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Georgia Dickens

Retired educator and community volunteer Georgia Nelle Smith Dickens, nicknamed Gee Gee, was born on December 24, 1920, in Atlanta, Georgia. Both of Dickens's parents, Reverend Harvey Miles Smith and Stella Bryant Smith, were college educated individuals who graduated from Morehouse College and Atlanta University respectively. Dickens's parents instilled in her a sense of responsibility, respect for self, and a passion for education. Dickens was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, attending E.R. Carter Elementary School; she went on to attend Madison High School where she graduated in 1937, at the age of fifteen, as the class salutatorian. In 1938, Dickens enrolled in Spelman College where she was voted Miss Personality by her peers; she graduated in 1942.

Dickens started her career as an educator in 1942 in Albany, Georgia; that same year, she married Morehouse College graduate Robert D. Dickens. Dickens moved back to Atlanta and began teaching at Young Street Elementary School, where she enjoyed working with children. While teaching, Dickens volunteered for the Children’s Alliance Theater Guild; she also chaired the United Negro College Fund Telethon and co-chaired the Volunteers Telephone Committee and the Democratic National Convention. After working in the Atlanta Public School System for forty-three years, she retired from teaching in 1982.

Dickens won several awards for her achievements and volunteerism; she was honored as an outstanding volunteer by the United Negro College Fund Telethon. In 1989 Dickens was presented with the President’s Award by the Atlanta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Essence magazine’s Ambassador Award; in 2001 she was awarded the Alumnae Achievement Award in Civic Service by Spelman College; in 2003 she won the National Visionary Leadership Award.

Dickens and her husband raised one son.

Accession Number

A2005.141

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/21/2005

Last Name

Dickens

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Monroe Comprehensive High School

E. R. Carter Elementary School

Spelman College

First Name

Georgia

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

DIC03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

I Cannot Be Made Nervous.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/24/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lobster Tails

Death Date

4/16/2017

Short Description

Community volunteer and elementary school teacher Georgia Dickens (1920 - 2017 ) worked in the Atlanta Public School System for forty-three years, retiring in 1982. In addition to her activities as an educator, Dickens won numerous awards for her volunteerism.

Employment

Young Street Elementary School

Grove Park Elementary School

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Georgia Dickens' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Georgia Dickens lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Georgia Dickens describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Georgia Dickens talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Georgia Dickens describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Georgia Dickens recalls her father's friendship with Martin Luther King, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Georgia Dickens describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Georgia Dickens describes her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Georgia Dickens describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Georgia Dickens describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Georgia Dickens describes her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Georgia Dickens describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Georgia Dickens talks about attending elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Georgia Dickens describes houses her grandfather built and her neighbors as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Georgia Dickens describes her childhood neighbors in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Georgia Dickens describes her famous neighbors in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Georgia Dickens remembers Dr. Benjamin Mays

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Georgia Dickens describes her experiences in elementary and high school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Georgia Dickens recalls getting into trouble at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Georgia Dickens describes her close relationship with her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Georgia Dickens recalls her extracurricular activities at Spelman College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Georgia Dickens describes college experience and goals after graduating

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Georgia Dickens recalls marrying her husband, Robert D. Dickens

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Georgia Dickens describes teaching at Atlanta's Young Street Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Georgia Dickens recalls teaching at segregated public schools in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Georgia Dickens describes Atlanta's Alliance Theatre and her school dance and drama programs

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Georgia Dickens describes her involvement with Atlanta's Alliance Children's Theatre Guild

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Georgia Dickens talks about her volunteerism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Georgia Dickens talks about her volunteerism, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Georgia Dickens remembers family friend, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Georgia Dickens recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Georgia Dickens talks about HistoryMaker Julian Bond and his family

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Georgia Dickens recalls a race riot in Atlanta, Georgia in 1906

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Georgia Dickens describes HistoryMaker John Lewis and the National Black Arts Festival

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Georgia Dickens describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Georgia Dickens reflects upon social changes at Spelman College

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Georgia Dickens shares her thoughts about changes in social etiquette

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Georgia Dickens reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Georgia Dickens reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Georgia Dickens talks about her family

