Listen: A Woman's Place, and Gloria Griffin

During the hour you'll hear a documentary about the 19th Amendment, entitled "A Woman's Place," followed by MPR’s Dan Olson conversation about women's rights on this Women's Suffrage Day with Gloria Griffin, of the Minnesota Women's Consortium; and Phyllis Kahn, a state representative.

Minnesota Public Radio's Dan Olson hosted the program from the State Fair.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:00) 71 years ago today women won the right to vote in the United States the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution passed on August 26 1920 today on midday a special documentary about the role of women in twentieth-century America and then a conversation with to Minnesota women who have been prominent in the women's rights movement for many years Gloria Griffin is the coordinator of the Minnesota women's Consortium Phyllis Kahn is a longtime state representative from Minneapolis. It is woman's suffrage day Monday, August 26th. So now a documentary that traces the political and societal changes that led up to and have followed the passage of the 19th Amendment this documentary report was written and produced by Sandra slight Brennan and is narrated by Julie Crozier the oh so high. Oh public radio documentary is entitled A Woman's Place. (00:00:53) When I grow up I want to be a secretary. I want to be a pediatrician by Fiat gymnast. I want to be a model also, like being asked not I like to be a teacher when I grow up. I want to be a rock singer and I think if I work really hard my dream can come true these students are dreaming of careers at their mothers and grandmothers would never have thought possible but women's roles have changed so dramatically in the 20th century that what once was considered Unthinkable is now commonplace. It's hard to believe that just 20 years ago. There were still male and female want ads 40 years ago many women had to quit working if they got married or became pregnant and it was only 70 years ago that women got the vote this program A Woman's Place will reflect on how women's roles have changed in the 20th century Eleanor Farnham is 94 and she remembers a different time A Time When A Woman's Place was not on an equal footing with her male counterparts over. expected of them was being a good wife bearing children and running a a house with serving food. That was basically women's Rule and women were living up to what was expected of them. Harden's the fortune of all womankind she's always come true. She's always confined controlled by her parents until she's away. I'll slave to her husband the rest of her life when women in the 19th century got married, they experienced legal death. Linda Hunt is director of women's studies at Ohio University. She outlined some of the legal problems facing women the could not enter into contracts any property. They brought into the marriage became automatically that of their husband any money that they made in the marriage automatically belonged to their husbands. So you find some of the same issues of the current women's movements were issues of that woman. So the wife-beating domestic violence, they also had few opportunities as far as jobs were concerns after a while some some of these women felt the think to get The vote that if you got the vote everything else could follow but in 1920 the issue didn't appear to be as clear cut the passage of the 19th Amendment didn't happen overnight. There was no Groundswell of public opinion that women should vote so women took to the (00:03:32) streets. (00:04:00) At least when I come out here and the women didn't have the vote. I thought well, I'd have to do something about it. So I walked in the suffragette parade and the men had placards along the way go home to your family and they do is and all that that Elisabeth thought he was one of thousands who defied ridicule and marched in a 19-15 parade in Chicago women from all walks of life shun tradition and demanded the right to vote a learner Bauer was a child then she remembered her mother's involvement. I remember that a lot of other conversations and a lot of my mother's visits was other women were all about the 19th Amendment are really what they were talking about was the women getting to vote and how they were going to do it that they felt that their time had come and that they were just going to work as hard as possible and As carefully as possible to see that this happened and I could I could feel the determination that these women had as they talked about this. Over two million women belong to the National American Woman Suffrage Association, but that movement didn't represent all women Louis Scharf of Case Western Reserve University is largely a white middle-class movement. Although it should be remembered that there were black women's clubs and groups at this time. They did support suffrage but they went they had to do it alone. The probably the (00:06:13) first couple of Decades of the 20th (00:06:15) century are probably as racist a period as America Americans have experienced and the mainstream white women's groups did not accept The black women's clubs in their ranks. The success of the campaign is credited largely to American Woman Suffrage Association leader. Carrie Chapman Catt. She molded the many state and local organizations into a unified whole Bob Daniel professor of history at Ohio University and author of American women in the 20th century. Carrie Catt took over the suffrage organization in January of 1916 World War one was underway and Wilson. Really not particularly concerned about women's suffrage had talked about making the world safe for democracy and cat had the others took advantage of that and began to argue. If you're going to make the world safe for democracy in Europe and Asia one should start at home with women other reasons influence the passage of the amendment as well. During World War One women went to work