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Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: M

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

Main, Eleanor

Interviewee: Eleanor Main
Interviewer: Mary Jo Duncanson
Date of Interview: November 13, 2007
Extent: 2 compact discs; 46-page transcript



Dr. Eleanor Main was an advocate for children, women's rights, equity in teacher salaries, effective and economic government and a range of other issues. After earning her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina (1969), Main joined Emory's faculty as a political science professor, and rose to be director of the university's division of educational studies. One of the first women professors at Emory, she was a central figure in efforts to create the University’s Center for Women, which opened in 1992, and served female faculty and staff, as well as students. Three Georgia governors appointed her to 10 state boards and task forces, including the Governor's Committee on Women in Politics (1975), and the Juvenile Justice board (1992). Main died in 2008.

The interview, conducted January 13, 2007, focuses on Main's childhood, career at Emory University, and political activism. Main discusses her formative years in New York City, as the child of working-class parents who were union members, her education in Catholic schools, and her experiences at Hunter College. She reflects on her years as a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and her decision to accept a position in the Political Science Department at Emory University as its only female faculty member, and she describes the changes Emory experienced during the 1970s and 1980s as its faculty and administration became more diverse. Main discusses her involvement in Georgia politics beginning in the 1980s, her membership in the Feminist Action Alliance and Georgia Women's Political Caucus, speeches she gave in support of the Equal Rights Amendment and reasons for the ERA's failure. She also talks about her friendships with a variety of political figures in the state, including Wyche Fowler, Zell Miller, Roy Barnes, Liane Levetan, Coretta Scott King, and Betty Talmadge. 

Malavenda, Roberta

Interviewee: Roberta Malavenda
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of interview: November 22, 1998
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 48 page transcript

Malavenda talks about working with her future husband and confronting pay inequity

Malavenda talks about the Mormons for Equal Rights

Roberta Malavenda was born in 1944 in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in a Jewish community, and a very politically-oriented household. Malavenda attended Columbia University and, as a sophomore, she spent four months in Santiago, Chile during the 1964 Chilean presidential election. Politically active during her college years, Malavenda was involved in SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), while also pursuing degrees in political science and Latin American studies. After leaving Columbia, she began working as a community organizer in New York with the Puerto Rican Family Institute. After moving to Atlanta in the early 1970s, Malavenda joined the Georgia Women's Political Caucus, and went on to become involved with the ERA campaign in Georgia. Malavenda has worked as an educator, community consultant, social worker and community organizer advocating for child care and for the rights of people with developmental disabilities. She is currently the Deputy Director of Programs for the Save the Children Child Care Support Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves as the president of Parent Services Project, Inc. and as the co-chair of the National Family Support/Child Care Project, PSP, Inc. She was involved with both the National Women's Political Caucus and the Georgia Women's Political Caucus, serving as the ERA state coordinator and president, 1979-1980.

Roberta Malavenda begins by describing her childhood, parents and youthful aspirations. She says that she was always interested in politics and her political ambitions led her to become the vice-president of Hillel during her tenure at Indiana University. She talks about her trip to Santiago, Chile, during her sophomore year of college, and then about attending graduate school at Columbia University. In Gainesville, Florida, Malavenda helped to organize the United Farm Workers movement, with Cesar Chavez and his wife, and she states that it was during her time in Gainesville that she became interested in joining the Women’s Movement. Malavenda and her husband moved to Georgia in 1977, and she quickly began working for the ERA campaign as a field coordinator. Malavenda accounts the incredible political battles that were fought in Georgia, the leadership of the Women’s Movement, as well as how other major issues, including civil rights and gay rights affected the Women’s Movement.

Martin, Jim

Interviewee: Jim Martin
Interviewer: Mary Riddle
Date of Interview: October 5, 2007
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 21-page transcript


Jim Martin was born in 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia.  He attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a Bachelor’s and a law degree.  He then served in Vietnam for two years before returning to Georgia.  He worked as a private attorney and as an assistant legislative counsel to the Georgia General Assembly.  Martin earned an M.B.A. from Georgia State University (1980).  He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1983, serving there until 2001.  In 2008, he ran for the United States Senate, losing in a run-off election.

Jim Martin begins his interview by describing his childhood and his education.  He then briefly recalls his experiences in Vietnam and how that influenced his political career.  He describes the impact that a variety of women (including Peggy Childs and Eleanor Richardson ) had on him and his policy positions, and goes on to discuss a number of his legislative challenges.  Finally, he comments on the legacy of the Women’s Movement and its future. 

