tv [untitled] June 24, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT
"ernest freeberg's book about eugene v. debs, his espionage campaign and his final years. i want to say thanks to both of you as we close out here to come being with us of terre haute, indiana, and telling us more about this third party, the white house and his effect on american history. as we close out, some thank yous to the foundation itself debsfoundation.org. charles king at indiana state university, the cunningham memorial library special collections here at the university. and our affiliate, time warner cable. thanks to all of you for helping us put this program together from terre haute, indiana, the eugene v. debs home and museum. ♪
all summer on sundays, american history tv presents "the contenders." this 14-week series highlights key political figures who ran for president and lost but who nevertheless changed political history. our program with eugene debs airs again tonight on american history tv on c-span3. next sunday we continue our "contenders" series featuring former secretary of state and supreme court chief justice charles hughes who ran for president in 1916 against woodrow wilson. you can watch "the contenders" here on american history tv each sunday at 8:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. through labor day weekend. now former u.s. congresswoman pat schroeder on women in politics and the 1970s. when she was first elected as a
democrat from colorado in 1972, she was a 32-year-old mother of two young children. when she arrived in washington, she was one of only 14 women in the u.s. house. in this speech at the history colorado center in denver, she talks about the obstacles that women and other minorities faced in the 1970s and her work as a representative at the height of the women's movement. this is about an hour. >> thank you. thank you so much. that is so sweet of you. thank you. thank you, ed. how wonderful. and how nice to see so many of you! oh, you're all marvelous. thank you, thank you, thank you. it is great to be here. and i can't tell you how honored i am to be the inaugural history lecturer here. i'm just glad it's not the natural history museum.
i'm feeling a little bit like an artifact because exactly three weeks ago, i got a pacemaker put in. so i'm feeling more like an historical artifact as it goes. it is really marvelous to be here. and i must say, ed, i have retired from the book publishers. i should have updated you on that, but it was a very nice thing. >> one more. >> right. so i finally have decided that i'm going to take life a little easier. but this is absolutely a delight to get to talk about life in the '70s. not my '70s, which i'm in, but the '70s which we all went through. and to do that, i brought a spoon because when i think of history in colorado, it has been fairly unique compared to a lot of other places. so often you always think that things happen where you move the
spoon a little bit and then a little bit and then a little bit. and finally, it falls off the table. but it takes a very long time to change things. but i've always noticed that colorado, in our history, sometimes these movements start somewhere else. but we grab them by the horns and say okay, let's go for it. let's finish it. so we push the spoon off the table sometimes a little faster. so colorado always fascinated me that way. and i just wanted to talk a few things about just even the women's movement. in 19 -- in 18 -- i'm sorry -- in 1840, in london, there was the world antislavery meeting. and many quakers went from the united states. now, the quakers have had a huge fight in philadelphia. they were very much involved in textile making. and the fight among the quakers
was some said you can't use cotton because it is grown by slaves. and the others said, well, look. you know, we're in business. we've got to use what we can get. where are we going to get cotton if we don't get it from the south? so the ones who said you can't use cotton got mad and moved north. and they started making a very fine wool, and they had something -- i remember my grandmother had it -- they made a fortune because they created what they called finger shawls. they were so light, you could pull them through your ring. your ring finger. so they were very, very light. so ring finger shawls. were great. made them rich. so a group of them from that northern new york area boarded these sailing ships and went to london. pretty amazing for this event. and among that group happened to
be lucretia mott and several other activists in the quaker movement, in the antislavery movement, and they got there, and the english told them they couldn't sit on the main floor. they were women, for heaven's sakes. they would have to sit up in the gallery. well, after a little further along, they tried to push some movements to say, well, can't women vet, or can't we be participants? and they all got thrown out. so going home on the ship, you can imagine these women were kind of riled up, and it takes a long time to sail back from london. so they decided, okay, this is enough already.
