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For 35 years I have lived with the women of Houston, their faces and gestures seared into my mind, their issues, their energy, their nobility, their dreams as I acknowledged and preserved them have been my almost daily companions. “Politics is my Bag”; “pro-God, pro-family, pro-ERA”; “Keep ‘Em in the Closet”; “we didn’t burn ‘em”; “Pro-Plan”; “Majority”; Puerto-Rico”; “Alcoholism is a Women’s Issue”.....High Chief Pulu Peneueta , Mayor of Pago Pago, American Samoa; Agnes Dill, of the Isleta Laguna tribe; Freddie Groomes; Gracia Molina Pick; baby Era; Frances Gubbins;
Peggy Kokernot, Michele Cearcy, Sylvia Ortiz; Leah Novick; Alice Bibeau and Colleen Wong...all as close to me, or closer, than Jean Stapleton, Betty Ford, Jill Ruckelshaus, Liz Carpenter. Where are they now? It is a great joy when I do know.
After years of looking into her face, taking inspiration from her "gesture of triumph," I now know the woman on the cover of my book is Vinie Burrows, photographed at the "Celebrating Women" event of the NY State Women's Meeting.
And then there is ERA ( here with Gloria Steinem, left, and her mother Judy McCarthey, right)
Gloria Steinem with Baby E.R.A. daughter of Arizona delegate Judy McCarthey to the First National Women's Conference, at the White House, March, 1978.Photo copyright © 1978 Diana Mara Henry / www.dianamarahenry.com. Right: E.R.A. and her mother Judy, recent family photo.
"I am so grateful for the gifts the E.R.A. movement and my name have given me. Before the movement I could never have enjoyed the position in life that I do now. Also my name, and everything it stands for, has made me believe in myself regardless of the difficulties I faced in life....
"I truly thank my mother and all of you for what you have done for me. My name has given me strength and confidence throughout my life. I am a self-made person, I began college at 16 and now have 3 degrees. My companies are a foreign language school in Fort Collins, a nationwide marketing company, and a social networking platform I provide to communities throughout the USA and Canada. I have always loved to create, whether through art, music or writing.
"I was hoping to meet you in New York but unfortunately I couldn't make it. I have two small babies and own three companies. The hurricane made me worry about bringing them to New York. My son is only 4 months old and travel is still a bit hard at this point.
You can go to my Trinidadwebsite to see my family, artwork and community.
Here is the link to my school's website:
A New “Era”
from page 150 of
The Spirit of Houston: The First National Women’s Conference:
An Official report to the President, the Congress and the People of the United States.
(THE book to have about the conference!) Click on the link to page through it!
Era McCArthey was born shortly after her mother returned home to Phoenix, Arizona from the Houston Conference, which she attended as a delegate even though she was having labor pains.
“There are two reasons I named my baby girl Era,” explained Judy McCarthey. “ One is for our amendment since the ERA is the most important issue in our fight for true equality for all, and the second is because of the concept which arose out of the Houston Conference, the concept that it heralded the beginning of a new era for women.
Delegate McCarthey, a 31-year-old Apache Indian, and the mother of six children, has plans for a new life for herself, too. She is enrolled as a criminal justice Major at Arizona State University and hopes to enter law school.
“ I have been helping mature women reenter education and the job force vis the Association for Women’s Active Return to Education (AWARE) and the Department of Economic Security, Welfare Office,” she told the National Commission. “As a welfare recipient, I am trying to get off the welfare merry-go-round, and I understand many of the problems facing other women in my position.
“I am very aware of what it means to be an ethnic minority, a divorced mother, a mature college student, and on a limited income. But I know, as we all do, that there can be a fuller life for all of us and our families. That is why I support the National Plan of Action and the Equal Rights Amendment.”
Judy McCArthey, mother of Baby Era held by Gloria Steinem on the home page, seen speaking at the microphone at Houston's First National Women's Conference, 1977
Judy Tallwing MacCarthey today!
American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD.
