Anita J. Mackey

Leader in expanding veterans’ services

Born in 1914, Anita J. Mackey exemplifies social work values and has lived the code of ethics of the profession for 63 years. She is a community leader and a nationally recognized social service worker. As a licensed clinical social worker, she worked for the Veteran’s Administration for thirty years in three cities: Chicago, as the first African American supervisor in social service; Los Angeles as the first African American supervisor there; and Santa Barbara as administrator of the Social Work Service Office. She has made significant contributions to the improvement of Veterans’ services.

Mackey’s influence goes far beyond her work with the Veterans Administration from which she retired in 1976. It was through her efforts, documentations and leadership that the V.A. decided to expand their outpatient clinical services to Santa Barbara. This move had a major impact on how and where veterans received much needed services. Hundreds of veterans in the Southern California area benefited directly due to her efforts.

An undergraduate at the University of Redlands (1937), Mackey received her MA from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. She exudes tremendous energy and is not reluctant to challenge agencies or individuals that do not comply with social work principles or philosophy and has taken many risks to achieve, promote, or implement a worthwhile program.

Her contributions to the profession of social work in California may be even greater now than when she was employed. She has been and continues to be actively involved with boards or commissions that deal directly with the social welfare of individuals, including health, education, employee associations, business housing, police and fire, and the aged. Any organization or group she works with feels her presence and benefits from her participation.

Mackey continues to attend various CEU seminars to maintain her license. She encourages new social workers in the field to join the National Association of Social Work and to maintain the philosophy and ethics of social work in their practice. With people from all walks of life, her influence is quite impressive.

Anita J. Mackey is an outstanding representative of the social work profession, exemplified by her 28 awards and the recognition she has received. In 1999 she was honored as a Social Work Pioneer by the NASW and is listed in “Who’s Who of American Women.” She is also named in “Two Thousand Women of Achievement,” London England 1972. Mackey not only warranted the honors for what she has accomplished throughout her life, but for what she continues to achieve.

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