, as well as a placement in the Peace Corps. Bevington attained the Peace Corps position and began working in Washington D.C., but not long after also received the Fulbright Scholarship, which relocated her to Venezuela. Her time in Venezuela was cut short when she contracted Hepatitis A, but once she had recovered, she continued to travel by embarking on a solo trip around the world. Upon her return to the United States, she met and married Milton Bevington, and the couple moved to Wisconsin, where, for several years, she focused on their eight children. They eventually returned to Atlanta, and in 1974 Milton started Servidyne, an energy engineering company. In 1980, Bevington joined the project, and the business flourished. The year after Servidyne became a subsidiary of Abrams Industries (2001), Bevington left the company, and in 2003, she began working as the vice president of Development for SciTrek.

Bevington has also been actively involved with a number of organizations, including the Atlanta Legal Aid Society,  Atlanta’s Junior League, the American Red Cross, Emory’s Friends of Music, the Georgia Human Relations Commission, the Georgia Council for International Visitors, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, UNICEF- Atlanta, the Yale Club of Georgia, and the Rotary Club of Atlanta. She was also a board member of the World Trade Center Atlanta, the Society of International Business Fellows, and Georgia Chamber of Commerce. She has received many awards, including Saint Mary’s College Distinguished Alumna Award, the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center Community Award, the Claven Award, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Outstanding Service Award, the Roz Cohen Community Action Award, and the NCCJ Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award. Bevington is an alumni of Leadership Atlanta.


Abstract:
Paula Lawton Bevington begins by talking about her early family life, which was spent in Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota. She attended St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame, Indiana. She then did graduate work at Middlebury College in Vermont, before being awarded a law degree from Yale Law School. Bevington discusses her first job working for the law firm of Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan. She talks about going to Venezuela on a Fulbright Scholarship during a period of intense social unrest. She used her time there to travel extensively in South America. She speaks about returning to Atlanta and meeting her future husband Milton Bevington, who had three sons from a previous marriage. She was heavily involved in volunteer work, and she talks at length about some of the many organizations she has worked with, particularly the Junior League. She and Milton founded the energy company, Servidyne, and she discusses their many years running that firm. After they sold the company, she started working as a professional fundraiser, first for the museum, Scitrek, and later for the Marcus Institute. Bevington addresses her views of feminism as a feminist, and she speaks about the origins of her personal beliefs. She then talks about how organizations which she has been involved with shaped her worldview and outlook. Bevington discusses various dynamics of working within organizations, such as dissent, conflict, and the problem of succession. She ends the interview by speaking about the importance of men developing feminist viewpoints, and the necessity of partnership within marriage.

 

Biloon, Audrey

Interviewee: Audrey Biloon
Interviewer: Tanya Washington
Date of Interview: May 20, 2009
Extent: 2 compact discs; 72 page transcript

 

 

 

Biography:
A former social worker, radio personality, and lawyer in private practice, Audrey Biloon is currently the Pro Bono Externship Placement Director at Savannah Law School. Biloon holds a JD from Mercer University School of Law in Macon, GA, and Masters in Social Work  from the University of Washington, in Seattle, WA, and a BA and an MAT from Washington University in St. Louis.

Abstract:
Audrey Biloon begins the interview by discussing how she met her first husband, David Bisno. She speaks at length about their marriage, its conflicts, and their eventual divorce. Biloon and Bisno had a long and bitter custody battle over their two children, which eventually made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court. Biloon discusses how she believes one of her early lawyers worked a backroom deal in her ex-husband’s favor and that resulted in her losing custody of her children. Biloon immediately hired a new lawyer, Margie Pitts Hames, who had argued Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade. Biloon talks about how Hames was able to get her custody case overturned on appeal. The custody case had been initiated when Biloon moved with her two children from Atlanta to Macon in order to attend law school at Mercer University. She continued to work on her law degree throughout her legal battles, and eventually practiced law herself. She talks about the difficulties that sexism within the legal system creates for women. As a lawyer she continued to experience sexism and ends her interview by discussing injustice and the legal system.

 

Boothe, Nancy N.

Interviewee: Nancy N. Boothe
Interviewer: Amanda Brown
Date of Interview: July 3, 2007
Extent: 3 audio cassettes; 3 compact discs

 

Biography:
Nancy N. Boothe RN, MS, LPC received her undergraduate nursing degree at the Medical College of Georgia and completed her graduate work in counseling at Troy University. Her career spans 30 years of healthcare service as a nurse, therapist, hospital administrator, and Quality Iprovement Consultant. As the Executive Director of the Atlanta Feminist Women's Health Center, she has presented internationally promoting positive women's health policy. She has commented that the "degree of violence perpetuated against women worldwide is limited only by that which their government refuses to tolerate and when the community says "no more."