so they put together an 1848 up in seneca falls the very first meeting in the history of the world where a group of women got together, and men, too, and came out with this declaration that women are citizens. amazing. and all these other things. the declaration of sentiments. i'm sure many of you have seen it. well, you know how fast that moved. but that was -- 1848. meanwhile, let's now flip to 1876 when colorado comes into the union. now, we didn't do what wyoming did. wyoming put it in when they came into the union. and they kind of cheated. the understanding was, they put it in because every time a new schoolmarm showed up, there were huge fights among the cowboys because there weren't many women. they thought it would attract more women to wyoming. in colorado, what they did say when they came into the union was that women would be allowed to run and vote for school board. so that was kind of unique. other states weren't doing that. but the women weren't really happy here. so a group of women went to chicago where they were getting ready to celebrate the big bicentennial celebration. and as you know, there was a whole separate women's area. that's a whole interesting story in and of itself because they kind of got thrown out. they kept reminding the people that this was to celebrate christopher columbus coming
over, they kept reminding them queen isabella gave them jewels. they said never mind. we don't need any women's stuff. they went over and said to the women, could you come help us? we want to vote fore equal rights and to be able to vote, suffrage in colorado. and they said, are you kidding? we're up to our ears in alligators here. you know, we can't do it. nevertheless, the women got it on the ballot. and in 1877, it was voted down. sadly. but that was only one year after they came into the statehood. well, the women didn't stop. the unions here then allowed women to vote. and the union votes which was very good and didn't happen a lot of places. and in 1893, boom. colorado passed it. marvelous. men voted.
only men could vote. and thank you, men, they voted to give women the vote. and colorado and new zealand were the only two places then on the planet because they both give women the right to vote that year, which was really quite unheard of. in 1894, a few women got into the legislature, which was pretty amazing. in 1912, maybe some of you have seen former senator pat pascoe's book. i don't know if she's here, but she wrote a wonderful book about helen ring robinson who was the first woman elected to the colorado senate. and she was the second woman elected in the united states to a state senate. a very distinguished woman and part of a huge progressive movement that was sweeping colorado at that time. unfortunately, there was a little backlash that happened that maybe some of you have heard about. ludlow and all the little labor violence up there and the governor would refuse to send out the national guard and finally president wilson had to call out the troops and all of
this. and helen ring robinson was very involved in that because she was involved with children's rights, you know, equal pay with minimum wage, with all these good progressive issues. and she even got molly brown to donate $1,000, which in those days was a whole lot of money to help the ludlow families that had been affected by this terrible event that went on. and after her four years in the senate, she said enough. it's gotten too crazy up there. i said to people when i was reading senator pascoe's book that we ought to send that book around to a lot of people who are currently in office because it was really pretty rugged back then, too.
and it gives you a little context. she did live through it. well, then in 1916, montana sent wonderful jeanette rankin. and she immediately went there and voted against the war. she got defeated and went back again, you know, right before world war ii, went back and voted. she was consistent. but there is a marvelous picture in the national archives of her being sworn in on the house floor. there is not another male other than the ones that had to perform the ceremony on the floor. but the entire gallery is ringed in women in white dresses, the suffragettes. it's really a very exciting time. and four years later, finally, the rest of america got to vote. so those are all kind of exciting things, i think, that happened. but it also kind of shos that colorado would have these massive progressive spurts, and then we would have a real swing back. there was a while, as you know, even the klan was very strong in colorado in parts. but throughout all of this, we always had that western thing of
people being able to do what they possibly -- what they wanted to do. we weren't nearly as sexigrated, shall i say, or there wasn't quite the class war. i was just looking at a few things that colorado had here for women that were firsts. mary illitch long was the first woman that ran an amusement park in america for ages. anna lee alvridge, the first women's professional jockey. dr. saban was an amazing woman in public health and did a lot of research there. and actually, i was so proud when i got to congress because colorado had one of the few women statues in the hall. dr. saban was there. all the rest had sent guys, just about. so that was very nice that not only she had done that, but she had recognized it. dr. justina ford, an
african-american woman, got her medical degree in 1899. delivered 7,000 babies. and it wasn't until 1950 that the denver medical society allowed her to join, which wasn't too pretty. nevertheless, she went on and did her job. virginia neal blue was the state treasurer. maybe many of you remember here, 1966. ruth stockton was a republican and very strong in the house. penny chennery tweety. many of you remember reva ridge. all of them were women who did incredible things. not to mention condoleezza rice, madeline albright. i think there's something in the water. but when you really start looking at the number of women who came through here, it's really quite wonderful. we also know that about one-third of our cowboys were african-americans, which was great.