for the war effort working in many types of jobs that before had been socially unacceptable. So public perceptions of working women changed finally on August 26 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution became law. Oh it was it was very exciting. I can remember how she grabbed ahold of my father and they did a Jag since she was kind of the leader of the whole thing women got to our house and and the house was just almost a shambles with women on them and my I remember my father finally disappeared. And the women were talking about the doors that were going to open up to us. Now, we got to get every woman involved and that was the spirit that they have very excited and full of commitment that they knew that it was that what they had to do is just beginning to keep alive this wonderful thing that had happened. So women continue to mobilize the American Woman Suffrage Association became the National League of Women Voters and efforts evolved from getting the vote to learning how to use it wisely women both came through. Yes, then it was different. Then the whole attitude changed I think with at least with mother and her contemporaries if they had the boat and they felt obligated to vote and I think the rest of my life my mother's life. I don't think she ever missed it an opportunity to go to Vogue and women were living up to what was expected of them. and that only with Well, it became legal for them to cast a ballot. They were recognized as Citizens. That was a change in the whole attitude toward women. Attitudes began changing in other ways to increasing numbers of young women began to going to college and after college getting jobs college girls were beginning to work like during the holidays in the stores and they were getting jobs now and people were thinking the terms of that to up to that time girls. We're just not supposed to work. There's a supposed to wait around home until they were married and at the college was making them conscious of a career. (00:10:21) There were changes at home to after 1920 increasing (00:10:25) numbers of American homes had electricity and what a change that made to housekeeping Elizabeth BD is 97. She remembers the impact it had on her life. Oh, my there's no comparison. Just no comparison. I lived years without us and it just changes just change the country almost over nice because then you can have any kind of a machine in your home that you wanted that she couldn't have before before you had electricity and that made life much easier for the women and one thing just led to another. Well, then of course you came along with your vacuum cleaners. And then of course the washing machine and then the electric iron that was another big thing. Oh everything changed with electricity, but there's another side to this issue. Along with the availability of electricity driven labor-saving devices comes a new standard of domestic and personal cleanliness and whereas you might have scrubbed the replaceable collars on your husband's shirts. Different color every day now you are expected to wash and iron a whole shirt every day. So that the studies of time studies done on women's domestic undertaking shows this incredible lack of change. So women's roles continue to evolve during the 20s and 30s A Woman's Place was primarily at home, but it became more and more acceptable for women to work for wages. But her status on the workforce was definitely not on the same footing as her male co-workers women work in a very narrow range of jobs. So when women did work outside the home they are working with other women. They are not there. (00:12:38) Slated from (00:12:39) a man that most men are supervisors but not fellow employees and the range of jobs is quite narrow. I think the Census Bureau may have defined perhaps 350 jobs in the in 1920. My guess is most women were working in not more than 15 or 20 of those 300 jobs after women get the vote. They continue to Lobby to pass legislation to protect women in the workforce to limit. The amount of weight. They are asked to lift to demand a shorter Working Day and to pass minimum wage legislation. The response from labor was mixed the AF of L always tried to recruit Elite. Workers these were men with skills. They did not particularly want women and the organized labor movement has historically supported equal pay for equal work, but with a catch namely that if an employer had to pay a woman as much as he had to pay a man, he wouldn't hire a woman and the whole gimmick was to keep women out of the labor force on top of the protective legislation which in effect limited jobs the 1930s brought an economic depression, which sent many women back home. (00:14:09) There's a rainbow in the sky. So let's have another cup of coffee and let's have another piece of pie. We'll just a father and the clouds will soon Roll by so let's have Another cup of coffee and let's have another piece of pie. Let us (00:14:30) smile be in the 30s in the midst of the (00:14:32) depression (00:14:34) if her husband kept his job her place was at home society as a whole is a whole thought her place was at home, but there's always this disjunction between what a society thinks and what the outlet what what exists in reality in the 1930s arguments advocating women's place in the home are as loud and as prevalent as they have ever been on the other hand economic necessity pushes increasing numbers of women into the workforce. And then in the 1940s something else pushed women back into the workforce. World War 2 that was just bringing everything out to complete development that would waive it appeared to me because of course they went right into the service and went right into uniform got their commissions. They went to every place but the battlefield during World War Two Women (00:15:37) enter the workforce in even more increasing numbers (00:15:41) doing non-traditional jobs. With the social understanding that this is a temporary