Myers Park Baptist Church records concerning Gladys Avery Tillett
Material relating primarily to a celebration (1978) at Myers Park Baptist Church honoring this women's rights activist. Includes biographical material, notes of remarks by Bonnie E. Cone, biographical sketch of speaker Ruth Easterling, and a cassette recording of the event. Also includes a recording of the funeral service (1978) for the Rev. Carlyle Marney, minister of Myers Park Baptist Church (1958-67).
- 1960 - 1978
- Tillett, Gladys Avery (Person)
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This collection was accumulated for a celebration by the Women of the Church of Myers Park Baptist Church in honor of Gladys Avery Tillett. Gini Osborne, president of the Women of the Church, organized the celebration, which was held on September 18, 1978; and Dr. Bonnie E. Cone, vice chancellor emerita of UNC Charlotte, presided. Speakers were Ruth Easterling, member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and Edyth Winningham, professor of political science emerita at UNC Charlotte. The celebration, "A Woman's Contribution," honored Tillett for her lifelong activism for women's rights.
Gladys Tillett was born March 19, 1891 in Morganton, N.C., to Sara Love Thomas and A. C. Avery Tillett, a North Carolina Supreme Court justice. She was graduated from the Woman's College in Greensboro (now UNC at Greensboro) in 1915 and from UNC at Chapel Hill in 1917. A staunch supporter of equal rights for women, she founded the Mecklenburg County League of Women Voters in 1922 (the first chapter in North Carolina), and in 1933-34 she served as president of the state organization. In the late 1920s, she pressured Mecklenburg County Democratic Party leaders into allowing women to become more active in local politics; as a result, she became a vice-chair of her precinct. In 1927, she pushed successfully for a provision in the state party platform that required a man and a woman to share the elected leadership positions. Between 1928 and 1956, she was a member of the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee and was state vice-chair (1934-36). Tillett directed the Democratic National Women's Speakers Bureau during the 1936 and 1940 presidential campaigns, and became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt during this time. From 1940 to 1950, she was vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and was chair of its women's division. She was a keynote speaker for women at the 1944 convention and was the principal speaker on international issues at the 1948 convention. She resigned as vice-chair in 1950 to direct Frank Porter Graham's campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate. In 1956, she was assistant to the national chair for Adlai Stevenson's presidential campaign and co-chair in North Carolina. During the 1960 presidential campaign, she was one of the first Southern political leaders to speak out on religious freedom. From this campaign came one of her most famous speeches that made national head lines, "Religious Freedom and the Ballot Box" (photocopy in the collection). In addition to her participation in Democratic Party politics, Tillett held various positions with the United Nations. These positions included membership in the U.S. delegation to the UNESCO conference in Paris (1949); U.S. representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (1961-65); and alternate member of the U.S. Delegation to the UN General Assembly (1961-65). In the mid-1970s, Tillett was president of North Carolina ERA United. Her husband, Charles W. Tillett, was a prominent Charlotte attorney, president of the state bar association, and author of several articles on international affairs. She died on September 21, 1984.
0.1 Linear Feet
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Bonnie E. Cone, 1983.
- Myers Park Baptist Church records concerning Gladys Avery Tillett
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