Founded in 1764 in Connecticut's capital, The Hartford Courant was long established as the state's leading newspaper when Florence Kitchelt wrote this letter to its editor in 1944. A political activist, she was also an expert publicist, mentioning newsworthy hooks for her new campaign, including African American teachers winning court cases for equal wages employing the Fourteenth Amendment and Charles Beard's recent letter to Life magazine.
Maurice S. Sherman, Editor
The Hartford Courant
Dear Mr. Sherman;
There is much activity in regard to the E.R.A. which is not apparent to the public. With thanks for past favors, I want here to give you some new material, and ask if you could contrive another of your fine editorials. From the copy enclosed you see each one is "planographed" by the National Woman's Party for distribution. Is that done by a newspaper plant? This Conn. Comm. wants material over its own imprint.
Teachers in many states, as in Connecticut are up against unequal pay for equal work. They write to this office and say they can get nowhere with the authorities. In New Haven men are paid $500 more than women in the same job. Our opponents tell us the Amendment will not automatically remedy this situation. But look!
The 14th Amendment says nothing about equal pay, etc. Its name is "Rights of Citizens". Under it Susan B. Anthony tried to vote. Result, she was arrested and taken to jail. "Citizens" did not mean women; it meant "colored people". Negro teachers (male and female) all over the South are winning cases in federal courts for equal pay with white teachers, under the 14th Am. On another page I am enclosing the data corroborating this statement.
I do not know any clearer illustration of what could be expected from our proposed E.R.A.
Everybody is following Chas. Beard's conversations as copied from his book in the magazine Life. Did you see Beard's letter in the correspondence column at the front of the last issue?[A] He speaks of the discriminations against women, in multiple forms, and says "they might be removed by appeals to legislatures, federal and state, OR BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION". The first proposal is an interminable labyrinth; the Am[endment] would set a standard of measurement for the whole process.
The League of Women Voters, which I helped to found, is acting like an ostrich, I am sorry to say. [In] a recent Conn. Statement about the Am. They left out its most vital phrase "under the law" [?]
Before long you may hear of a new set-up--committees modeled on this from Conn.—-rainbow divisions of all groups seeking the Am[endment]. The National Woman's Party has been the spearhead. Now we need widely representative groups, of both men and women. We have a fine list of men for Conn.[B]
Hoping my suggestions meet your approval!
A. Charles Beard was a Columbia University professor and noted public intellectual. Life serialized his book, The Republic: Conversations on Fundamentals (New York: Viking Press, 1944) between January and March, 1944. His letter to the editor of Life appeared in the issue of 6 March 1944, pp. 4-5. In referring to a possible constitutional amendment to deal with continuing discrimination against women, he was not necessarily endorsing the ERA. Kitchelt's emphasis in this quote is hers, not Beard's. His wife, Mary Ritter Beard, was a longtime opponent of the ERA. See Nancy F. Cott, A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard through Her Letters (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991). See letters expressing that opposition, dating between 1921 and 1950: pp. 99-101, 161-63, 243-44, 314-16. The last two of these letters were written, in fact, to Florence Kitchelt.
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