patriotic undertaking the minute. There were Men available the women who had really been running the plants were told to go on home. Now. I think everybody was so glad it was over there A lot of them were going to be married there were waiting to the end of the war. And so I think a lot of them are just the kind of adjusted without much thought during World War II a lot of women had gone out and had jobs and so forth most of them left those positions and concentrated on their families during the 50s. I think that there is there's no doubt about the fact that the 1950s experiences this heightened rhetorical what Betty Ford and later calls the Feminine Mystique female support and staying at home, but as in so many other cases There is a counter current going on and what I suppose one could argue that the louder the rhetoric extolling one kind of rules. There's probably a good chance that it's being heralded so loudly because those roles are changing Marian Spencer knows all about change in the 1950s. She was actively involved in the desegregation of schools and other public places in Cincinnati one event. She organized was the opening of the Coney Island amusement park to (00:17:08) African-Americans. Who would dare to go under the bridge over the tracks separates quiets from the eyes? back street of America they kill the dream of America. (00:17:51) I had to contact about a hundred people to get plaintiffs to go up there. I will call in the morning and maybe that night the father would call back and say well I don't want my wife or don't want my children to be subjected to this. I can understand it. You know, I could understand it but had to be done and somebody had to do it and in many instances it will cost the women who would come forth and say yes, we've got to do this because it's for our children. Then you just kind of go up and hit the guys on the shoulder and say okay. Now you're a lawyer you got to carry this on for us. The fact was there were few women lawyers in the 50s or 60s women were involved in civil rights and Community Affairs, but most women if they were in a profession were teachers or nurses see a 1963. It was so hard for me to even conceptualize doing anything. Beyond the very limited possibilities that I was presented with. For example, when I graduate from college, I felt like I had to be either a teacher or a social worker. Maybe a librarian and I had to get married as soon as possible and at the age of 21. I felt like I was over the hill because there's tremendous pressure on women to marry that woman if you weren't married if you were grown up and you weren't married you were a failure. (00:19:27) I tagged around behind the gang of warm it corduroys. Everybody said I only did it to annoy but I was gonna be an engineer. My mother said you learn to be a lady. It's your duty gonna make me the mother of a pearl wait until you're older dear and maybe you'll be glad that you're a girl (00:19:49) and I came from a background where women were always working women were doing what women needed to do. It wasn't any shame if you will to being a woman. It wasn't any shame or difficulty with being a woman who had a career or who worked Mary Adams. Trujillo is a 39 year-old African-American. She is of the generation that came of age in the late 60s and early 70s in the course. The late 60s I was involved in was the whole country was involved in movement for Black people's rights. So I always had a Consciousness about freedom and about political equality and social equality. The necessity for political involvement so that for me the women's movement was an extension of that. It wasn't it was not a strange thing within the course of 10 years between 1960 and 1970 women's expectations changed greatly the questioning of Traditional Values in the 60s and the birth of the women's Liberation movement made a great difference. I ran in 69 and knew I would be defeated then two years later I was asked about again and I said I owe you one more and ran and it was the beginning of the women's movement now had just started here and there were a lot of women who were becoming very aware that there hadn't been a woman on city council for 10 years and that women were not represented in government (00:21:26) too much to go. Back and pretend cause I've heard it all before and I've been down there on the floor. No one's ever gonna keep me down. Again. Bob Eastern began her political involvement long before (00:21:44) 1969, but it was the momentum of the (00:21:47) women's movement that encouraged her to run for Cincinnati city (00:21:50) council when interesting incident that happened several years before I was on Council, I was going around ringing doorbells and this woman when I was trying to sell her on my ticket said, oh honey, I never vote I leave that to the men and I said, I was startled I suppose and said, you know, why do you do that? Do you think they're smarter than we are and she said, oh no honey. I just figured they got us into this mess now, let us let them get us out. Well, I thought they need a little (00:22:22) help. The equal rights amendment was passed in (00:22:46) 1972 after 50 years of being pressed. I mean it was it was first introduced as legislation in the 1920s in 1972 Louis Whaley was an active member of the Athens League of Women Voters and the American Association of University women both groups supported the passage of the era when I was first passed in 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment. Everyone said, oh well sure. I mean now women should be equal and so forth then opposition a very strong opposition began then also about The same time as you'll recall another very even more controversial issue involving women the came to the Forefront which was reproductive Choice the abortion decision Roe versus Wade occurred in 1973 in January 1973 those early years when the the abortion issue was really very prominent here in Cincinnati. I was