Judy Tallwing | Native American Artist - http://tallwing.com/connect
"Thank you again for your decision to show our history, it helps me when I talk to my grandchildren and great grandchildren to let them see the faces of the women who've made a difference in their lives and there were so many!Will see you soon in NY.Judy" (10/18/12)
"I have so much respect for your work. Without our photographers and journalists we'd be another lost generation of women of knowledge.
E.R.A.'s specialty in college was women artists in history and I found it amazing that there were so many of them that few had ever heard of. What a loss of our history. You are one of the important people who keep us all alive to history. Thank you! "(10/16/12)
"I now live in Baltimore, Md and am full time working on my art, since I retired from working in the domestic violence prevention field. E.R.A. now runs her own company in Trinidad Colorado, with her husband and children. She was the second of my family to graduate from college, me being the first :-). ( 9/29/12)
That whole time was a true awakening for me and has had a great impact on my life. Thank you for all you've done for women.
Judy T McCarthey"
Through the Maynard Institute Diana Mara Henry reconnected with Melba Tolliver, photographed above as she was composing her report at the NY State Women's meeting, Albany, 1977.
"Melba Tolliver got the assignment of the year in 1971
President Nixon's daughter, Trisha, was marrying Eddie Cox, and Tolliver was to go to Washington D.C. to cover the presidential event. Reporting for WABC in New York, at the time it was unusual for a local station to send a reporter out of town on a national story.....Perhaps it was the beginning of entertaining news. The station took great pains to make sure the staff was ethnically diverse. Tolliver, an African American and Geraldo Rivera, Puerto Rican, were some of the "identifiable ethnics" on staff.
Tolliver had been thinking for some time of changing her hairstyle. She was tired of processing her hair, and using wigs. So she decided to go natural, and made the switch the week of her assignment to Washington D.C. It was a modest afro....
Management threatened to keep her off the air if she didn't change her hair back. She went to Washington D.C. for the wedding, covered it the only way she knew how using live shots of herself, and let New York decide what to do with the footage.
When she returned, management was insistent that she had to straighten her hair or she'd have to wear a hat or scarf if she wanted to get back on air. Now the New York Post had gotten wind that something was happening at the station, and people were beginning to wonder why they hadn't seen Tolliver on air. When the Post began calling people at the station, including the news director, the station backed down and put her on the air. But by now word had gotten out what had happened. It was bad publicity for the station. People wrote letters supporting Tolliver's right to wear her hair as she pleased, even if no one liked it.
Agnes Dill, of the Isleta Laguna tribe, born in 1913 and here photographed as a delegate to the First National Women's Conference, became a University of New Mexico graduate and received her BA in 2009, as reported in a feature story with this photograph in The American Indian Graduate Magazine:
Suzy Chaffee writes to DMH:
"HAIL TO THE PIONEERS OF WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Native American women were the first champions of Women’s empowerment. I learned this in 1977, when Donna deVarona and I joined First Ladies Johnson, Carter and Ford in running with the torch into the Houston Astrodome to finish the 2,000 mile Women’s Relay for "Women's International Year. The run started in NY’s Seneca Falls, birthplace of the Suffragettes, like Susan B. Anthony, who was first adopted by Seneca Clan Mothers. Their love for sports over the eons developed their wisdom to train and choose (and if necessary remove) the great Chiefs. This high level of collective intelligence resulted in the first equalitariandemocracy now "spring-ing" up worldwide!
"Did you know that I also brought sports to the International Action Plan for the First International Women's Year, at Mexico City in 1970, with my Olympic mother Stevia. It was coincidentally funded by the sister of the Shah of Iran and possibly Farah Diba too, whom I did a film skiing with her and Billy Kidd - synchronized skiing - in Iran just before their downfall. Got a great photo skiing with her in case you want some roots like that. Thanks soooo much and what a difference our Women's event made! When and where is the 30th Reunion? Bless you and your Valiant Team, Suzy Chaffee." More from Suzy Chaffee here.