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Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: C

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

Cahill, Jeanne

Interviewee: Jeanne Taylor Cahill
Interviewer: Dana Von Tilborg
Date of Interview: December 1, 1995
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 32 page transcript

Norma Jeanne Taylor, civic activist and businesswoman, was born in Alma, Georgia in 1932. She graduated from Bacon County (GA) High School in 1949, and attended Berry College (Rome, GA), 1949-1951. She went on to attend Jacksonville Jr. and Massey Business Colleges in Jacksonville, Florida (graduating in 1953), and studied business law and elementary psychology at the University of Georgia, Waycross Center, 1957-1958. Jeanne married Al (William Alpheus) Cahill in 1959. She worked as Industrial News editor with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1962-1965, and then with various family businesses until 1972, when she became president of Cahill Properties, Inc., a company specializing in land development and real estate. Appointed in 1972 to the Georgia Commission on the Status of Women, Cahill became chair in 1973, and in 1974 she became the Commission's first and only paid executive director. The position was funded for one year only. She was appointed to the White House Conference on Families in 1979, was a member of the Georgia Coordinating Committee for the Observance of International Women's Year, and was also a member of the board of directors of ERA Georgia, Inc. Active in Democratic politics, Cahill supported Jimmy Carter in both gubernatorial and presidential races and served as a delegate to the 1974 and 1978 Democratic National Conventions. In 1975-1976, she campaigned for a seat in the state House of Representatives, but was unsuccessful in her bid against incumbent Ken Nix. Founder and CEO of Advanced Fitness Systems, 1981-1994, Cahill was also president of the Buckhead Business Association, 1994, vice president of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, 1982-1994, and in 1995 was vice president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. Cahill has been involved in many civic organizations, including the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, the Cobb County (GA) Symphony, N.W. Georgia Girl Scout Council and Leadership Atlanta.


Jeanne Cahill's oral history provides great insight into the life of a young girl in post-war America. She describes her childhood in South Georgia, and discusses her own and her parents' expectations for her life. She recalls how she became involved in the women's movement and what the women's movement meant to her. Cahill also discusses many other important social issues such as rape, hiring quotas, reproductive freedom and equal pay. Cahill was very active in working toward the better treatment of female prisoners in Georgia and she recounts her efforts in great detail. She also provides a rich description of the goals of the women's movement in Georgia, the leaders of the movement, and also some of the biggest obstacles these women faced in attempting to achieve their goals.


Callner, Bruce W.

Interviewee: Bruce W. Callner
Interviewer: Joyce Jenkins Durand
Date of Interview: December 1, 1998
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 29-page transcript
Bruce W. Callner was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1948 and received a B.S. degree in psychology from Western Michigan University followed by a J.D. degree from the University of Notre Dame. Callner became a member of the American Bar Association in 1974, serving on numerous committees including the Marriage Law Committee and the Divorce Law and Procedure Committee. As a long-term member of the State Bar of Georgia, Callner served on the Family Law Section Legislative Committee and the Younger Lawyers Section. During his term on the Younger Lawyers Section, Callner was a member of the Lawyers Ethics Committee, Mental Health Committee, the Committee on the Legal Status of Women, and Legislative Committee. As a member of the Atlanta Bar Association, Callner served on the Family Law Section, the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, the Legislative Sub-Committee, and the Speaker's Bureau Litigation Section. Callner also belonged to a number of civic groups; he was a member of the National Council on Family Relations (1977-1994), the National Organization for Women (1975-2001), the ERA Georgia, Inc. (1980-1982), Hospice Atlanta (1982-1983), and the Visually Impaired Foundation of Georgia, Inc. (1998). Callner also volunteered for a wide variety of community groups such as the Georgia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Inc. (1978-2001), the Council on Battered Women (1979-1981), the Child Service and Family Counseling Center, Inc, (1978-1980), and the Fulton County Foster Care Review Project (1980-1981). 
Bruce Callner's oral history provides an interesting and rare male perspective of the Women's Movement. In describing his childhood, Callner recounts the importance of the gender-neutral environment created by his mother. He discusses his experience at college in Michigan, and then at Notre Dame, where he studied law, and where he began to understand the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment as a way to protect all citizens equally under the law. When Callner came to Atlanta to work as a divorce lawyer, he was approached by Sherry [Shulman] Sutton to become involved in the coalition for the ERA in Georgia. Callner recalls his frustration when dealing with other men on the issue: He states that he ran into "[d]isintrest, for the most part.  They didn't care.  Remember, they are the empowered class." Callner discusses the continued importance of creating a gender-neutral environment for his own children -- giving the children of his second marriage their mother's surname. He describes what he considers to be some of the most important accomplishments of the women's movement and its legacy.

