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University News, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1981
Page 4
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University News, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1981 - Page 4. December 1981. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 26, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4747/show/4744.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(December 1981). University News, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1981 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4747/show/4744

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

University News, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1981 - Page 4, December 1981, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 26, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4747/show/4744.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title University News, Vol. 1, No. 7, December 1981
Publisher National Organization for Women, University of Houston Chapter.
Date December 1981
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Women--Texas--Houston--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • National Organization for Women
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location HQ1101 .N684
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b1476015~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
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  • image/jpeg
File Name femin_201109_234d.jpg
Transcript # 4> / WHY A WOMAN OF COLOR SUPPORTS THE ERA by Alma Speed Fox I am here to speak* to you as a woman of color who supports the ERA and why... You know every time I address a group of people to speak about equality, I can't help but ask myself, "Dear Lord, How Long?" When I became involved in the Women's Rights struggle, I was not new to the Civil Rights Movement- Practical ly all of my life I have been struggling for equality. If I wasn't physically involved I was mentally involved, listening to the stories my mother would tell me that had been told to her about the days of slavery (legalized slavery, that is, because from my perspective, most of us who are black and/or female are still in some form of slavery). She also told me of the insults and indignities she was subject to as a young black woman. However dreadful things had been for black folks during slavery, and however oppressive life's situation had been for her as a young black woman, she was optimistic that some day it would all end and Black people would be treated equal to white people. So she raised me to be a lady and I dreamed about things that most young girls dream about: growing up, marrying a successful man, having children, a nice home, and playing cards in the afternoon (just as I saw in the movies and read life should be like for successful females.) Because I wanted to be able to get the right man that would provide me njy_ success, I learned to use all the social etiquette that "young ladies should know." And I became very good at it .. so good, in fact, that one of my friends became very angry with me and told me, and I quote, "Look, you are getting ridiculous. You are out-whiting the white folks. Don't you realize that it's not what you do, it's how you look. And as long as you are black, no matter how you act, you are always going to be at the bottom of the heap." I didn't want to believe that, as long as I was black, I would be at the bottom...I couldn't live and believe that. For as long as I would live, I would be black. So I set aside the idea of being a lady and set about the business of laying my life on the line for equality. I became a social activist while in high school and sometime later became involved in the demonstrations promoted by the United Negro Protest Committee, which was the action arm of the Pittsburgh National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. We demonstrated against most of the major corporations in the city of Pittsburgh in our quest for jobs. Soon after the beginning of my "peaceful demonstration career," I became Executive Director of the NAACP. That led to more demonstrations, not only in Pittsburgh, but in other parts of the country. I walked picket lines in sub-zero weather. I walked in temperatures in the 100's. I walked in the rain, I walked in the snow, and just like the postal service says of its carriers, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail, shall keep me from my appointed duty." I sang freedom songs. I cried. Parts of me died. I laid down in the streets. I was knocked down and literally thrown into a paddy wagon by four big burly cops and I carried bruises for months. I must say, however, that at another demonstration, two police officers helped me into a paddy wagon as if they were assisting a lady into a carriage (so my early dream of being treated as a lady was not entirely lost). I have seen tears in the eyes of some cops, both black and white, because they had to do what they had to do. During the 60's there was one demonstration after another. If we were not in the streets struggling for jobs and decent housing, then we were running to the schools to do what we could to keep white kids from killing bldck kids and black kids from killing white kids. Of course, there was the struggle with the educational system that blacks be placed in their correct historical perspective, so that black youngsters could be allowed some degree of pride in their heritage, and so that white folks could understand that we had made a major positive contribution to the development of civilization. And, of course, I wasn't alone. I had plenty of company. I was doing what most conscientious black folk felt they had to do, and we had our white friends right alongside of us. A few of these white friends were walking with us at one of our demonstrations. This was one that we held from just before Thanksgiving to the spring of the following year9 and it was bitter cold that winter. That particular demonstration was a surprise to most because we had the reputation for asserting ourselves only in hot weather, but there we were in the bitter cold and it was then that I became acquainted with the National Organization for Women. A chapter of NOW had recently been organized in Pittsburgh and they asked me to join, but I said no...one revolution at a time was enough for me. But I did join because some of the members had become my friends, but most of al 1 because they were also members of the NAACP and they had proven themselves to be good active members. But, active as they were in the NAACP, I did not intend to become active in NOW or any other women's right group. I was busy about the business of freeing black folks. So I continued to demonstrate, and negotiate, and strategize for freedom for black folks. However, occasionally I'd get together with some of my NOW friends for a rap session. There were about 7 of us and we would discuss the inequities between the sexes. My conversion was not immediate...it took time and I began to analyze the struggle for freedom a little differently than I had before. Learning about sex discrimination was a real shock to me. Here I was, fighting against race discrimination only to learn about this thing called sex discrimination. I was faced with the realization that, if we, as black folks, ever reached that gate to freedom, I could not pass through because, not only was I black, I was a woman...and another part of me died. I could not have felt worse had I just taken years to recover from a massive stroke only to learn that I had cancer. And I cried, "Dear Lord, How Long, How Long will it be before I can ever be free?" And those of you who are women can all send up the same cry, "Dear Lord, How Long, How Long will it be before we can say that we are free?" We have one year, just one short yedr to get onto the road to freedom and eventually pass through that gate to freedom. We have one year...just one year...do you hear...and we as women, no matter what the hue of our skin, will be lost until we make the Equal Right Amendment a part of the Constitution of the United States of America. Rights given to us by various legislative bodies and Executive Orders are too easily taken away. Think of what is now happening to the Voting Rights Act and legislation written re Affirmative Action. Only, and only, after the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment will I feel free to borrow a line from a person who died for equality and cry, "Free at lastl Free at last! Thank God Almighty! I am free at last! OF THE Only, and only, after the ratification of the Equal Rights Amend— ment ..., Free at last ! "