always very open about saying that I was for freedom of choice. I've never been willing to not stand up for what I think is right public office has never been so much value to me that I haven't been willing to risk losing it and I think that being able to afford one's principles. Is a great great value Stearns views did not go unappreciated by her constituency in the late 70s. She was elected Mayor of Cincinnati. One of the first woman mayor's in the nation. It was it was very exciting for me truly to be the first elected woman mayor, of course what was entertaining to me and fortunately to my husband was that whenever I was introduced some place people would always extend a hand to my husband expecting that he was the mayor or if the manager was there. They would extend a hand to the mail city manager. And of course my husband would always laugh and said about toward me and say they are stirring women I think began to to assume stronger roles. Well, I think men began to feel they needed them. We were not brain-dead we had been trained. We we had exposure we knew both home and we knew the mind of the carpet leaders women were no longer happy to say tell me how to vote on Election Day. We were running candidates and we were having input in terms of the men who were there women can just choose amongst incredible array of professions, you know, whatever. She's capable of she can go after and she'll probably try we make (00:25:50) it. A working woman and I call me nine fire what that means is I want more time trying to take care of business and then I go home and take care of mine working woman. They call me. There are certainly many many more women in the (00:26:17) workforce now than there were and most young women just assume that they will be working outside the home for most if not all of their working lives, which was not true say (00:26:32) in the (00:26:32) 1960s. I would I always knew that I could do anything that I wanted. But what I didn't know is that I didn't have to do everything that I could for example. I didn't have to be a successful mother a successful wife a successful fast-track career person and I see this as kind of the evolution of my involvement with Women's politics women's Consciousness is my own innate if you will sense of what being a woman is about and what I what I see for myself is it is very much linked to family. Although not in the slavish way. That women's roles used to be I Am Naturally concerned about those people that I love and what I'm realizing is that since that is so important to me. I need to structure my life so that I can do that. I always think you have to have right on your side. I also think you have to have concern for humankind on your side. I think these are things that women will start out with but as they begin to change the laws, I really don't know where we're going. I think you're going to find more women marching as they did in the 20s to get the the ballot. Oh, I think we're going to have to if we're going to make changes change the 20th. He has seen many changes in women's roles, but what's next? What can we expect in the 1990s? I think the issues for women in the 90s are going to be real basic survival kinds of issues, which means that the issues for women are going to be the issues for men and children also and I think that tradition and millions of years being programmed into being second-class citizens. It's going to take quite a while. There's still a large group of women. I larger than I like to even think about who turned to husbands fathers Sons whatever for political advice and who don't bother to try to find out anything for themselves, but I suppose we might have been in much worse shape if there hadn't been women voting women's voting patterns are different from Men's mean if ever a time comes that you don't have to consider. Women's rights but can speak just in general. Once again of all human rights? I think that will be the time that we will have reached the (00:29:01) millennium. We have a van a head but never turn back. Oh, it's a woman's place was (00:29:44) written and produced by Sandra slight Brennan with engineering by Doug Cartouche production assistants by Joel spoke has and narration by Julie Crozier. The program was funded in part by the Ohio Humanities Council under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities A. Woman's Place is a production of wo you be radio in Athens, Ohio. (00:30:07) I'm Dan Olson from Minnesota Public Radio at the MPR State Fair booth in a moment. We'll talk with our guest Gloria Griffin and Phyllis Kahn about some of the items. We just heard in that documentary recognition of this the 71st anniversary of women's suffrage the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Unfortunately, there are no cassettes available of this documentary at this time, but you may if you want call The Producers at area code six one four 593 45:54 to leave your name in case they should be made available in the future Gloria Griffin and Phyllis Kahn with us two women who have been involved in the women's movement in Minnesota for many many years to put a fine point on it Gloria. Griffin has been the coordinator of the Minnesota women's Consortium since it was founded 12 years ago. She had a busy life before joining the women's Consortium Glory Griffin ran for congress in 1976 against Tom Hagedorn in the Old Second District and she was in charge or a griffon was of appointments for women and minorities in the first purpose Administration in 1977. And she's been lobbying for the Minnesota women's political caucus for almost 20 years Phyllis Kahn is a physicist and bio physicist by training she has a string of degrees behind her name all the way up to PhD from various places Cornell Yale Harvard in 1968. He was a founder of the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women known as now and in 1971 a founder of the Minnesota women's political. Caucus and then elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives from Minneapolis in 1972 and re-elected every time since they have Feller Phyllis Kahn is now the chair of the state government division of Appropriations. And since we're at the fair, we can't pass up the chance to mention that Phyllis Kahn is a state fair Prize winner. This comes to us from midday producer Sarah Mayer Phyllis Kahn won second prize in 1987. And again in 1989 for her quadruple chocolate pie. No doubt a crowd-pleaser Phyllis Kahn nice to have you here both of you. Thank you for coming by thank you. It's almost like the passage of the 19th Amendment occurs without much fanfare these days or is there in your mind real Fanfare Gloria Griffin? (00:32:21) No, I don't think there's a lot of fanfare but I'm not so sure there should be women earned the right to vote. They have it and we've gone on to a lot of other things that we know we have to earn (00:32:36) your keep. All about that distinction earned the right absolutely rather than being granted the right (00:32:41) to vote. Now that you hear somebody say they gave them the vote. Nobody gave us any the thing (00:32:47) Phyllis Kahn in politics for a long time as with Gloria Griffin, of course, and now it seems as though it's taken for granted that women are in politics or is that not to be taken for granted? (00:32:57) Well, it certainly seems to be taken for granted in some places here. We do have the City of Minneapolis maybe one of the larger cities in the country where majority of the city council are women as we heard on your previous program. There are now many women Mayors and very prominent cities throughout the throughout the country Minnesota Legislature has 43 women and it now compared to the One it had a 1971 when Gloria and I will working to get more involvement and that's somewhat over 20% and that's just above average in the country and people are no longer surprised to see women in (00:33:37) politics. We're going to give listeners a chance to join us in this conversation with our guest Gloria Griffin and Phyllis Kahn at our Minnesota Public Radio State Fair Booth. You remember help me with my history here where they're suffragette parades in Minnesota. What was the level of activity back around the turn of the century before 1920 you remember Gloria Griffin. (00:33:56) Well, actually I'm not that old first. (00:33:59) What do you read? What do you (00:34:00) read? I understand that there were lots of marches. There were hard campaigns in every single state as I read it and it took almost 70 years since well, since I think 1848 is considered the start of the drive for votes and I think every state had lots of marches in this state after there was a famous case. And the light March after the 19th amendment was passed (00:34:29) we have competition from across the street at the Minnesota State Fair. We made a strategic decision to stay out here on our little deck at our Minnesota Public Radio Booth. I think it's a good decision that fellow across the street in the background is advertising for elephant rides, which unfortunately Minnesota Public Radio doesn't offer this year put that on the list for next year and there will be a human being shot out of a cannon later on in those of you who are curious and that also doesn't happen yet at Minnesota Public Radio the very woman apply for that job. Well, I don't know, you know, I suppose there will be a suit if they can apparently various women's causes were made prominent at early state fairs among other places. We have the account by Carolyn Marling go in her book about the fair and she talks about suffrage at Booth's anti-suffrage at Booth. These are all items of antiquity. I assume now, I I gather that when the two of you go out and recruit women for running Political office you get a response that well. Yes, of course women can run and should (00:35:28) run. Yes, it's still considered somewhat more difficult to whip for women to raise money to run. Although the campaign of jongro for the US Senate pretty well disproved that again. I think the problems that women are getting to is in corporate life and perhaps in political life is what we refer to as the glass ceiling. Yes going so far and possibly no further perhaps in Minnesota. We've even broken that as we have the first woman speaker of the house in Minnesota now starting in (00:36:02) January. The color is on the line with questions for our guests Phyllis Kahn and Gloria Griffin here at our Minnesota Public Radio State Fair Booth. We're going to take the first caller in just a moment. Thanks for waiting. Good afternoon to you. We can hear you. Go ahead, please. I have a problem that I've never had nobody seems to be (00:36:16) aware of I was displaced Homemaker in late years (00:36:21) and got only half my husband Social Security because I had worked for him couldn't get my own man and (00:36:27) yet when I had to earn money and he didn't After work, I didn't able him to retire. (00:36:32) I could only my earnings limitations with the same as if I'd been getting a full social security check. What what's the excuse for that? I mean I can see where they don't want us to get as much Social Security is our husbands. Although we should but what's your excuse for not letting us earn more money at least if we're only getting half the Social Security. The only thing I can tell you on that is that Social Security is a federal issue and so I would suggest that you call your congressman's office and you try and get some help with that sometimes when some of these issues are brought to someone's attention. They can be taken care of with special legislation the point you make is certainly a very good one and all I can say is that I don't think there's anything we can do about it with it on the state (00:37:18) level Phyllis Kahn. Do you think that that is the type of I'm sorry Gloria do you think that is the type of issue that would have been