Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, June 16, 1974. Interview G-0047-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Support for the ERA following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment

Pollitzer offers an overview of Susan Pringle Frost's continued work with the National Woman's Party following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. As Pollitzer recalls, she and Frost both continued to fervently advocate for women's rights after they had earned the right to vote. Shifting their attention to the Equal Rights Amendment, Frost and Pollitzer lobbied politicians such as William Pollock and Strom Thurmond. In addition, Pollitzer offers a brief overview of which women's organizations were in favor of the ERA in its early years of deliberation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mabel Pollitzer, June 16, 1974. Interview G-0047-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CONSTANCE MYERS:
I'd like to ask another question or two about Miss Sue. What did she do after ratification? Was she active for the women's movement at all after ratification?
MABEL POLLITZER:
Oh indeed yes. I'm glad you asked that. She was one who kept on indefatigably. After ratification, the last state by Tennessee and then, of course, Connecticut ratified, she never stopped for one minute. And she was then chairman of the South Carolina branch of the National Women's Party. I cannot remember that she called meetings because at that stage, it must be understood, meetings were not imperative. The whole idea then, was to center the attention on the federal government, on Representatives and Senators. And letter after letter she wrote. And I know she went to headquarters several times.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
But after ratification did she continue to do this?
MABEL POLLITZER:
Yes! Because then, they were working right away, in '23 - for the Equal Rights Ammendment.Alice Paul knew, with her wisdom, that only part of what Susan B. Anthony wanted had been accomplished. Only voting rights. But still, not all the other rights. So that was the purpose then of the Women's Party to have the Equal Rights Amendment passed.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And Miss Frost was active for the passage of an equal rights amendment?
MABEL POLLITZER:
Oh, definitely. For all those years until I took over. In Miss Frost's later years I was active chairman. We were constantly, almost, getting together, you might say, to do what we could to urge our own Senator & later two Senators, and Representatives to work for and to pass the amendment. And I must say that it was Sen. Pollock, * in the very early days, with whom Anita also worked, and I also worked. * U.S. Senator William Pollock from Cheraw, S.C. chosen to serve out Sen. Benjamin R. Tillman's unexpired term after Tillman's death in 1918. I'm speaking now of after ratification of the 19th Amendment . . . but it may have been Sen. Pollock for ratification. I think you are right. Pollock was for ratification of suffrage. But then it was with the members of the Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. I do not know exactly the year when US Sen. Strom Thurmond was elected. Sen. Thurmond was one of the early, early sponsors of ERA When I say Anita, you know that I'm talking of my sister.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Miss Frost remained active in the National Women's Party working for the Lucretia Mott amendment rather than entering the League of Women Voters and sponsoring what came to be knon around the state as citizenship schools?
MABEL POLLITZER:
I do not know if Miss Frost became a member of the League of Women Voters. As I told you, I did not. I didn't want to because at that time they were not in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment. And I also was not a member of the University Women's Club who were with the National American University Women's Clubs . . . I was not a member of the American Association of University Women. I spoke to the then president and she opposed the Federal Amendment bitterly. And I thought now there's no use to become a member of that one, and so forth. Now both groups are working for Ratification of ERA
CONSTANCE MYERS:
And you associated the League of Women Voters, in your mind, with the AAUW . . .
MABEL POLLITZER:
I cannot say I associated it. They were separate organizations. But they had one common purpose. They at that time did not want women to have equal rights through federal action Well, of course, I just didn't like that. So as I say, when you asked about Miss Frost in keeping up her interest, it was one of her lifelong interests. just as mine has been and is . . . and also, of course, the preservation of the buildings of Charleston. As she became older, I took over and did everything until the autumn of 1972 - (which is rather recent) after the Amendment was passed. I still work for Ratification.