Voter Education Project Executive Director Geraldine Gray Thompson

By Allison Galloup, Archival Assistant, Voter Education Project Collection

“Working for Freedom: Documenting Civil Rights Organizations” is a collaborative project between Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center to uncover and make available previously hidden collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and New Orleans. The project is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each organization regularly contributes blog posts about their progress.

For more information about the collection described in this post, please contact the Archives Research Center at Atlanta University Center, archives [at] auctr [dot] edu

Geraldine G. Thompson was born in Memphis, Tennessee and is a graduate of LeMoyne College and Atlanta University. Prior to her tenure as Executive Director, Thompson served as Director of Scheduling for the 1972 Andrew Young for Congress Campaign as well as Co-Coordinator of the Maynard Jackson for Mayor 1973 Campaign.  For the Carter/Mondale campaign of 1976, Thompson worked as the Coordinator of the ten southern states. Immediately before taking the Executive Director position at VEP, Thompson was the Regional Administrator for Region IV of the Housing and Urban Development.

In 1981 she assumed the role of Executive Director of the Voter Education Project. As the director she expanded VEP’s programming to include a Black Women’s Vote Project and a Southern Women’s Civic Education Program. Though she continued to work to expand funding, the project fell into financial hardships in the mid-1980s. Thompson, however, worked to salvage the program and managed to keep it going for the duration of her tenure.

Aside from her work at VEP, Thompson also served as a member of the Board of Directors, Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross and is a life member of the NAACP. Currently, Thompson is the headmistress at the Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, a private school founded by her husband, Pastor Wayne C. Thompson in 1986.

Thompson was the recipient of several awards including the Collections of Life and Heritage Award for Achievement in Government, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Distinguished Service Award and the Certificate of Merit. In 1981 she was the recipient of the first Congressional Award for Exemplary Service to the Public.

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