Abstract:
Nancy Boothe opens her oral history by describing her childhood, being raised by eccentric parents on a farm in rural Alabama. She recalls that she was influenced by her mother’s involvement in politics, and this interest first manifested itself when she joined Teenage Republicans in High School and went on to be President of Student Government during her time at Mastin School of Nursing. She recalls that the first two issues she was passionate about were the pro-choice movement and the opposition to the Vietnam War. Boothe talks about her time in the military, during which time, she had to cope with the loss of a fiancé. She states that she was raped while working in the VA Mental Hospital, and that this life-changing event piqued her interest in women’s rights. Boothe talks about her post-army graduate education at Troy State University in Counseling, as well as becoming the Program Director for Vindell Clinic. She knew that her interests lied in pro-choice advocacy and women’s rights, and she discusses her transition into becoming the Executive Director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center. She highlights the numerous challenges she has faced while working at the health center, including struggling to provide illegal abortions, dealing with a national practicing without a license case, leading clinical trials for the drug Mifeprex, and dealing with numerous clinic break-ins. Boothe details her participation in both the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995 as well as the 8th International Women’s Health Conference in 2000. She closes her oral history by discussing her involvement in groups such as NOW, Feminist Majority, and the Feminist Abortion Network.

Bryant, Linda

Interviewee: Linda Bryant
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: September 29, 2005
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 35 page transcript

Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: November 3, 2005
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 63 page transcript

 

Biography:
Linda Bryant was born in 1948 in Paducah, Kentucky. Growing up as an "Army brat," Bryant moved around a lot during her childhood. She attended Oklahoma Baptist University before graduating from the University of Florida, where she was active in Young Life. While she was working as an English teacher at Walker High School, Bryant dreamed of owning a bookstore, and with the help of a few friends this became a reality. She teamed up with Barbara Borgman, and in 1974 they found a location in Little Five Points for their store, Charis Books and More - one for the first feminist bookstores in the country. While running and growing the store, Bryant took graduate classes at Candler School of Theology and Georgia State University, and eventually got her master’s degree from Candler, but dropped the program at Georgia State. She also adopted and raised a baby boy. Bryant served on the board for the Gay and Lesbian Youth Funding Initiative for the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, and this influenced her to start Charis Circle, a non-profit organization committed to maintaining social justice. Bryant still works closely with both Charis Books and More and Charis Circle, and continues her work in social justice philanthropy.

Abstract, September 29, 2005:
Linda Bryant begins her interview by discussing her childhood. She was born in Paducah, Kentucky, but her father was in the Army, and as a result, they moved around a lot. She had a religious upbringing, and eventually attended Oklahoma Baptist College. She later transferred to the University of Florida, in part, to become involved with the Christian youth group, Young Life. She speaks about the influence that Young Life had upon her, and the many important friendships that she developed in that organization. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia to continue working with Young Life, and she talks about the work she did with students. She enrolled in graduate programs at both Emory and Georgia State Universities, and she discusses her reasons for doing so. At the same time, she and two other women opened a non-profit bookstore called Charis Books in the Little Five Points neighborhood. Bryant talks about the original focus of the store, which was to specialize in children’s, women’s, and spirituality books. She speaks about their non-profit status, which was supported by an education reform group called Exodus Incorporated. Not long after starting Charis, Bryant was asked to take in a three month old baby. Despite being single, in graduate school, and running a bookstore, Bryant accepted the baby, and she talks about some of the challenges she faced as an adoptive mother. After a few years, Charis shifted into more of a feminist/lesbian focused bookstore, though they continued to grow in the genres that they carried. Bryant discusses how falling in love with a woman caused a tension with her fellow church members and some of her Christian friends.

Abstract, November 3, 2005:
Linda Bryant begins the second interview by talking about programming and political activism that came out of Charis Books. She mentions anti-nuclear protests at the Savannah River Plant as being any early catalyst for activism. Charis became a meeting place for many groups, and in turn, those group members were often valuable resources for fundraising and support for the store. Bryant talks about the many financial challenges the store has faced over the years, and the various strategies that were implemented to survive when so many other independent bookstores have closed. She discusses changes in the Little Five Points neighborhood, and a move into a new space, as well as a planned move to Decatur, Georgia that did not happen. She talks about the bookselling and publishing businesses, particularly as they pertain to feminism. She continues to discuss organizations that Charis was involved with and events at which they sold books; WAND in particular. Bryant talks about Kay Hagen’s work with Charis, and a book club that has affected many women. Charis was an early supporter of the Feminist Bookstore Network and its publication, Feminist Bookstore News played an important role in Charis’ history. Bryant ends by discussing some of her favorite groups that met at the store including the High School Women Writers Group, Gaia Collective, Sister Girls, and Girls Speaking Out.

 

 

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