When the WACs were off base for liberty, Griffie was confronted by the South’s harsh Jim Crow laws. She couldn’t shop in the same stores, eat in the same restaurants or ride seated next to her friends on a bus.
“It was eye-opening, but all those experiences changed me and gave me insight I never dreamed or thought I’d ever have,” Griffie said.
She met her husband while both were serving in the Army. They settled in Chicago after being discharged, and began a family – three sons and daughters. Her sons served in the military, as well – the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marines. She got involved in her children’s schools, including protesting the use of unusable, outdated textbooks.
When their family moved to the Cedar Falls, Griffie continued her community involvement. “My mother was always active in the community, so I got a lot of that from her. If you want to make things better, you have to take part in things, what’s going on. You can’t just sit on the sidelines and complain. I wanted to be part of the solution, so that pushed me.”
She served on the Family & Children’s Council advisory board, volunteered with the Gates Neighborhood Association, African Americans Taking Action Against AIDS Council and many others.
She has worked for Job Services of Iowa, the U.S. Census, the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, Bakari Behavioral Health Inc., and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center of Hawkeye Community College. She retired in 2000 as program manager for the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Culture-Specific AIDS Center.