addressed by a passage of the Equal Rights (00:37:25) Amendment? Absolutely the Social Security System is still one of those left under an old system in which the husband is the head of the household and the worker and wife is dependent and it is still set up that way and that's what you get. Most women who have even worked we'll get more under Social Security as a dependent Survivor of their husband rather than as an independent worker. It's incredible we do have in this state. I've on Frazier who has been working for what she calls equal earnings for social security for many many years one of these days we'll get it. (00:38:05) The other issue is what is the status the impetus if you will of the Equal Rights Amendment, where is it? (00:38:11) Well, it's unfortunately with it fell three states short, I believe of ratification. So we the process now has to be starting again. I believe it's been introduced in Congress the process that needs to be passed by Congress and then ratified. (00:38:29) That (00:38:29) guy 3/4 of the state. The problem is its recently is its combination with the abortion issue and the people who are anti-choice feeling that the Equal Rights Amendment should have passed would be nail another nail in the coffin of anti-abortion laws (00:38:52) with other color is on the line with questions for our guests, Gloria Griffin and Phyllis Kahn here at the Minnesota Public Radio State Fair Booth. Let's go to the next caller right now. Hello. We're listening for your question. Oh, yes. I'm calling from goody (00:39:03) Minnesota. And I'm (00:39:04) my question is basically young women that are involved right now. It seems that there's a greater number than it's also sort of a doorway into getting more women at large involved and I was wondering if you have any (00:39:16) ideas of how you can incorporate your the youth into main the Main Avenue of (00:39:24) women activists. And if you feel that there are more young women (00:39:27) involved Well, let me take a little stab at that, you know, there's good news and bad news in that one of the problems is that so many of the young women today take women's rights as just an absolute given I mean it's appalling to people like my daughter to be told that there were things I was told that I couldn't do because I was a girl nobody at least says that anymore the Discrimination is much as much less apparent. So they firmly believe and the ones who are not students of History. Don't pay any attention to what's happened to the women before them that they can get anywhere. They want on their own ability. Again. The abortion issue has suddenly started to Galvanize many young women who see something that they've taken as an absolute right the control of their reproductive systems of their body that may be taken away. And so I think you're having a renewed interest in the importance of the women's movement to their I also think that younger women who work and today it's almost an absolute necessity married or not that all young women work. They also continue to have crime responsibility for children Family Day Care home cooking and etcetera. There's only so many hours in the day and there's only so much you can do and women will not be ready to move until some of those responsibilities are (00:40:55) eased other callers on the line with questions for our guests Glory Griffin and Phyllis Kahn here at the Minnesota Public Radio State Fair Booth. Let's go to you. Go ahead please. I am calling from Bemidji. I'd like to know why was it necessary to add an amendment to the Constitution to give women the right to vote Yes a very basic question Gloria Griffin. That's my favorite (00:41:16) question. Women could have been interpreted into the Constitution since the very beginning had the gentleman been so inclined (00:41:27) and in fact, that was a point of Great condemned contention as I read it was exactly who was covered by that and of course the people who were covered by the right to vote before the 19th Amendment were landowners property owners and white males that pretty much wrapped it (00:41:42) up. And and in fact, the problem was I guess the Amendments passed right after the Civil War which then put the word mail into the constitution for the first time which specifically granted the right to vote to male citizens who are not white at that (00:41:59) time based on what you see in go ahead Glory. You're going to say something. (00:42:02) Yeah. I just want to say that, you know women to girls women old women like myself we are just as patriotic and we just we love America and all these things that just as much as every man does it's it's just very very going not to be able to have the full citizenship that goes with that. (00:42:20) The wind is starting to whip up here at the Minnesota State Fair Booth listeners haven't fallen over so far and none of the folks in the street have been bowled over but Of the aluminum cans are starting to blow around so far the Sun umbrella shielding Phyllis Kahn and Gloria Griffin hasn't blown over on them. They're under strict instructions to continue talking under any circumstances no matter what may happen before we go to the next caller based on what You observe in voting patterns and also voting performance which message is winning the hearts and minds of Women Voters of various age groups in the United States these days are young women for example, voting more conservatively or liberally one. (00:43:02) I'm not sure that I've seen polls with that kind of distribution. We have seen a very strong gender gap among women and that gender gap has tended to favor the Democratic party partially because it's considered to be the party of caring for people in the party of peace and those elements do seem to be more important to women at least as a whole. (00:43:25) I haven't seen the percentages for turnout of Women Voters. Are they slightly higher than the percent of turnout among men? Yeah, but still