Title: Oral History Interview with Guion Griffis Johnson, May 17, 1974. Interview G-0029-2.
Interviewer: Frederickson, Mary
Interviewee: Johnson, Guion Griffis
Subjects: Trade-unions--Officials and employees--Southern States--Education Young Women's Christian associations
Abstract: Guion Griffis Johnson was born and raised in Texas. She graduated in 1923 from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism before moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Guy Johnson. Johnson studied sociology at the University of North Carolina, graduating with her Ph.D. in 1927. While at UNC, both Johnson and her husband worked with the Institute for Research in Social Science. Johnson began to establish her career by studying poor and disadvantaged people in the South and race relations. In this interview, Johnson focuses primarily on her involvement with the women's movement and her efforts to balance work and family. Growing up in a family that had progressive beliefs about race and gender, Johnson was immersed in the women's suffrage movement. Encouraged by her mother to become economically independent, Johnson married a man whom she describes as supportive of her desire to have a career. The Johnsons began their family in the late 1920s; Johnson describes the challenges of balancing family and career during those years. In so doing, she emphasizes the importance of having outside help for childcare and housekeeping and the support of her husband and employers. In addition, Johnson discusses the changing role of women in American society during the twentieth century, focusing on such topics as her involvement in women's voluntary organizations; the impact of advances in birth control and abortion; and the evolving nature of marriage, divorce, and family.