For over fifty years Henrietta M. Gibbs was an active member of
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery. In the life of that congregation she
taught a Sunday school class which she led to a ministry among women of the
Julia Tutwiler Prison, Wetumpka. She was a trustee of the church, and treasurer
for fifteen years. With her husband, James Albert Gibbs, she organized a
dramatic group, providing an outlet for talented members of the
On the state level with her denomination, she
was a chartered trustee of Selma University, leading in the support of that
institution. The dining hall at Selma University was named for her. She was
president of the Alabama Baptist Women's Convention, 1922-1960, and led in a
fund drive for missionary support, providing an automobile for a Selma doctor
who was a missionary to Africa.
For fifteen years (1945-1960) Mrs. Gibbs served as treasurer of the
National Baptist Women's Convention, and represented this body at Baptist World
Alliance meetings in Copenhagen (1947) and London (1955).
In civic and social endeavors Mrs. Gibbs became a well-known person in
the state. She was president of the Anna M. Duncan Club, a federated service
club for women in Montgomery, and was president of the Alabama Federation of
Colored Women's Clubs, 1936-43, also serving that organization as Chairman of
the Executive Board, 1943-47. Along with other members of the Alabama
Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, she was instrumental in the establishment
of institutions for delinquent youth at Mt. Meigs.
Mrs. Gibbs sought clemency for the first African-American woman sentenced
to be executed in the electric chair, and was the first African-American woman
registered to vote in Montgomery, 1921. A public housing project in Montgomery
was named for her.