Millen, Susan A.

Interviewee: Susan A. Millen
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: July 7 & 9, 1999
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 63 page transcript

Susan Ann Millen, activist, journalist, and producer, was born in Aurora, Illinois in 1951. She attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (journalism; BS, 1972), and Columbia College in Chicago (photography; BFA, 1978), after which she moved to Atlanta. Millen has been an editor (Journal of Labor, 1979-1985), journalist, photographer, public relations specialist and communications consultant as well as a special education teacher and has been very active in organizations involving women's politics. She was president of the Georgia chapter and a board member of the National Woman's Party (1981-1984), an organizing member and first vice-president of the Atlanta chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (1983-1985), and an officer of the Georgia Women's Political Caucus (1986-1990). In addition, she coordinated a Political Skills Workshop (1987) and the Georgia Women and the Law Conference (1987) for the GWPC; she produced a GWPC television series on prime cable that began in 1987; was a National Women's Political Caucus officer (1989); and was a board member of ERA Georgia, Inc. as well as editor of its Newsletter. Millen continues to be a community activist and teaches at Tucker High School in Dekalb County, Georgia. In 2004, she and her class were selected as an AT&T CARES Youth Service Action Award.
Growing up one of 14 children in a traditional Catholic household, Millen describes herself as a very responsible child, who knew from an early age exactly what she wanted for herself in terms of her education and career. She recounts that after graduating in three years from Southern Illinois University with a degree in journalism, she took a job as the women’s assistant editor at the Wilmington Star News, in Wilmington, North Carolina. She describes how, in the course of her job, she reported that the local school board was not complying with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed pregnant teenage girls to attend public school. Parts of her report were quashed by the chief editor of the newspaper. Continuing with her experiences at the Wilmington Star News, Millen describes her efforts to challenge pay inequity at the newspaper, and her move to Atlanta shortly thereafter. Once in Atlanta, Millen says she joined NOW and became involved in the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, serving as editor of the ERA Georgia Newsletter and helping to organize the Georgia chapter of the National Women’s Party. Millen provides a detailed account of the divisions within the ERA Georgia campaign, and describes the resulting rift, and consequent establishment of the Georgia Women’s Party -- a group that went on to build an effective lobbying mechanism, often seeking out the wives of legislators who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. A long-time union member and supporter of labor, Millen describes her work with the Georgia AFL-CIO and as editor of the Journal of Labor. She believes that the AFL-CIO played an instrumental role in supporting efforts to pass the ERA, as they not only provided money and legislative support, they also gave advice about organizing and spread the message of the ERA to union members across the state. Millen was a founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), which, she asserts, was a natural outgrowth for women workers and women labor leaders. For Millen, the Women’s Movement was central in allowing women to make choices regarding sexuality, work and life.

Miller, Panke Bradley

Interviewee: Panke Bradley Miller 
Interviewer: Joyce Durand 
Date of Interview: December 18, 2000
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 29 page transcript



Panke Bradley Miller was born in 1940 on Parris Island, South Carolina, and grew up in Macon, Georgia. Through the support and advice of her parents, she attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in order to be exposed to a more liberal education and lifestyle. At Antioch, she majored in psychology while also studying languages abroad. She eventually went to the University of Chicago where she majored in community organizing. Miller's youthful liberalism coupled with her experience as a community organizer led her led her back to Atlanta where she became involved in the women's movement in Georgia. She was appointed to the Atlanta City Council and served as vice-chair of Common Cause in Georgia.
Miller discusses her childhood as a member of a traditional, but intellectually liberal family in conservative Macon, Georgia and says that she feels very fortunate to have been encouraged to attend Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. She talks extensively about her experiences at Antioch, and particular, her growing involvement with the Civil Rights Movement and her feelings about her home -- the South, viewed from a liberal college in the North. She goes on to talk about her graduate studies in social work and community organization at the University of Chicago. She believes that this education gave her the tools necessary to eventually earn a position on the Atlanta City Council. Miller talks about the importance of family-friendly policies, and cites a job-sharing scheme that she implemented, and that is still successfully working today. Miller discusses Atlanta politics and development, and her feelings about Atlanta mayors Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young and Bill Campbell. She also talks about the importance of the neighborhood movement; and about her decision to leave politics and to enter the non-profit sector. When asked to consider why efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment failed, Miller states that one of the major problems was that Democratic and Republican women could not reach across party lines.
Image from the collections in the Atlanta History Center

Moriarty, Laura

Interviewee: Laura J. Moriarty
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: July 10, 2005
Extent: 3 audio cassettes; 3 compact discs; 81-page transcript



Laura J. Moriarty has a master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Georgia, and as of 2001 was employed as a Business Analyst for the Information and Techology Division of Emory University. She was editor and manager of Emory's Publication on Information Technology at Emory University, a prize-winning higher educatin IT journal for educators.

