Mildred Greear and ERA

In l978 I ran for the Georgia State senate. Scandalous. A woman south of Atlanta had done it once. Won; financed her self, ran second time, won, but refused to run again. Could not get financing. She became known as The conscience of the Georgia State Legislature.

When I declared my program my first goal was listed as the passage of the Equal Rights amendment. My key advisers said : please don’t. I was alphabetically the first one interviewed by the press. First question on ERA. “I will be happy to be the first voice and I will support the ERA. My adviser in chief did call to say HE was proud of me. I won the first of the primaries. Four men were opposed. Exhausted, it took a three day break and decided that would be to New Hampshire where my daughter (in this house right now) was living. I routed flight through Boston. I had long wanted to go to the commons where one could stand on a real soap box and say one;s say. Every one very polite, standing in line and not monopolizing. When I got my turn I introduced myself as being a candidate for the senate of Georgia but subject was national. I think I used all three of my allotted minutes. Oh June, it was such a thrill. When later I became something of a political voice I pointed out, especially when Obama first was running that in 1978 I had wanted to vote for the ERA and it had still NOT BEEN PASSED. Many candidates when questioned would say they had not had sufficient time to study it. I counted it. I think it still has only thirty seven words. Yes I have pointed that out right here in Helen Ga.

To give you a laugh. A very few months after my loss, there were letters asking me to run again. I had taken a full year off from my job. I had done the best I could and could not think of another thing I could do. But I had an eye appointment. I keep dis remembering his name. a fine optometrist;; not very tall. Of course I am elevated and he is shining flashlights all over the place directing my eye movements. Unexpectedly he said he hoped I would run again. I was surprised for few of the medical community had supported me. But he told me that ‘they; now knew they had made a terrible mistake. He told me his wife had decided to go back to college and get a degree in environmental law. Great for her (she did and had done great things.) over and over my doctor was emphasizing that things had changed. I was chagrined that I had not known of that much support.

We know we have made aa bad mistake. Believe me, Mrs. Greeaar, things have changed. June whatever triggered it I will never know, but rather nonchalantly I thanked the doctor and said, w ell, yes, I suppose so, but Dr. Dobbs, I have not grown a penis.! June where on earth did it come from. My doctor dropped an instrument. I nearly slipped from that doggone elevated chair. I am giggling now. H is wife has done well. I have done well with my teaching I believe. I am laughing now as I remember that situation. Dr. Dobbs had a highly unusual illustration of all of the elements in our ocular system. The parts cut carefully and mounted in a piece at least 36 by 36, I had always lingered to study that in his outer office. He told me if he ever gave it away, he would give it to me because I had paid so much attention to it. We moved. Time has passed. Next month I am going back to that town for a memorial burial. I can still direct a driver to that office. I believe my ophthalmologist is long gone. But who knows?

I know the E R A has not passed and that in his last state of the union address our president began reading his address with the name of Sally Ride. Listing accomplishments.

A woman. She was the first one thrown from the Challenger. McCaulliffe right after her. Women! The Boston Common has been abolished as such. A part of it is paved for a wading pool for children. I am glad I stood there. The E R A has still not been passed. I will do what I can. I have absolutely no money to send.

About the essay: “A Little of My Bitter History”(A title from a chapter in “Better a Dinner of Herbs” by Byron Herbert Reece.)  — Mildred Greear. Helen, Georgia.

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