so we have had this in our history all along. and in the west, i think we've always been kind of proud of that, that it's been more frontier where you could come, and you were what you could do. we didn't really care about your pedigree. well, then, of course, we get to world war ii. and colorado until then had been kind of a nice, quiet little place and a whole lot of people discovered colorado. and post-world war ii, there was this huge influx of people coming in. and then the '60s hit, which we all remember as fairly turbulent.
we had the king assassination, the kennedy assassination, civil rights, the war on poverty. we had all sorts of incredible musical -- changes with the rolling stones and everybody else coming out. the beatles. in fact, people are still playing that music. you know, it couldn't have been that bad, i guess. and jim and i moved here in the '60s. and i remember, we were really quite offended because when we first moved here, there was an awful article in "the new yorker." and that article said that people in colorado really -- you know, they're very closed. they made their money out of the ground. they didn't make it with their brains. and they're not preserving their history. and it was really -- i don't know if anyone remembers that recall because everybody was passing it around. and it was just like ooh! we thought we didn't like new york, and now we really don't like new york. but new york looked -- washington looked -- or colorado looked very placid to the rest
of the world at that time. because it really was fairly settled. and granted, there were people moving in, but they hadn't made their real impact yet. we're waiting for that for the '70s, right? but jim and i, for example, met -- and you all know her -- dana crawford, that wonderful woman who was like a force of nature who decided, by god, they were going to save lower downtown, or she was going to die trying. we became early investors with larimore square with her and many others. many of us all started meeting and gathering about lots of other issues. and so still when you entered 1970, things looked fairly calm on the surface, really. joe coors was probably the citizens most people knew from colorado. he kind of identified the state. everyone wanted to come here and
get his beer. and he was one of the great minds of the 13th century. yeah, everybody -- everybody was, like, well, that must be what the state's about. and we had in congress -- or in the senate, we had peter dominic and gordon allette and byron rogers and wayne aspinall who was considered this mega powerhouse. he never met a water dam he didn't like. and he was on every kind of project you could think of. colorado river basin, the arkansas this, the colorado that, the arizona this. he was everywhere. and he was considered one of the most powerful people there as the chairman of the interior committee. and we had don brotsman, and we had frank adams. so that was 1970. and we were the second most
conservative delegation voting in the house. but with joe coors. and so that's how the world kind of saw us. well, all these young hopeaholics that moved in, there were so many of them that the permanent settlers here didn't have time to encircle them and tell them to chill out. they all came in, and they all had selected colorado by choice. they thought it was the greatest place on the planet, and they were going to make it. they were really going to make it a wonderful place to live, and they were going to follow all these things that people had talked about in the '60s. so the big rumble started in 1970 when craig barnes decided to run against byron rogers who had been there for 20 years. craig won by 30 votes out of 54,406. you forgot that, didn't you? 30 votes. he defeated this all-time, you know, who had been there and everybody assumed would be there forever. so that was like putting your finger in a light socket. ooh! well, craig didn't go on to win the final, obviously, mckevitt did. in the meantime, aspinall got challenged. nobody was supposed to challenge the chairman of the department of interior committee when he had so much power and was doing so many wonderful things damming up every stream in colorado. how could they do that? well, that person didn't win,
