Thelma Stevens was a lifelong advocate of social justice and spent much of her career working to better race relations for African Americans in the South. Following the death of her parents, Stevens, who was ten at the time, went to live with her older sister. She worked as a teacher following her graduation from high school in 1919. In 1922, Stevens left her job as a teacher to pursue a degree at the State Teachers College (now the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg). While there, Stevens was active in the YWCA. Despite opposition from the college administration, she worked to develop better communication between the college and the community and to alleviate racial tensions and discrimination. After graduating, Stevens continued her education at Scarritt College for Christian Workers. She later found employment with the Women's Division of the Methodist Church, accepting the position of director of the Bethlehem Center, a community center for African Americans, in Augusta, Georgia. She was promoted to the post of Superintendent of Christian Social Relations of the Women's Missionary Council for the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her work with the Methodist Church continued until her retirement in 1968.--From Oral Histories of the American South biography.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- Oral histories of the American South (Georgia selections) (Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill))
- Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement (Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill))