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Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: W

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

Walker, Annabelle

Interviewee: Annabelle Walker
Interviewer: Joyce Durand 
Date of Interview: September 24, 1999
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 63 page transcript

Annabelle Hoppe Walker was born in 1940 in Pineville, Kentucky. Walker worked as a speech therapist, a first grade teacher, and an early learning teacher before becoming an attorney. She is currently Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. She holds a B.A. from George Washington University, an M.Ed. from Georgia State University, and a J.D. degree. In addition to teaching and practicing law, Walker was actively involved in women's advocacy in the 1970s. She served as president of the New Orleans NOW chapter from 1972 until 1975 and was the state co-coordinator for the Louisiana ERA Coalition in 1975.
The daughter of a college professor (and later, musician), Walker describes her childhood spent in college towns. She says that although she was highly intelligent, her parents “had in mind that I would be a teacher, or a librarian or a nurse. It just didn’t occur to them [for me] to be anything else." Majoring in speech therapy, Walker describes her experiences in beauty contests while at Louisiana State University. After getting engaged to the president of the student body, Walker says that she finished out her junior year at LSU and transferred to Georgia Washington University in Washington D.C. to be with her finance. After some moving around, Walker and her young family came to Atlanta, where she enrolled in Georgia State University’s Early Childhood Education Program. She says that it was through her sociology classes that she first learned about the Women’s Movement, and that her consciousness was raised immediately. She says, “At first, I began to notice how much women were put down…and discouraged from doing anything. But the constant demeaning of women really began to bother me.” She recounts that her marriage did not survive her newly-found feminism. Walker says that while she was studying Early Childhood Education, she became aware of sex-role stereotyping. She and a classmate, Ramona Frasher worked on a research project, and she recounts their work examining the roles of women in children’s textbooks. She says that although they had trouble publishing their findings, the findings were in fact very influential in forcing textbook publishers to take sexism out of their books. Walker says that she joined NOW because they “had a national structure and they… [were] middle-of-the-road enough…sort of the NAACP of the Women’s Movement.” She describes the issues that NOW focused on, such as the Weeks v Southern Bell discrimination case, and the discriminatory practices of the Salvation Army. As a member of NOW, she was asked to speak to various groups, and she recounts her experience at Westminster school in Atlanta, where she spoke about sexism to the entire high school and faculty. Walker describes moving to New Orleans in 1972, shortly after her divorce. She says that within six months of her move, she was president of the local chapter of NOW, and co-coordinator of the Louisiana ERA Coalition. She recounts the many demonstrations and rallies she attended, including “the wedding dress incident,” which involved her wearing a wedding dress with a hooped skirt to the Louisiana legislature, and carrying a sign that said “equal partnership in marriage.” The incident was recounted later in a Time magazine article which examined the different approaches taken by northern and southern feminists. Walker says that her activism waned after she started Law School:  “I kind of dropped my activism and wasn’t active any more. It would take an issue to bring it back to life, I suppose. From then on, you see, you could battle individual cases of discrimination through laws that we had passed, or through organizational efforts. Because once feminism became accepted, it was no longer acceptable to be sexist anymore than it was acceptable to be racist…Because of a movement, we didn’t need the movement anymore.”

Weddington, Sarah

Interviewee: Sarah Weddington
Interviewers: M Charlene Ball and Diane L. Fowlkes
Date of Interview: April 15, 1998
Extent: 1 audio casette; 1 compact disc; 18 page transcript

Weddington talks about the status of women at the time the women's movement emerged

Weddington talks about arguing Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court


Sarah Weddington was born in Abilene, Texas in 1945. After receiving her J.D. degree from the University of Texas, School of Law in 1967, Weddington began a career in law and politics, with a strong interest in women's rights. In 1973, shortly after completing law school, Weddington worked pro bono to represent a group of women who had established an abortion referral program at the University of Texas. Through this association, she successfully argued the landmark case Roe v Wade, and in doing so, became the youngest person to win a case before the Supreme Court. Also in 1973, Weddington began her political career by becoming the first woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives. She continued to serve in this position for three terms. From 1978 until 1981, Weddington served as Assistant to President Jimmy Carter and directed the Administration's work on women's issues and leadership outreach. In 1977, she became the first woman to hold the position of General Counsel of the US Department of Agriculture, and was the first female Director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations from 1983 until 1985. In addition to her successful political career, Weddington worked with the community to establish women's equal rights by helping to establish the Foundation for Women's Resources. This organization sponsored activities such as the Leadership Texas and Leadership America programs and created the Women's Museum that opened in Dallas in September 2000. Because of her extensive work in politics and community service, especially through women's advocacy, Weddington has received numerous awards and honors: In 1999 she was named Texas Woman of the Century by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas and in 1998 was given the Leadership America's Hummingbird Award for contributions toward the advancement of women's leadership. Also, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders awarded Weddington the Woman of Distinction Award (1993), and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America gave her the Margaret Sanger Award, the highest award of the organization. She was named one of Esquire Magazine's top ten ""Outstanding Women in America"" and was given the Ladies' Home Journal Woman of the Future Award. Weddington also holds honorary doctorates from McMurray University, Hamilton College, Austin College, Southwestern University, and Nova Southeastern University.


A native of Texas, Sarah Weddington was the youngest women to successfully argue a case in the Supreme Court, and her oral history provides a unique insight into that historic case, Roe v Wade. Weddington begins by describing her education, and her decision to study law at a time when women were often told, "women don't, women can't, women shouldn't."  She goes on to discuss her attempt to get a credit card in her own name, but, as a married women, was refused without her husband's signature. She says, "So of course I ran for the [Texas State] legislature and passed the Equal Credit Bill, and then went back and got my credit card."Weddington discusses her growing awareness of the need for reproductive rights information, resources, and access. She goes on to describe the background of the case Roe v Wade, and her dealings with Margie Pitts Hames, who argued the Georgia case Doe v Bolton. She also talks about the day of the hearing, and the "majesty of the moment." From 1978 to 1981, Weddington worked for the Carter administration, and she discusses the appointments and opportunities he provided for women during his administration. Weddington ends by warning that, depending on Supreme Court appointments, Roe v Wade could be overturned, and that we should be wary of complacency regarding the issue of reproductive rights.

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Oral Histories at GSU

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