By Janet Sanders and Sue Kaufman
Asking women to be "foot soldiers
and not Kamikaze pilots," U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan joined other speakers at the
IWY Conference Saturday in urging delegates to avoid dissension within their ranks.
"We can't expect it all to4>e our way
at a time when the country is drifting, if
not shifting to the right," Jordan said.
"The delegates are not of a single mind.
And no one person has the right answer."
Jordan's keynote address on the first
day of the conference topped off a series
of speeches in the coliseum which adopted
the same conciliatory tone. They were the
prelude to what could be heated debate
over certain key proposals conference organizers hope to pass.
Anticipating the disagreement, former First Lady Betty Ford and First Lady
Rosalynn Carter both warned women to
guard against "defensiveness and anger"
and not to be "dismayed by the clash
"The glue that holds us together is
the knowledge that our basic goals are the
same," said Carter, in a soft Georgia accent. Ford followed her by asking women
to "keep it together."
Acknowledging that she too was initially doubtful of the women's movement,
Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady,told
delegates that "I once thought it belonged
more to my daughter than it did to me. I
have come to know, however, that it belongs to women of all ages."
Even outspoken Bella Abzug, a New
York attorney and presiding officer at the
conference, reminded delegates that "our
purpose is not to tell women how to live
or what to do."
And while she and former White
House Press Secretary Liz Carpenter primarily focused their attention on women's
rights goals, and not the possible division
over those goals, they too attempted to
smooth out the differences of opinion
which might exist.
"We have no intention of abandoning
our role as nurturer and wife," Carpenter
said. "But are we so dangerous? So forward
and brash and pushy to ask for fairness?"
Abzug, the U.S. representative who
introduced the bill which started the ball
rolling back in 1975 for a National Women's Year, said that it would be a "dull
weekend" if there were not some disagreement'at the conference. "Let us agree to
disagree if we must. But I hope all of us
here will remember our common interest
as women who have for too long been
treated as merely auxiliary human beings,"
Carpenter and Jordan compared the
women's rights movement to the human
rights stance of President Jimmy Carter's
foreign policy. Although the issues to be
discussed at the' conference have generated
controversy, they said, they are in themselves not controversial.
"As a matter of fact, the goals sound
like stanzas to America the Beautiful,"
Jordan told thousands of cheering delegates. "There is nothing stated in them
which is incompatible with the goals
Nevertheless, the minority of delegates wearing the yellow "Majority" ribbons which tagged them as the anti-Equal
Rights Amendment faction, remained
stony-faced throughout the opening ceremony and did not join the applause. As if
reading those faces, Jordan pointed out
that the conference could possibly fail
unless delegates used patience and remembered that "everyone must be free to define the meaning of the total woman for
While attempting to reconcile opposing facitions at the conference, speakers
also made note of the progress which has
already been made among women in the
professional arena. Carter pointed to the
40-odd women holding key government
positions in her husband's administration,
while Carpenter made note of those women in the audience holding down a job
while raising a family at the same time.
Mayor Fred Hofheinz, who welcomed delegates to Houston, pointed out
that police department regulations here
which effectively excluded women from
the police force have been recently
And Abzug, with her ever familiar
hat and her glasses slipping down over her
nose, noted that the conference is the first
time the federal government has sponsored
such an event.
Yet she and other speakers also emphasized how far they say women have to
go before gaining full equality with men.
"We've seen our dreams sometimes
shattered, often short-changed, doors closed
or half closed by insecure men and women
fearful of a world of equality," said Carpenter. "We mothered this nation. Are we
to be shackled forever by the unending
audacity of men?"
Speeches were frequently interrupted
by delegates chanting "ERA now!" or
"Two, four, six, eight, ratified in every
New York women waved red apples
as a reminder of the "Big Apple" in their
home state. The Pennsylvania delegation
decorated the placard of their state with
yellow balloons emblazoned with the
words "women's rights."
The meeting was brought to order
by the same gavel suffragist Susan B. Anthony used over a century ago. A procession of Girl Scouts of all ages brought in
the flags of the United Nations and the
United States as delegates sang the Battle
Hymn of the Republic. Halfway through
the speeches five women, two of them
Olympic champions, carried in a torch
brought from Seneca Falls, N.Y., site
of the first women's rights conference
(The text of Barbara Jordan 's speech is on
By Sue Kaufman
Three alleged members of the Weather Underground were arrested by FBI
agents of the Houston office Saturday afternoon as they were about to enter their
car in the parking lot outside the Astrodome where a Pro-Life Rally was taking
FBI officials in Houston said Sunday
morning the three, Judith Emily Bissell,
33; Clayton Van Lydegraf, 62, and a woman identified as "Esther," who the bureau
said used the name Grace Fortmer, 28 to
32 years of age, were unarmed at the time
cf their arrest.
The Houston FBI said that the arrests culminated a seven-month undercover
investigation conducted by the Los Angeles
and Houston offices of the bureau.
After the three were arrested, the
FBI searched their apartment at 5135
North Freeway. Five handguns and an undetermined amount of explosives were
The three were charged with conspiracy to violate the Federal Firearms Act and
possession of unregistered explosives. Bis-
sel was held in lieu of $500,000 bond while
Van Lydegraf and "Esther" were being
held in lieu of $300,000 bond each.
Van Lydegraf, who was identified as
the head of the Prairie Fire Organizing
Committee of the Weather Underground,
allegedly directed Judith Emily Bissell,
"Esther," Paul Daly and Michael Justesen
(Daly and Justesen were arrested by the
FBI in Los Angeles today) "to recruit
individuals to join an underground political group which had as its primary objectives assassinations of public figures and
bombings of public buildings in an effort
to further their political goals; i.e. performing revolutionary acts against government organizations," the FBI said.
PAGE 20 NOVEMBER 20, 1977 DAILY BREAKTHROUGH
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