Document 12I: Alma Lutz to Pauli Murray, 21 April 1966, Pauli Murray Papers: Series II, 1935-1984, Box 97, Folder 1730, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. 2 pp.


   Here Lutz reassured Murray that she did not feel that the White decision had hurt the chances of the ERA. Although she still did not believe that the Fourteenth Amendment strategy would ultimately bring women equality, she had softened her position as a result of her dialogue with Murray. She pointed to the influence of Dorothy Kenyon and Esther Peterson in the women's movement as opponents of the ERA, noting that Peterson had the power to influence the president and Congress regarding the labor movement's position on the amendment. With her long historical view, she compared Murray's litigation strategy with the state-by-state suffrage strategy of the 1910s, a subtle reminder that the constitutional amendment strategy was needed to bring some states into the woman suffrage fold.

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April 21, 1966

Dear Dr. Murray:

I feel very remiss for not writing you long before this to thank you adequately for all of the interesting material you have sent me. I am sure you will forgive me when I explain that I have been simply swamped between the income tax and finishing the last chapters of my book. Now that both are out of the way, I am getting caught up.

I did see our picture in the Harvard Law Record. My cousin, a Harvard Law graduate, and now a judge in Minneapolis, saw it and sent it to me, greatly surprised to find me in it.

I am grateful for the White-Crook Brief and I congratulate you on the success of your work. I am glad to have all of these records for my woman's collection which will eventually go to Vassar.

I know that the Civil Liberties Union does much good work and I am in sympathy with much of it, but I am not a member because of its attitude toward the Equal Rights for Women Amendment. Some years ago Pearl Buck and I protested but with no success. I realize that Dorothy Kenyon has opposed the Amendment for so many years that it would be impossible for her to change. It is part of her life. This opposition is partly bound up with differences with the Woman's Party of long standing, dating back to suffrage days. The same is the case with Esther Peterson. I can appreciate your interest in working with these able women, and I have confidence that you do your own thinking.

To me there is but one adequate solution for women's unjust, insecure legal status, and that is the Equal Rights for Women Amendment. It is a much less involved, more forthright solution than yours. If you good women would only put past prejudices behind you and get behind the Amendment, it would pass within the year. Mrs. Peterson could easily wipe out the fears of the President and Congressmen as regards labor opposition to the Amendment. Your position today reminds me of what went on during the suffrage campaigns when the Woman Suffrage Amendment was opposed by those who insisted on State action as much more practical and possible of achievement.

You see, I am writing you frankly of my position. I know you stand basically for equal legal rights for women, but if we choose different roads to achieve it, we can do so with good will toward each other. I am not one of those who feel that the White-Crook decision hurts the chances of the Amendment. I think it may be delaying it by persuading some to believe there is a better way, but in general I say more power to all who work for equal rights for women. I am not for the Amendment because it is sponsored by the Woman's Party.

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I believed in it the moment I heard about it forty years ago. I definitely believe it belongs in the American Constitution.

With my best wishes and looking forward to seeing you and talking with you again,

Alma lutz

P.S. I am leaving Boston for Highmeadow, Berlin, New York, 12022, on May 14, and then on May 24, I fly with a friend to the Scandinavian countries for a month. The rest of the summer, I'll be in Berlin, New York on the edge of the Berkshires. Keep in touch, please.


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