The Virginia NOW Foremothers Project
Oral History of the ERA & Women's Movement in Virginia
This project began when I asked my incredible web editor, Simone Roberts, if she would take on the incredible project of archiving and documenting the ERA stories by some of the Virginia liberation activists. Many of these women are or have been Virginia NOW members and I was deeply inspired by their stories. I knew they should be archived and preserved for all of you. I also knew that Diana Egozcue's (Virginia NOW's president) ongoing passion and dedication for ERA ratification in Virginia was another motivating factor for me wanting this project.
I especially want to thank Lee Perkins and Mary Ann Beall for their incredible inspiration and assistance with archiving, artifacts, and precious historical information. Lee Perkins has been dedicated as Virginia NOW's historian and archivist, maintaining the feminist history by converting photos, documents, newspaper clippings so that we are blessed to know and have our own culture. Thank you, Lee.
A very personal thanks also to Mary Peterson Hartzler for all of her knack, inspiration, and fabulous feminist soul!
Love and revolution,
Communications Vice President
The Virginia NOW Foremothers Oral History Project
New Videos Up on YouTube Irregularly
Collected so far is a 4-hour interview with members of the Congressional Union and several other activists:
● Marianne Fowler
● Pat Harley
● Mary Ann Beall
● Mary Peterson Hartzler
● Lee Perkins
● Ray Bridge (Mary Ann Beall's husband)
● Georgia Fuller
● Emily McCoy
(recorded just after the memorial for Jean Crawford in March 2014)
- 3 hour interview with Bobbie Frances (who runs EqualRightsAmendment.org and has been the Chair of the ERA Taskforce for NCWO)
- 3 hour interview with Barbara Irvine at the Alice Paul Institute (where Irvine is a founding board member), Barbara is also the founder of the Roanoke Valley NOW chapter and is a long time activist
- 2 hour interview with Bonnie Becker who was at the heart of implementing Title IX in Virginia
VA NOW Historian, Simone Roberts documented and recorded an oral history project and microhistory on VaNOW in 2014. The focus is the personal recollections of the women and men involved in the Second Wave movement for the Equal Rights Amendment. Dr. Roberts travelled throughout Virginia and a few other Eastern states to interview these intrepid activists and video record their stories of various legislative battles, social education, activist friendships, and direct actions like the March to Richmond and the fasting in Chicago. From these interviews, we will create an archive of podcasts to serve as both documentation of our feminist past and inspiration for our feminist future. VA NOW Communications VP, Paradise Kendra took on the oral history project in 2015 and continues to archive and interview the women and men of this movement.
To support the ERA Oral History Project (camera equipment, SD cards, gas money, computers and disc space for backups of this precious footage, oh and this website to host and make sure you all can see everything!) consider donating to Virginia NOW. Please include a note that your donation is to support the Oral History Project and we will include your name in the list of supporters to accompany the archive. If you donate by check, please include a note that the donation is specifically for the Oral History Project.
Paradise assists with the video conversions, fixing format issues, and making sure all the clips are "viewable."
Simone has been gifted with lots of photographs and memorabilia from the participants, and with lots of digital documents ranging from copies of The ERA Times to a few letters and other papers Jean Crawford's family chose to share with the archive. There is a lot of work to be done, new skills to be learned, about 30 more people to interview (if they all agree!), and only two people doing it on a volunteer basis. Hang in there! We're bringing this huge project along as fast as we can!
Mary Peterson Hartzler and Paradise Kendra
© Photographed by Paradise Kendra