Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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  Vicki Gabriner
  Civil Rights Activist
  Boston WWD Event 2000
  Born in 1942
  Worked with the African-American community in rural Tennessee to register voters, integrate public facilities, and elect African-Americans to local office
 
Biography  up to top

Vicki Gabriner was born in 1942 in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She was raised in a politically-active family and learned the importance of fighting for social justice from her mother. Gabriner now perceives an important link between Jewish values and activism for social justice, though her parents did not make this connection explicit to her as a child.

Gabriner became a radical activist during her college years at Cornell, where she was involved in the civil rights movement and nascent antiwar activities. After college, she spent three summers in Fayette County, Tennessee, with a Cornell-affiliated group, living with the black community, teaching at Freedom Schools, and working on local elections, voter registration, and integration of public facilities. During the school year, she earned a master's degree in education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

In 1968, Gabriner moved back to New York and taught in a decentralized school district. During this time, she also joined the radical student activist group Weathermen (an association about which she has very ambivalent feelings), traveled to Cuba with the Venceremos brigade, and became a feminist. Gabriner moved to Atlanta in 1970, where she came out as a lesbian and helped to found the Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance. In 1973, Gabriner was arrested for her participation in a Weathermen action several years earlier. She was convicted in a 1977 trial and won her appeal in 1978.

Gabriner became more involved with Jewish life as an adult when she began studying for her bat mitzvah, which took place in 1995 at Temple Israel in Boston. In the course of this exploration, she discovered an interest in Yiddish and Eastern European Jewish life. She remains a member of Temple Israel and was involved in Women Whose Lives Span the Century, a cooperative oral history project between Temple Israel and the Jewish Women's Archive.

 
What She Said  up to top
ON JEWISH VALUES
I feel like one of the stronger things I grew up with as a kid was some sense of fighting for social justice ...More 
ON FAMILY UPBRINGING
I grew up in a home where my parents were politically conscious and politically active. ...More 
ON ROLE MODELS
My mother [was a role model]... She really taught me by her doing. ...More 
ON TRADITIONAL ROLES
There was also a part of me that was beginning to understand that there was something wrong with the picture. ...More 
ON WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
Probably what began to really cap [defining myself as a feminist] was that early C-R [consciousness-raising] experience. ...More 
ON PATH TO ACTIVISM
My first political activities were at Cornell... I went to my first picket line, which was to support the sit-ins at the Woolworths counters in the South. ...More 
ON IMPACT ON WORLD
I think the work was ultimately good work. There were a lot of mistakes made, but I think the work was good work ...More 
ON IMPACT ON SELF
I was so impelled and compelled to do this [civil rights] work--the drive was so strong. And it was a drive that came from inside of me. ...More 
ON CHALLENGES
It was very scary to know that I could get killed, which I think was a real possibility every day that we were down there. ...More 
ON REWARDS
[The most rewarding aspects were] moving into this whole other culture, really, and making contact. ...More 
 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Vicki Gabriner." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pvgabriner>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Vicki Gabriner," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pvgabriner>.