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Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project: D

A guide to the Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project collection.

Davis, Jean

Interviewee: Jean Davis 
Interviewer: Susan Ann Millen
Date of interview: January 22, 2005
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 54 page transcript

Davis talks about her early life and segregation

Davis talks about protest activities during her college years

Davis talks about the Coalition of Labor Union Women

Davis talks about the relationship between women's rights and civil rights


Born in the segregated South to politically active parents, Jean Davis became politically aware as a young girl in Newnan, Georgia. Her early aspiration was to work as a missionary in Africa but instead, she attended Morris Brown College and taught public school in Atlanta. As a student at Morris Brown, Davis was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and participated in boycotts of Rich’s Department Store and sit-ins at Woolworth’s. Davis also worked with the A. Philip Randolph Institute as well as the Georgia AFL-CIO and the National AFL-CIO. Through her work with different union organizations and her activism in civil rights, Davis became interested in the Equal Rights Amendment. She felt strongly that the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) was necessary in order to bring union women on board with the ERA and also to establish an organization that would place women in leadership positions. In addition to her work with the ERA, Davis worked on a number of campaigns from local school boards to notable politicians and continues the struggle for human rights.
Aware of racial discrimination at an early age, Davis begins by recounting her childhood in segregated Newnan, Georgia. Her emerging activism, she believes, was influenced by her community-oriented parents and by her cousin, a railroad worker, and union member. Davis discusses her internship at the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and how that led to her work with several different social justice organizations, including the AFL-CIO. Davis articulates her struggle to find a way to support both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement -- which was largely considered to be a white, middle-class effort. She recalls, “I couldn’t see how I wanted to be a person who advocated for white women; when white women weren’t advocating human rights for everybody.” Davis also explains that one of the reasons more women of color were not involved in the ERA was because there was economic disparity between white women and women of color. She says that her opinion of the women’s movement changed when Sarah Butler couched the issue not in terms of race or class but in terms of human rights. Davis ends the interview by talking about the importance of community activism for all generations, and discusses the various causes and organizations she continues to support.

Deeley, Anne

Interviewee: Anne Deeley
Interviewer: Janet Paulk 
Date of interview: May 20, 1999
Extent: 1 audio cassette; 1 compact disc; 36 page transcript


Deeley talks about establishing the rape crisis center at Grady Hospital

Born in 1948, Anne Deeley earned a B.A. in psychology and a M.A. in occupational psychology at the University of Kentucky before making her home in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been a champion of women's rights both as an activist and a businesswoman. In 1971 Deeley was hired by the General Services Administration to be an Equal Opportunity Specialist and her job was to audit companies to ensure government contractors hired minorities and women. Deeley served as president of the Atlanta chapter of the Feminist Action Alliance, Inc., and as Steering Committee chairwoman in 1975. As a partner of Deeley-Fenton & Associates, Inc., an Atlanta-based career consultant firm, she was a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences, meetings, and seminars. In 1983 she was selected as one of the Outstanding Young People of Atlanta. As of 2000, Deeley was owner of Deeley Trimble & Company. She continues to volunteer for community organizations.
Anne Deeley describes herself as a "typical Midwesterner," growing up in Indiana with a homemaker mother who was very involved in the church and volunteer activities, and a father who worked for a newspaper. During her junior year in high school, Deeley was selected to travel to Peru as an exchange student -- an experience she describes as "absolutely wonderful and exciting," and which "opened my eyes in terms of travel, adventure, experiences." As a college student at the University of Kentucky, she recalled how she initially struggled academically while excelling socially. Deeley eventually completed her M.A. in psychology and moved to Atlanta. It was in Atlanta in 1971, that she went to a NOW meeting and read about the "employment task force," which was looking for women with advanced degrees to work federal jobs. She says that this was what led her to her job with the General Services Administration. Looking back on her involvement with the Women's Movement, Deeley points to the Vietnam War and the events of 1968 as strong influences on her burgeoning political activism. She says, "I'll never forget this memory of being in a sorority rush party and being all terribly superficial and chat-chat-chat, and then as soon as the party was over, going down to the basement where the television was, to see the '68 riots and trying to figure out who was doing the most important work." Deeley recounts the divisions within NOW and the genesis of the Feminist Action Alliance. She says that the FAA was focused on local issues such as rape legislation, putting women in positions of power, and career planning for women. To this end, they worked to change the rape laws in Georgia, and built a rape crisis center at Grady Hospital, as well as train police officers to deal with rape survivors, and advocate victims' rights; they developed training programs such as "Georgia Women and Politics," which they presented at Emory; and they held recruiting fairs and career planning workshops, working with local companies and with universities. Deeley goes on to describe the development of the Atlanta Women's Network, "a more broad based organization for business and professional women to network around women's issues," and a natural offshoot of the Feminist Action Alliance. Deeley finishes by discussing her professional life, and says that although she is no longer active in feminist activities, she continues to volunteer, and lists Leadership Atlanta, the Red Cross, and the Georgia Special Olympics as organizations she has focused on. "And when we look around the city today, there are still women, I think, who were in those early feminist activities who've gone on to do very good and wonderful things with their jobs, their families, their communities, their churches. So I think that was a good training ground of helping each other learn and grow and develop."

