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Activist Women Oral History Project: L

Lambert, Charlee

Interviewee: Charlee Lambert
Interviewer: Lorraine Lombardi
Date of Interview: October 28, 2012
Extent: 59 pages; 1 compact disc; WAV file

Interviewer:Lorraine Lombardi
Date of Interview:January 20, 2013
Extent: WAV file
Transcript and audio

Interviewer:Lorraine Lombardi
Date of Interview: May 11, 2013
Extent: WAV file
Transcript and audio


Born in Madison County, FL, Charlee Lambert started her career as a playwright, director and advocate for the elderly at age 62. For two decades, her production company produced her plays nationally, to educate professionals and the public about elder abuse, domestic violence, and the changing shape of families, promoting dialogue about the realities of these complex issues. She was the co-founder of Georgia’s Council on Elderly Abuse and Neglect and managed its Victim Assistance Line through the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. She has served as an expert witness in elder abuse cases and served as a consultant on elder abuse. At present, Charlee is on the Board of Advisors for the Fuqua Center for Late Life Depression.

Abstract, October 28, 2012:
The interview, conducted October 28, 2012, covers topics relating to Lambert’s family life, education, and her long career as a playwright and director.  She discusses her childhood in Madison and Groveland, Florida and the years she spent in Trappe, Maryland as an only child in a large extended family of relatives.  The family’s struggles during the Great Depression are highlighted, including Lambert’s efforts to earn money to buy a piano and to win a college scholarship.  She talks about her efforts to earn a college degree beginning at Florida State University and at several colleges in Michigan and Missouri following her marriage and the births of her children, and culminating her successful completion of a degree in theater at age 52. The final portion of the interview focuses on Lambert’s residence in Atlanta beginning in 1973 where she directed Plays for Living and then shifted to writing and directing her own plays on social issues including teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, parenting, breast cancer, Medicare fraud, and domestic abuse.

Abstract, January 20, 2013:
This is one of three interviews that took place at the Atlanta residence of Charlee Lambert. Ms. Lambert discusses her involvement with the Georgia Council on Elder Abuse and Neglect, and the AARP Reminisces, which developed out of her position of Legal Aid Services.

Abstract, May 11, 2013
Ms. Lambert discusses her personal background and how it contributed to her involvement with the Georgia Council on Elder Abuse and Neglect, and the AARP Reminisces, which developed out of her position of Legal Aid Services.

Levetan, Liane

Interviewee: Leane Levetan
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: January 17, 2007
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc

Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: November 28, 2007
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc

Liane Levetan is known for her active role in state and local politics spanning the 1970s to 2000s. In 1975, Levetan became the first woman elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, where she represented District 2 for 10 years and spearheaded the drive for tax breaks for DeKalb property owners who added onto and enhanced existing residential and commercial property. A pioneer teacher in the field of special education, Levetan also initiated a successful bond referendum to fund the DeKalb County Mental Retardation Services Center.

From 1993-2000, Levetan served as the CEO of DeKalb County for two terms, and was the first woman elected to the position. Levetan was responsible for the operation of a government that served over 600,000 citizens and had a total annual budget of more than $800 million. Her administration in DeKalb was distinguished by innovative approaches to employee training and performance measures to improve the county's service orientation toward its residents and an emphasis on improving technology.

Through her leadership, an extraordinarily successful culture of collaboration between the public and private sectors won national acclaim for DeKalb, including the prestigious All-America City Award in 1998. The award is given annually by the National Civic League to 10 outstanding local governments across the United States that demonstrates a high degree of collaborative community building. Her leadership was also instrumental in the landmark passage in March 1997 of DeKalb County's innovative Homestead Option Sales Tax, which created a permanent source of revenue for infrastructure improvement and the reduction of property taxes.

For the 2002-2004 term, Levetan served as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. She served on the following committees: Transportation, Education, Special Judiciary, State Institutions and Property, and Ethics. She also holds the distinction of being the only female member of the Ethics Committee.

Levetan has always been an active participant in numerous community projects. She has also been active in civic and cultural affairs and her public service career has been characterized by a dedication to neighborhoods, issues of children and elderly citizens, and initiating savings for taxpayers. Sen. Levetan has also utilized her more than three decades of business experience as a licensed real estate broker and public affairs consultant to various corporations. This experience includes a position as an executive consultant for AGL Resources and a position as corporate communications director for Mindus Recycling, a subsidiary of Attwoods. Sen. Levetan also serves on the Omni Bank Community Development Board as a member.

Levetan is the past director of the National Civic League and currently serves on its National Council of Advisors. She is active in the National Association of Counties (NACo), where she played a leadership role on the Unfunded Mandate Task Force and served as vice president of Namco's Taxation and Finance Committee. Georgia Trend magazine has recognized her serveral times as one of Georgia's 100 Most Influential People and in 1993 she was the recipient of the International Women's Forum's "Women That Make A Difference" Award.

Abstract, January 17, 2007:
The interview recorded on January 17, 2007, covers Levetan’s family background, including her birth in Vienna in 1936, her family’s escape from the Holocaust by moving to London in 1939, and her experiences during the World War II Blitz.  The family’s postwar decision to relocate to the United States, ultimately settling in Atlanta, is explored in the middle section of the interview, including Levetan’s education at Grady High School and Georgia State University.  Her employment as a teacher for developmentally disabled children, career in real estate, marriage and motherhood form another theme.  The interview ends with Levetan discussing her early political career including a trip to Washington, D. C. where Democratic women from Georgia met Lyndon Johnson at the White House, Levetan’s unsuccessful run for the state senate, and her successful run for the DeKalb County Commission.

Abstract, November 28, 2007:
This interview, conducted on November 28, 2007, focuses largely on Levetan’s years as Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, 1993-2000.  The interview begins with a discussion of her election to the County Commission as its first female member, the adoption of the CEO system of county government, and her first unsuccessful campaign for the CEO office, followed by Levetan’s return to the real estate business and her involvement with a variety of civic organizations. Levetan speaks about her successful election to become DeKalb’s first female CEO, her relationship with members of the commission, and the issues she pursued while in office, including economic development, technological improvements, and the environment.

Lopez, Sarah

Interviewee: Sarah Lopez
Interviewer: Franklin Abbott
Date of Interview: September 5, 2014
Extent: 1:50:40
Transcript and audio


Sarah Lopez, Ph.D. is a bilingual psychologist in clinical practice in Atlanta since 1982. Her ongoing commitment extends beyond the office to include social/cultural issues that create and maintain suffering such as injustice, violence, and oppression. An early responder to the mental health needs of the AIDS epidemic, she has co-facilitated a weekly pro bono HIV/AIDS therapy group for 21 years.

Franklin Abbott interviewed Sarah Lopez to discuss her activism in psychological support for people with HIV/AIDS. The discussion includes her personal background and the socialization that contributed to her spiritual and social calling for helping those in need.

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