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.
Abstract of the full interview
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.
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