very low numbers relatively speaking if half the only half the electricity (00:43:37) is a 74 75 percent (00:43:38) State numbers are quite High (00:43:40) sure most of the country with (00:43:42) another caller on the line with a question for our guest Phyllis Kahn and Gloria Griffin. Go ahead. We're listening for you know know anything about the ER a lately. What is the status on that? Is it going to come back? Yeah, we touched on it earlier and (00:43:53) well, I it needs to be passed by Congress again and then needs to go out to the states and it is complicated again at this point by the abortion issue. (00:44:02) So who are the major women political figures of the day Pat Schroeder took a crack at running for the presidency. She has gone from coast to coast saying she wasn't taken seriously. They asked her about her hair and makeup instead of about the issues. What are the prospects if another woman should choose to run for the presidency in your opinion are they're still going to be those appearance hurdles to overcome? (00:44:23) I think those hurdles will be with us for some time. But I don't think it's going to stop us from having winning women candidates from both parties. Jodean for I was going to run for the Senate I do hope we have a woman in Minnesota running for the Senate. I'd love to see it Phyllis Kahn. Well, I won't take this point to make an announcement. No, go ahead. But I do think I do think women as women are at the lower levels of office for City council's County Commissioners state legislators. And that's where I really do want to make an announcement that everyone woman listening ought to seriously think about herself as a candidate for those for those offices, you know you that's kind of the Bush leagues and then you move up through the ranks and I think a woman will probably be elected vice president before President. (00:45:14) I don't know the percentages for congress. I don't know how many women serve as a percentage in Congress small number. It's like (00:45:20) 5% 23, or Nine women (00:45:23) over and there is Nancy kassebaum. The senator. She is Barbara mikulski. See those are two names that seemed to me to stand up as prominent political figures among women, but where are they? What are they (00:45:34) doing? Well, they're doing a good job in the Senate as far as I can say no again, the complications of who's going to be on the presidential cat ticket the problem of the primaries the need for balance and so forth. Then gets gets the additional complication of looking at sex balance. Its I don't people don't believe that Geraldine Ferraro course the Democratic ticket any votes, but they also don't believe that she helped it in any way (00:46:03) for women in politics. What's it like raising money? Is it still a case that it is the race not the gender that is important. In other words a candidate will have no difficulty winning money if they're seen as a winnable as a winning (00:46:15) candidate. I think that's true and incumbents have a much easier than not incumbents. And of course at this stage most incumbents are Male, so let's see if that what's perceived as a problem for women is really the problem is their lack of incumbency rather than anything else (00:46:31) how much money is the Minnesota women's political caucus or the women's Consortium spending on grooming people. Is there any kind of money being spent in that fashion for really essentially grooming people to run for office? (00:46:43) Well, not so much for grooming people. But I think we can say that from the various groups the various women's political women's caucus groups and so forth that no serious woman candidate has lacked funds to run in the past few years. We've been very good at being able to raise money at helping them raise money and that has not been the (00:47:04) problem. Obviously the two of your very closely identified with the democratic-farmer-labor party in Minnesota. How is the abortion issue cutting among women of particular age groups? Is it a kind of divisive or deciding issue? If you will for many Women Voters Gloria (00:47:19) Griffin, I hope that it will be divisive issue within the Republican party, there are some very good pro-choice women and I think they were about to make a fight of it and I hope they do (00:47:29) but where do you see people coming down on in terms of Women Voters? (00:47:32) Well, it used to be it used to be that people were very worried about being pro-choice and running for office particularly for Statewide office. The current wisdom is that the worry is on the other side. Now that people are much more worried now about not being pro-choice and running for office (00:47:50) have so-called women's agenda items that have been approved either by Congress or the state legislature made a difference in the lives of not just women but men too for that matter. I mean are there items that you can point at on the agenda that have been approved and say yes, this made a difference. (00:48:06) Well, obviously, obviously the first issue that I worked on. In fact before I was elected even was childcare and we don't have enough child sub State subsidized childcare available, but we do have some and it's made a difference for families. The issue of Parental leave is also one that we think of a woman's issue but we've passed that as a non-sex bias issue in Minnesota. And I know I think as many men who've taken parental leave as I do women, (00:48:37) we're wrapping up our conversation at the Minnesota State Fair Booth with our guests, Gloria Griffin and Phyllis Kahn who have been kind enough to drop by Gloria Griffin at what point. How young were you when you learned that power was a central factor in the equation of women getting anywhere? What was what was the fundamental instance in your life when you realize that power was a big (00:48:59) issue? Well, I felt the results of it early on as I think most women do before. They decide what