Cormack, Judith

Interviewee: Judith Lightfoot Cormack
Interviewer: Tristan Slade 
Date of interview: August 11 and 18, 1998
Extent: 2 audio cassettes / 1 audio cassette; 3 compact discs; 129-page transcript


Cormack talks about herself and Martha Gaines seeking public accommodation in a bar

Cormack talks about picketing the Salvation Army over Billy McClure case

Judith Gumpert [Lightfoot] Cormack was born in 1937, in New York, New York. After she married, she and her husband (Arthur) moved to Australia, where she worked for IBM from 1964 to1968. In 1968, Cormack returned to the United States and settled in Atlanta, Georgia where she continued working in the computer industry. Her involvement in the Women's Movement began in 1969 when she joined the newly-formed Atlanta branch of National Organization for Women (NOW). Through her activities with NOW, Cormack became a significant figure in the Women's Movement both in Georgia and nationally. She was a founding member of the Georgia Women's Political Caucus (1971), a member of the 1972 Georgia Commission on the Status of Women, and served as a member, southern regional director, and chair of the board during NOW's split in the 1970s. In 1978 Cormack returned to Australia where she has lived for over twenty years.
Cormack discusses with vivid clarity what it was like growing up in a socially progressive, middle-class, multi-ethnic New York neighborhood and how that early experience resonated with her throughout her life. She also describes her experiences traveling in Australia as an "independent, young, American woman from New York City," who was faced with blatant sex discrimination. Cormack moved to Atlanta in 1968 and she describes her involvement with the local Jewish community.  She also recounts her first contact with the Women's Movement at a suburban shopping center where members of the local chapter of NOW had set up a table and were disturbing literature and sign-up sheets. Cormack then describes her work for NOW and the problems within its membership at both state and national levels. She also discusses social causes that were of importance to her, including reproductive rights for women, inequality within the legal system, and the challenges involved in fighting a conservative Georgia legislature.

Cukor, Janet

Interviewee: Janet Cukor 
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of interview: May 3, 2004

Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 35 page transcript

Cukor talks about her early political involvement

Born to Yugoslavian immigrants in Detroit in 1924, Jeanette (Janet) Glavac grew up in a working class, ethnic neighborhood. She graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law, cum laude. While ethnic discrimination was something Cukor had endured in Detroit, racial and gender discrimination were foreign to her until she visited the South in the late 1950s. By the time she and her family moved to DeKalb County, Georgia in 1965, the worst signs of Jim Crow had been removed, but the signs of gender discrimination remained. While progress was being made in civil rights, Cukor believed that the credence that racial issues demanded caused women's rights to be overlooked. She took an active role in the women's movement as a member of the Legislative and Executive Committees of the American Association of University Women, and as a prominent member of the League of Women's Voters. Cukor was involved in county government, working as special projects coordinator on the executive staff of DeKalb County's CEO. Since the late 1980s, she has been active in the Atlanta Regional Commission, a group that works to aid the elderly. Cukor is married with two daughters.
Cukor describes her childhood, and recounts that before her marriage and subsequent move to Canada, her earliest political experiences were working on Martha Griffiths’ political campaigns. Moving to Atlanta in 1965, she recalls that she took an interest in political and governmental issues, and in 1975 was appointed to the Board of Directors for DeKalb County’ Equal Opportunity Authority. Cukor says that she met Eleanor Richardson through her daughter, who was petitioning to have a student serve on the DeKalb Board of Education as a non-voting member. She and Richardson became friends and went on to work on Richardson’s campaign for a place on the state senate. She describes Richardson’s fundraising efforts: “She took out her Christmas card list and her list of organizations -- members of organizations that she belonged to [and her church] and she won.” Cukor describes the development of the ERA coalition in Georgia. She goes on to talk about the National Women’s Conference in Houston and the anti-ERA contingent at that meeting, as well as the problems within ERA Georgia. Throughout the interview Cukor discusses issues that concern her, including Social Security for homemakers and reproductive rights.

Curtis, Margaret

Interviewee: Margaret Miller Curtis
Interviewer: Dana Van Tilborg
Date of interview: October 25, 1995
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact discs; 31 page transcript

Curtis talks about her early involvement with the Women's Movement

Margaret Miller Curtis, born in Marianna, Florida in 1935, earned a bachelor's degree in education from Florida State University and taught elementary school in Florida and Ohio. In 1973 she moved to Georgia and became active in the Women's Movement, expressing her Christian faith in her activism for women's rights. During the 1970's and 1980's she functioned as a writer, lobbyist, and fund-raiser for a number of organizations: She has been chair of the Speaker's Bureau for ERA Georgia, Inc. (1979-1980), president of People of Faith for the ERA in Georgia (1980-1982), and on the board of directors for the Council on Battered Women (1975, 1986-88).  She has also traveled and spoken extensively at religious and community meetings throughout Georgia, advocating for the ratification of the ERA. Curtis "specialized" in newspaper publicity and letter writing and has had over 500 of her letters to the editor published, in addition to those she authored for others. Many of these letters, which she continues to write, address the ERA and other women's issues. Her cartoons and creative writings, some of which have also been published, reflect her activism and interest in these issues.
Curtis describes her childhood in Florida and ascribes her strong feminist activism to her mother, whom she characterizes as a woman, "who had a hard life, but she's always conquered every obstacle." Curtis won the Lewis (teaching) scholarship and went to college at Florida State University, where she became involved with the campus newspaper and her features won a national prize. Curtis recalls moving to Georgia in 1973, and becoming involved with the Women's Movement by writing letters to newspapers about the ERA. She describes the women's issues that most concerned her, including domestic violence, economic autonomy, and discrimination. Curtis was involved in a number of organizations, including the Council on Battered Women, the League of Women Voters, the AAUW [American Association of University Women], and she was the President of the People of Faith for the ERA in Georgia.  She describes her affiliation with these and other organizations in detail. She also describes how she felt about some of the major leaders of the Women's Movement in Georgia and the accomplishments of the Movement.

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