For more than 60 years, Lottie Gibson was a one-woman crusader for Greenville’s poor and disenfranchised. Gibson was an outspoken social activist, widely known and respected for her work with families who were homeless and bereaved. She cut through the red tape to provide human and material resources for the sick, unemployed, imprisoned and other citizens in need. A voice for the voiceless, she was always accessible no matter the day, time or weather.
Known as a pioneer in all areas of human relations, Gibson worked for many civic and educational organizations on the local, state and national levels to promote economic and social equality. She served as chairperson for the Board of Directors of Sunbelt Human Advancement Resources, Inc., a Life Member of the NAACP and an active member with its Greenville branch. Gibson was also a founding member of the Democratic Women of Greenville County, and a charter member of the Epsilon Tau Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She served on the Personnel and Program Committee for the SC Council of Educational Opportunity Program, and the United Way of Greenville County Community Planning Council. She also played a vital role in the fight to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a holiday in Greenville County.
Gibson was employed at Greenville Technical College, where she served as the college’s first Director of Federal TRIO Programs for disadvantaged students and directed Student Support Services. In addition, Gibson represented District 25 on the Greenville County Council for more than 25 years. While there, she served on the Planning and Development Committee, Public Safety & Human Services Committee and was a liaison for the County Council to the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission.
Gibson received numerous public awards, recognitions and citations, including the prestigious Jefferson Award for her service to humanity. The Phoenix Center named the Lottie Beal Gibson Center of Excellence in her honor because of her endless advocacy efforts for people who struggle with addiction and substance abuse.