Mary Atkeson Gibson was born in Dothan, Alabama in 1945. She received a B.A. from Brenau College and a master's in education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She also preformed graduate work at Auburn University (English) and the University of Georgia (Library Science). Gibson worked as a schoolteacher, a Girl Scout Field Director, the Community School Administrator and as the Executive Director of the Gulf County (Florida) Chamber of Commerce. She also served as co-coordinator of Athens N.O.W. (1972-1974) and the state coordinator of Georgia N.O.W. (1974-1978). Gibson also founded and served on the Athens Rape Crisis Line (1973) and the Alabama Women's Agenda (1980).
Abstract of the full interview
Gibson begins her oral history by discussing her experiences growing up in the South during the post-war years and her complex relationship with her parents. She describes how after leaving graduate school at Auburn University she was ready to move to New York City but ended up getting a job and staying in Atlanta. Gibson articulates the women's movement as the natural outgrowth of the civil rights movement. She became involved in the movement in Baton Rouge (1971) when she called the President of the local chapter of NOW and soon after, before she even attended a meeting, she was doing volunteer work. Gibson moved to Athens, Georgia and helped to organize the Athens chapter of NOW, also in 1971. Gibson says that there was never one single issue that she was completely interested in, although she was focused on the Equal Rights Amendment, but rather said that she had always considered herself a "feminist" even before she knew the meaning of the word. In the latter part of the interview, Gibson discusses how popular perception of the word ""feminist"" has changed and also highlights some of the issues that she deems still important to the women movement.
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