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Georgia Dickens reflects up on her life, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Georgia Dickens describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Georgia Dickens recalls getting into trouble at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
Georgia Dickens describes HistoryMaker John Lewis and the National Black Arts Festival
Transcript
So you were able to start Spelman [College, Atlanta, Georgia] in '38 [1938].$$Um-hm.$$Now you alluded to maybe having some trouble at school because you're, you're kind of active?$$Yeah, I did, well yeah, one time we were all sitting in the library I was truly sitting on the sofa with my husband to be [Robert D. Dickens] and reading a newspaper. And of course evidently Ms. [Charlotte] Templeton thought that was completely out of order. I wasn't doing anything but talking we were chatting but reading the paper together. So she sent my name to the Dean, Dean [Jane Hope] Lyons, well I told Dean Lyons said--ooh well gracious they were trying to get the AU [Atlanta University; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] Library at the time. So then she said okay I'm just go down with your [maternal] grandmother [Nelle Bryant], while which was right down the block down the street. Dr. Kelsey [ph.] was living with her then, so what did he do? He wrote the note evidently saying how thought, how ridiculous he thought it was. And so consequently I didn't have to go Albany [Georgia], where my mother [Stella Bryant Smith] (unclear) were at the time. So I always give him credit for my not getting sent home from the campus. But nothing other than that, no more than as you know, I was always into something talking. And as my thing from Spelman says my senior year, Ms. Personality always, in court holding court.$$Always holding court.$$Holding court (laughter) all the time.$$Would you, would you hold court about the issue of the day or?$$Yep, holding court about anything.$$Anything?$$Always, now kind of giving my opinion about what I thought and most times the girls agreed they just said, "Oh Gee Gee [HistoryMaker Georgia Dickens]" that's how I got that name too Gee Gee, on campus. Well they kind of thought a lot of what I said, and they would always ask right till today. All of my friends said heavenly father you would think I was a therapist, you know. Older, in between everybody called family calling me what do you think, what do you do, I've gotta do. I, I guess that's just my calling. Uh-huh, but I'm a people person, I love 'em.$Oh [HistoryMaker] John Lewis you worked on John Lewis' campaign too?$$Oh yeah bless his heart and he has worked so hard he has given his whole adult life to the program. And we, his wife is and we're friends naturally Lillian [Miles Lewis] but John we respect I do (unclear). I worked with him we were right down, downtown at his I can't think know where the name of the street Spring Street I think it was, his office was there. But you one thing most of us have worked in all campaigns. You know what like we go work for Shirley [Franklin] coming up I will I mean. But everything that we've had going that's real, whatever some of us have working in a, you know in the whole thing whether we were for the same candidate or not. We worked in some capacity. And I always call myself more of a volunteer not a paid person but volunteer. But as I say John'll come back now and say my friend young play daughter who, Women Looking Ahead she interviewed and he autographed his books. When he wrote that book and I have pictures with him you know autographing and he did one for me. He, he appreciates and remembers those of us who worked with him. Sometimes he'll tell 'em Gee Gee [HistoryMaker Georgia Dickens] worked with me when I first started. You know that's what the girl did for our [National] Black Arts Festival the other day. The girl who's an artist and over the Artist Rocket [ph] [HistoryMaker] Stephanie Hughley had the two of us stand up. 'Cause we were with the whole thing at the inception, we're the oldest workers there. When Michael Lomax had it we worked with it, when he star, started it.$$That was back in the '80s [1980s].$$Uh-huh, he something else. I forgot we thirty-five, I think we're thirty-five, no, no, no that's my club group. Yeah we're about thirty-five years old I think Black Arts Festival.$$Black Arts Festival?$$I think so.$$Okay.$$I got (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) This was like 1970?$$Uh-huh, could have been [sic. 1988]. But you know like I said it's too many of these things celebrating anniversaries I may be getting them confused. But we, we have been and I, I have worked I'm talking about worked since the inception. And Michael Lomax was (unclear) you know recognized those of us who have I don't mean just touched it, but we have worked. Because I, I would be trying to get two hundred volunteers for before the 15 of July, for, for the artist month. And we have had some, any artist you name they've been to this festival.$$Okay.$$And still coming.