Moriarty has been very active in commuity and civic affairs for sever years. Between 1981 and 1984, she served as president, League of Women Voters of Georgia and then lobbyist and portfolio lead on ethics; second vice president of Economic Opportunity Authority of DeKalb County; and vice president of Soroptimist International of Atlanta. She also cofounded the Dekalb Network for Women along with Roberta Malavenda and Gretta Dewald. Moriarty was chair of the Community Services and Development Advisory Council of the Atlanta Regional Commission,  1983-1985, and of the Elected and Appointed Women in DeKalb County, 1985-1986. Appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia to the Commission on Gender Bias, Moriarty served 1989-1993, and co-authored the chapter on “Judicial Ethics” in the final report, which was reprinted in the Georgia Law Review.

Laura Moriarty begins her oral history by describing her childhood experiences growing up in a Catholic family in Cleveland, Ohio.  She talks about her education and her perceptions of gender discrimination, then discusses her job at Merrill Lynch, first in Cleveland and then in Washington, D.C.  Moving to Georgia where she attended Emory University, she describes her political activities, and then goes on to discuss her involvement with various groups, including the League of Women Voters.  She talks about her work with the Commission on Gender Bias, to which she was appointed by the Georgia Supreme Court, and then discusses her efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia, as well as her involvement with “the Abigails,” a non-partisan group of influential women that she co-founded in Dekalb County.  Moriarty ends by discussing the impact that the women’s movement had both on her own life and on the lives of others.




Moye, Carrie Nelle

Interviewee: Carrie Nell Moye
Interviewer: Janet Paulk 
Date of Interview: September 1, 2001
Extent: 3 audio cassettes; 3 compact discs; 60 page transcript

Born in Barnesville, Georgia in 1939, Carrie Nell Moye grew up in a traditional Southern household with traditional Southern values. Moye’s mother was a homemaker and her father worked as a farmer and as the State Parks Director under Governor Herman Talmadge. Moye attended Emory University and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in history. She began her feminist efforts after joining the League of Women Voters and through this organization became involved with efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Moye also worked for UNICEF, which allowed her a good deal of public exposure. She began speaking on behalf of women’s rights in 1976. In 1980, she was sent by UNICEF to the Middle East where she was able to attend graduate school at American University in Beirut, focusing on a combination of Arabic and women’s studies. Moye has worked as a freelance writer for a number of publications including The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and other metro Atlanta newspapers. Now living in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, she continues to promote civil rights, women’s rights and political equality.
Carrie Nell Moye describes her childhood on a farm close to Barnesville, South Georgia. An insecure student, she excelled in school and was named valedictorian. She says that she disappointed her father by attending Emory University, an institution he considered to be a hotbed of communism. She recalls being nominated for a graduate scholarship, but turned it down, as she felt that graduate work was not appropriate for women -- especially married women. After Moye married and had children, she recalls that she was very unhappy as a homemaker, and with the urging and support of her husband and psychiatrist, realized that the quality of her time with her children was more important than the quantity. Moye says that she was thirty-one years old before realizing “that a woman could indeed be a person in her own right.” She joined the League of Women Voters, and considers her work with the League as a stepping-stone to her involvement with the Equal Rights Amendment. After being offered a job as Atlanta director for UNICEF, Moye recounts joining many different organizations for women, including the YWCA, and the Business and Professional Women. She says that it was because of her UNICEF job, that she began speaking publicly about the ERA and women’s issues, and she describes a number of debates she participated in, including one with a Baptist minister, and one with Phyllis Schlafly. She also describes the contentious ERA Georgia election in which she ran against Joyce Parker. Through her work with UNICEF, Moye traveled to the Middle East. She discusses her experiences there, and the strength and autonomy of the women she met. She says that the reason the ERA failed was due to women’s ignorance and fear: fear that their lives would be turned upside-down; that they would not be allowed to be homemakers; that gay marriage would be legalized. She contends that conservative religion has compounded this fear. She feels that women should understand that “In the Women’s Movement [that she knows], a women does something because she chooses to do it, not because she has to do it.”

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