Dewald, Gretta M.

Interviewee: Gretta Moll Dewald
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of interview: April 17, 2002
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 28-page transcript

Dewald talks about the relationship of younger women to feminism

Gretta Moll was born in Kutztown, Pennsylvania in 1929. She graduated from Atlanta Girls High School in 1946 and from Agnes Scott College in 1950. She worked as an elementary and high school teacher and was active in PTA and Girl Scouts. She was also very active in her church, teaching Sunday School, organizing children's choirs, and eventually became an Elder -- only the second woman to be chosen by her congregation for that position. Taking an interest in politics, Dewald was involved with several local campaigns, helped organize the Democratic Women of DeKalb, and rose to the presidency of the Democratic Party of DeKalb County in the late 1960s. In 1970, Dewald worked on Jimmy Carter's gubernatorial campaign. In 1972, despite not having been nominated by Governor Carter, she won place as a Georgia Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Miami. During Carter's presidential campaign in 1976, Dewald worked as a grassroots campaigner in the South, in the Midwest, and in New England. After Carter's inauguration, she was asked to work as Chair of the Women's Division of the Democratic National Committee. In 1980, upon Carter's failed bid for re-election, Dewald returned to Atlanta to work for DeKalb County's CEO, Manuel Maloof, as Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff. Serving from 1981 through 1989, she was the only female Executive Assistant in DeKalb County's history. In 1989, Dewald organized the DeKalb County pretrial release program, and managed the system until her retirement in 1994. She died in 2006.
The daughter of a school superintendent and a piano teacher, Dewald begins by describing her childhood in Kutztown Pennsylvania. Her family moved to Atlanta during WWII, and she recounts her parents' frustration with the segregation they experienced in the South. Graduating from Girls High School and Agnes Scott College, she describes her earliest experiences as a teacher in Eastman, Georgia, and then talks about her life as a young wife and mother. Dewald discusses her foray into politics as campaign office manager of various candidates in DeKalb County. She goes on to describe her work in Jimmy Carter’s gubernatorial campaign, and then presidential campaign as a member of the “Peanut Brigade.” She recalls that when Jimmy Carter became president, she was approached by Mrs. Carter to head the Women’s Division of the Democratic National Committee. She says that the Equal Rights Amendment was an important issue for the Women’s Division, and she goes on to describe its efforts to ratify the amendment. After Carter’s defeat in 1980, Dewald returned to Atlanta where she was active in a number or organizations, including the League of Women Voters and the Democratic Women of DeKalb. She describes her experiences with those groups and their efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Georgia. She goes on to talk about her tenure as Executive Assistant to Manuel Maloof, CEO of DeKalb County, and in particular her work on personnel issues, and monitoring county commissioners' meetings. Dewald talks about her activities as a leading member of the Democratic Women of DeKalb as well as the Democratic Party of DeKalb, and she finishes by recounting her work on the DeKalb county courts Pre-trial Release Program.

Duke, Nellie

Interviewee: Nellie Duke 
Interviewer: Janet Paulk 
Date of interview: April 19, 2004
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 47 page transcript

Duke talks about discussing the ERA with speaker Tom Murphy

Originally from Georgia, Nellie D. Duke worked for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She has also been involved with the Council on Child Abuse; Family Connections; Women's Leadership Forum; the NAACP, and the League of Women Voters. She has served as president of the American Legion Auxiliary and United Methodist Women and was a state committee member of the Women's Vote Project. Duke helped found two women's groups -- the West Georgia Women's Forum and the Georgia Women's Alliance -- and serves on advisory committees for the Institute for Women's Policy Research and Georgia Coalition of Black Women as well as the boards of Today's Atlanta Woman magazine, Southwire Company and Possible Woman Enterprises. Chief executive officer of the Georgia Commission on Women and the Georgia Woman of the Year Committee, Inc., Duke joined the Commission at its founding in 1992, and served as chair until 2000. Duke recently was awarded the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award as well as awards from the American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters and the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs, and was appointed to the advisory boards of Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University School of Medicine and the Task Force for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at the Georgia Department of Public Health. In 1999, Duke was chair of the Georgia Stakeholders Task Force of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Task Force on Violence and Abuse in Carroll County, and served on the Women's Advisory Council of the Board of Corrections. Duke also was a member of the State Committee of the Democratic Party and vice chair of the Carroll County Democratic Executive Committee, serving as a delegate to the state convention.
Duke describes her childhood in a small mill village outside of Rome, Georgia and recalls the time when she first started to notice that, "working women had a different set of problems and priorities’ than other women." She discusses her interests and her personal life, and explains how she became involved in social activism. By 1970 Duke was working for her PTA and with Georgia State Senator Lamar Plunkett to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. She recounts her involvement with a number of organizations, such as the Council on Child Abuse, Family Connections, Women's Leadership Forum, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, and she discusses reaching out to professional and community organizations to raise awareness and support for the Equal Rights Amendment.  Encouraged by her son, Duke recounts her experiences at the Capitol, when she met with Tom Murphy (the Speaker of the House) and Joe Frank Harris (head of the Appropriations Committee) to try to persuade them to support the ERA. Duke believes that the ERA was defeated because most of the Georgia legislators were men; because many women were afraid that they might lost the "safety and protection of their husbands;" and because the amendment, and its political consequences were misunderstood. After the ERA failed to pass, Duke continued to work on many women-related issues.  She describes in detail her experiences as a founding member of Georgia's Commission on Women, as well as the work of the Commission, and she goes on to talk about her efforts, and the efforts of the Georgia Women's Alliance to get women appointed to state boards, commissions, authorities and agencies. Duke finishes by describing the issues that she considers to be most important today, highlighting childcare for working mothers, pay equality, and recognition of the achievements of women.

