Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives
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.
Abstract of the full interview
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."
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