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Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: R

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

Richardson, Eleanor

Interviewee: Eleanor Richardson
Interviewer: Jannet Paulk
Date of Interview: July 12, 1999
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 28 page transcript

Eleanor Low Richardson, born in Everett, Massachusetts in 1913, graduated from high school and completed one year of secretarial school. After working in Boston for an insurance company, Richardson moved to the Atlanta area and has been a Decatur resident for over 25 years. She died in February 2006. During her time in the Atlanta area, Richardson participated in women's advocacy and politics. She served as the president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia and DeKalb County and as a Democratic representative of DeKalb County in the Georgia House of Representatives (1975-1990). During her time in office, Richardson's legislative priorities included health issues, the elimination of laws that discriminate against women and the elderly, and tax relief for the elderly. She was chair of the Community Development Advisory Council of the Atlanta Regional Commission, the DeKalb County Community Relations Commission, Georgians for Quality Education, and the Church Women United of Georgia and DeKalb County. She also served as board member of several organizations including the Metropolitan Area Mental Health Association, DeKalb Community Council on Aging, the Mountain View Rest Home, and the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns. Richardson was appointed to the Governor's Council on Mental Health and Retardation Special Study Committees on Troubled Children, the DeKalb County Advisory Council (Chairman), and the Central DeKalb Community Mental Health/Mental Retardation Advisory Council. Because of her extensive work in church and civic groups, Richardson received several awards honoring her contributions to the community: She received the Woman of Achievement Award from Decatur Business and Professional Women in 1976; the Leading Ladies of Atlanta J.C. Singles Award in 1977; the Friend of Children from the Child Advocacy Coalition (1977-80); and the Valiant Woman Award from Church Women United in 1977.
Richardson begins by recounting her childhood in Medford, Massachusetts. She states that her earliest foray into activism was prior to the development of the Women’s Movement, when she joined the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She went on to join the League of Women Voters, and to become president of DeKalb and then Georgia’s League. She states that it was during her tenure of the DeKalb League of Women Voters that she was urged by a friend to run for the vacant seat in the Georgia General Assembly. Focusing on issues relating to women, children and the elderly, Richardson remained in the legislature until 1990, at which time, she recalls, she had stopped “being patient with people." Richardson discusses her personal efforts and experiences in working toward the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia. She feels that the Women’s Movement has accomplished a great deal, including the election of more women elected officials and the formation of important women’s groups, such as the Georgia Commission on Women.

Riddle, Mary

Interviewee: Mary Riddle
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: July 24, 2004
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 45 page transcript

Mary Riddle was born in 1949 in Etowah, Tennessee. Her family later settled in Dalton, Georgia. She attended Mercer University in Macon and, after moving to Atlanta in 1970, attended Georgia State University on a part-time basis. She received her BA in English in 1975, and her Law degree in 1988. Riddle has been a proofreader for the Office of General Counsel (1973-1974), served on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1976-1985), and since 1990, has been an attorney, drafting bills for the Office of Legislative Counsel. Riddle began her involvement in the Women’s Movement by joining Georgians for the Equal Rights Amendment (GERA). She then joined NOW, which she served in a number of ways: She was executive vice president of Atlanta NOW and member of DeKalb NOW, and recorder/archivist for Georgia NOW after the defeat of the ERA. In 1983 she was voted Feminist of the Year by Atlanta NOW. Along with Janet Paulk, she was co-coordinator for ERA for the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Atlanta.
Riddle recounts a childhood in which she and her family moved around a great deal. She says that her earliest feminist activity was to run for a high school office, with the slogan, “Not the best man for the job, the best candidate.” She remembers becoming very interested in feminism in the early 1970s, at which time, while working and studying in Atlanta, she read Betty Freidan’s Feminine Mystique, and the newly circulating Ms magazine. Riddle states that her work proofreading for the Legislative Council whetted her appetite for the study of law, and that when she became involved in the Equal Rights Amendment, it was the legal aspects of amendment that interested her. She recounts that she first became involved with the ERA when she read a Creative Loafing ad for a Georgians for the Equal Rights meeting. She says “GERA was this funny little group mostly made up of Socialist Workers Party people…And there were times when I thought that a lot of the women at GERA were more interested in the Socialist Workers Party than the ERA.” Riddle goes on to describe the efforts of the “Bathroom Caucus” of GERA -- members who wanted to make GERA more ERA-focused. After those efforts failed, she became more involved with NOW, UUCA and ERA Georgia, Inc. She describes a number of the marches, debates and events that she attended as part of those groups. Riddle discusses the women in Women’s Movement that she most admired, and cites Martha Gaines as being important because she could “focus on the goals and continue to keep moving towards the goals, even past the irritations, and the rivalries and the disagreements about tactics.” Finally, Riddle talks about issues that are important to women today, the most important of which is reproductive rights.

Rogers, Joy

Interviewee: Joy Rogers
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: October 27, 2006
Extent: 3 audio cassettes; 3 compact discs; 75-page transcript



Joy Rogers is the Business Development Executive for IBM services in the State of Georgia, responsible for the sales and marketing of both information technology and management consulting services to businesses. In her 30 year career with IBM, she has held a variety of marketing, business development, sales, and customer support positions.  She managed IBM services for Wall Street brokerage firms in Manhattan, was the Director for Customer Support for midrange systems in Rochester, MN, Director of Service Support in Kansas City, MO, and Client Solution Executive for strategic outsourcing engagements. Prior to joining IBM, she was a member of the economic staff of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, GA and Director of the Atlanta Head Start Program serving 1000 children.

Rogers graduated from University of Alabama with a BA degree in Economics and minors in History and French. She completed her MBA with a concentration in International Business at Georgia State University and was active in AIESEC, International Association of Students in Economics and Commerce, at both universities.  She served as the President of the Chapter at GSU as well as National Conference Chair.  She currently serves on the Board of Advisors for AIESEC-Georgia Tech. 

Her overseas work experience include assignments with Charterhouse Japhet, a merchant bank in London, England, Leminkainen Oy, a manufacturing company in Helsinki, Finland and INet, a computer services firm in Skopje, Macedonia.

The interview conducted on October 7, 2006, focuses on Rogers' business career and her feminist activism in Atlanta. She discusses her childhood as the daughter of a military officer, family life in the southeastern states, and her college years at the University of Alabama, where she majored in economics. She speaks about her business career beginning with the Federal Reserve in Atlanta, graduate school at Georgia State University, followed by a job with Economic Opportunity Atlanta. Rogers' activism in Atlanta centered around the Feminist Action Alliance and she talks about her colleagues including Anne Deeley, Fred Fetter, Beth Schapiro, and Heather Fenton, as well as the many conferences they organized to address political and social issues. Rogers' decision to accept a job with IBM let to her relocation to New York, and she discusses her thirty-year career with the company and the barriers she broke as a female manager. 

Special Collections and Archives

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Oral Histories at GSU

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