Interviewee: Mary N. Long
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of interview: May 13, 1999
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 14 page transcript
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of interview: May 20, 1999
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 33 page transcript
Mary Long was born in Guthrie, Kentucky in 1941. In 1961 she moved to Atlanta to pursue a career in nursing, and in 1963 began working at the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital. As a member of the Georgia Nurses' Association in the early 1970s, Long became interested in the activities of the Georgia ERA campaign. She was particularly interested in women's reproductive rights and appeared as one of the plaintiffs in the Georgia abortion case Doe v Bolton. Long participated in a number of women's organizations; she volunteered for the Georgia Nurses' Association, the Equal Rights campaign, as well as the Women's Political Caucus while simultaneously working the night shift at Grady Hospital. Long has many professional achievements: She founded Georgia's first health clinic for the homeless; she served as president of the Georgia Nurses Foundation, president of Friends and Public Health, and as president of the Georgia Nurses Association; she was the first African-American and first nurse to lead the board of the YMCA of Greater Atlanta, as well as the first African-American woman to serve as vice-chair of the Commission on Children and Youth. She also served as chair and as an active member of Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Coalition. Long has been honored numerous times for her unwavering commitment to social causes and is a three-time recipient of the Appreciation for Leadership Skills in Government Affairs Certificate from the Georgia Nurses Association. In 1996, the YMCA of greater Atlanta presented the 13th Anniversary Salute to Women of Achievement to Mary Long.
Long begins by discussing some of the issues that brought her into the Women’s Movement, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the economic disparity between men and women, and a women’s right to choose. She describes how her experiences as a nurse at Grady hospital also led her to the Movement. A member of the Nurses’ Association as well as the ERA Georgia Campaign and the Women’s Political Caucus, she discusses the leadership of the Women’s Movement in Georgia, along with her own experiences as a volunteer lobbyist attempting to change Georgia laws regarding abortion, domestic abuse, and economic disparity between men and women. Long’s discussion provides tremendous insight into some of the racial issues that afflicted the Women’s Movement in Georgia and suggests that the economic disparity between women of color and white women contributed to their lack of collectiveness regarding women’s issues. She also offers her own insight into the “end” of the Women’s Movement, during the Reagan era. Long discusses many of her other accomplishments, including her work in non-profit organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation.
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