Duncanson, Mary Jo

Interviewee: Mary Jo Duncanson 
Interviewer: Janet Paulk 
Date of interview: April 3, 2004
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 39 page transcript

Duncanson talks about becoming involved with the ERA

Mary Jo Duncanson was born in Spring Grove, MN in 1947. She received a B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan in 1969 and soon began working for the Federal Education Projects (1969-1974). From 1974 to 1992, Duncanson managed her husband's private practice and beginning in 1992, she went to work for Emory University. Duncanson served as treasurer for the Atlanta chapter of NOW (1973-1975) and as the network chair for the ERA Georgia, Inc. (1981). At Emory, she served as Chair for the College Staff Consortium, Emory College, 1998-1999, and received the Emory College Employee of the Year award in 2000.
Duncanson begins by discussing her childhood in postwar Michigan and how, at a young age, she became interested in politics. She discusses her early political activities with the Democratic Party in Michigan, and what led her to Atlanta in 1971. She explains that by 1975 she had turned her attention to the Equal Rights Amendment, attending the meetings of the Atlanta chapter of NOW, and going on to serve as chapter treasurer for two years. Duncanson describes the Atlanta chapter of NOW as a somewhat transient organization -- one in which women were looking for an avenue to connect with other women with similar interests. She believes that the Atlanta chapter never achieved its potential as a significant political actor. As the treasurer of Atlanta NOW, Duncanson also served as a liaison to ERA Georgia and eventually was appointed as one of the co-chairs of the ERA Georgia network. The ERA Georgia network included women from NOW, the League of Women Voters, and business/professional women. From this point, Duncanson, along with other women, were able to attract women from around the state and in the final stages of the fight for the ERA in the Georgia legislature, Duncanson recalls they had approximately 70 county-wide leaders. She considers the state-wide organizing effort as one of the most personally rewarding moments of her work with the ERA. Duncanson discusses leadership issues and some of the problems that created tension among the different women’s organizations. The particular issues that attracted Duncanson to the Women’s Movement included reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, women’s property rights and marriage rights.

Durand, Joyce

Interviewee: Joyce Durand 
Interviewer: Janet Paulk 
Date of interview: January 27, 1997
Extent: 2 audio cassettes; 2 compact discs; 30 page transcript

Durand talks about how the Women's Movement affected her professional life.

Joyce Jenkins Durand was born in Ducktown, TN in 1939. She received a B.S. in elementary education, a master's of librarianship, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership. Durand formally served as coordinator of media services for the Rockdale County School System, assistant professor in the School of Education at West Georgia College, as well as the school librarian of Atlanta City schools. Durand was also a member of the Atlanta National Organization for Women (ca. 1971-1978), serving as secretary and historian for the organization.
Durand discusses her rural childhood, growing up with religious parents who had come through the Depression. She states that her early aspirations included getting a “good education” and attending college, both of which she achieved. Although Durand never formally became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, she was deeply affected by it: She describes her first encounter with the Movement, which took place during her tenure as teacher at James L. Key Elementary School. At this time, the school was converted to accommodate all black students. As a divorcee and single mother of two, Durand became involved in the Women’s Movement by attending Atlanta NOW meetings. By the early 70s, Durand was asked to become the historian to the Atlanta Chapter of NOW. In discussing her relationship with NOW leader, Martha Gaines, and the splintering of the organization over the direction NOW should take, Durand considers the divisions within the Women’s Movement over the ERA, as well as the defeat of the ERA. Durand provides interesting insight into how many of the issues of the Women’s Movement were co-opted by the Right and placed under the rubric of “family values.” She also considers why the term feminism has fallen out of fashion.

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