but it was like oh! like you had worn a bathing suit to church. you just don't do things like that, you know. who are these new people coming in here? well, then in 1971, a part of denver elected the first latina to the state house, benny benivides. suddenly hispanics are getting their way, too. fair housing became a huge issue. everybody was saying, you know, we really can't have segregated housing. and park hill became kind of this wonderful example of how people could all live together and people were looking at as a model. so many wonderful things damming up every stream in colorado. how could they do that? well, that person didn't win, but it was like oh! like you had worn a bathing suit to church. you just don't do things like that, you know. who are these new people coming in here? well, then in 1971, a part of denver elected the first latina to the state house, benny benivides. suddenly hispanics are getting their way, too. fair housing became a huge issue. everybody was saying, you know, we really can't have segregated housing. and park hill became kind of
this wonderful example of how people could all live together and people were looking at as a model. the antiwar things all started. and all of our delegation was voting for the war. so it was quite a shock to them to see all of this movement back here, and they tried to say it was just the colleges, but they were suddenly finding even oil men were out petitioning. the war wasn't going too well. common cause really had its roots here. wonderful craig barnes took common cause and started the sunset and sunshine laws. imagine the idea of being able to see what the government does. you know. this whole idea that wasn't a fungus, you know, you could bring it out from under the shade. and sometimes you should really have a sunset on some of these
things you didn't need them forever. so that all went along. then, of course, the environment. the environment became huge. remember the earth days? earth days were fabulous. everybody was out participating. dennis hayes became a local hero. the sierra club named a dirty dozen of the dirtiest members of congress and wayne aspinall led the list. horror. how can these dirty easterners be doing that? he made some -- had some terrible names for them which i won't recite. but i remember the head of the sierra club saying this man has killed dream after dream of those of us who really want to preserve and conserve.
so all of that started in 1972 comes. then we had the e.r.a. coming along. and we had the liberalization of abortion, some actions on that. these are all things that were just quite amazing. then comes 1972. well, wayne aspinall gets another opponent. merson. allen merson. merson is the person is what they used to say. he was endorsed by all sorts of people. everyone from "the new york times" to "reader's digest." so you begin to get some kind of a view as how part of the world looked at the colorado delegation that they were a little out of touch because you didn't get the "reader's digest" real often, you know, and these things. so he -- and he did win, but he then went on to lose to jim johnson. my dear husband was in a law firm that was nice and quiet.
floyd haskell was one of his partners. and jim started out as the campaign manager for floyd haskell's senate race against gordon allette. and basically on an antiwar thing. so that was fine, and i baked cookies and we went to the opening. and then as things developed, i ended up running against mccavitt. so jim had to drop out. it kind of blew up the whole law firm because the other law partner was mr. tweety, and his wife had these damn horses that were winning. tweety did say to me that the difference between a horse race and a political race was in a horse race, the whole horse ran. he was a republican. yeah. so he had all these partners who were democrats running out there. so what could he do? poor dear thing. so i end up running against mckovitt.
we had reapportionment, and they had made these districts hopefully as safe as possible for them. and we had an ugly primary and stuff. and i really never thought i'd win, or i probably wouldn't have run. but everybody kept saying, jim was on the committee looking for someone to run, and everybody they went to said, are you kidding? mcgovern's running that year, and he doesn't have coattails. he's wearing a bikini, which was true. so he kind of came and said, you know, just do it. we'll tell the kids what you did when you get older. yeah. well, the rest is history. we ended up winning, as you well know. but it was a wonderful movement, and many of you are in it. i can't thank you enough. i remember we phonied the whole thing. people would say, who is your media team? we would say it's kitchen table media because literally we had friends like chak bartholomew and arnie grossman sitting around our kitchen table trying to figure out what to say or do. it really was put together with chewing gum. the democratic congressional campaign and they said, you're