it is. I was very late and too old when I decided what it was that was well into my 40s before I (00:49:12) realize what pushed you what push you towards (00:49:14) him. Just a lot of things personal problems political problems and working for a woman candidate. It all the difference in the (00:49:23) world Phyllis Kahn same question to you. (00:49:25) Well, I was thrown off my sixth grade football team and I didn't think that was fair at all. (00:49:32) That's a that's a for-sure story. That's for (00:49:34) real. Yes. Absolutely. I knocked down a little boy and his parents complained and the playground director said that I couldn't play with boys anymore. (00:49:43) You know, we have only a couple of minutes remaining but we could talk about all of the higher plane issues that might be very important to the pocketbook in terms of Voters. But what Phyllis Kahn has mentioned here Athletics sports that will take as close to see to the front row as any issue that people can talk about when it comes to (00:50:01) political issue that's coming up now is the question of equal ice time throughout the state as we get interested in girls ice winter sports (00:50:10) and I gather that a state legislature obviously or congress for that matter can only do so much to mandate issues in terms of equality at a certain point attitudes have to take over (00:50:21) That's right. And we also need the brave people who are out there to raise the issues to demand the equal time. Even if they're entitled to it the equality equal rights. (00:50:30) All right, Phyllis Kahn. Thank you very much Glory Griffin. Thank you very much for coming by the Minnesota State Fair booth and midday here on this Monday, August 26th. Maybe there's a red balloon waiting for them over there and even Drew an audience even some of the sunny booths now are occupied by people braving the warm. Midday sun. And of course the Shady boots have been popular right along will continue with midday now on the news and information stations of Minnesota Public Radio, and the rest of the Minnesota Public Radio Stations will go off to war fine programming including classical music and we invite all of you to stay tuned for that the temperatures around our region. Well those of you in South Dakota look out triple digit readings are possible later today the forecast for our area is rather short and and then hot and humid conditions again tomorrow and 90 degree temperature reading. So I guess this is it we welcome to writer's to our Minnesota State Fair Booth Studio, Jane Resh Thomas and Nancy Carlson, Jane. Rush. Thomas is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan who now lives in Minneapolis. She's a fiction writer Thomas also reviews and writes on literature for the Star Tribune newspaper. And now we have learned for the Cleveland Plain Dealer as well and see Carlson is a writer of children's books who lives in Edina and for the next 20 minutes or so on midday will talk with Nancy Carlson and Jane rash Thomas about their work, but of course the conversation about literature will be punctuated numerous times with cannon shots organ grinder music, who knows what could possibly happen? Welcome to both of you. Thank you for coming by elephant trumpets. Yeah. There you go. Well, here are some of the titles and you'll recognize the titles. I'm sure of Auntie Carlton's work. She is best known perhaps for her character Harriet among others. She is written bunnies and their Hobbies Luanne Pig in which lady And many many more titles Jane Rush Thomas has written The Comeback dog courage at engine deep and other books. Now. The point of course is that Nancy Carlson is mainly a picture book writer Jane Rush Thomas is mainly a writer of fiction for young people. But older people as well to know just for children just for children. Well here we are at a point in time when as best I can tell the market for children's literature is just booming. Is that what the sales figures tell you Jane and Nancy? (00:52:49) Yeah. I think it's a it's still going pretty strong. We had a little slow down here last maybe fall but I think I'm seeing sales of my books still going by the way. I'm an (00:53:04) illustrator to yes writer and illustrator. Yes. We must give credit where credit is due. He does the whole nine yards the part. I like best. Yeah strating. All right, Jane the sales numbers. Apparently the business is (00:53:17) booming. I heard on the radio that ksjn. The stock of the Gerber company in other baby companies have have stocks of boomed because there's such a high birthrate children's books have become big business Wall Street discovered them. (00:53:40) This is this is interesting because of course the Wall Street Journal article of a few months ago portrayed and Martin as a very successful writer and The Baby-Sitters Club series. I think I have a couple of copies with me today. I think it's in number 112 or something like that. It started at one. That's a little bit of an exaggeration but not much. She has found a formula. Is that too crass to say a formula? (00:54:04) I can practice a formula artfully. Yeah. It's possible. (00:54:09) And she's done it. Well apparently well enough to sell a lot of (00:54:11) books. Yeah kids love them. And I think anything anything kids love to read is a good book. I (00:54:18) was a very liberal interpretation. Yes to me. (00:54:20) Yeah, I think it I think that adults have an opportunity to pick what they like without somebody standing over their heads deciding whether it's good enough for classic enough and I'd encourage parents to to support their children's tastes and then try to extend it (00:54:42) you feel that strongly about literature the fact that children should not be censored at all or that heavily. Do you place some limits on what children should read antique (00:54:51) urns. Well, you know for my own kids, of course, I like to show them what what I like and of course I let them pick we go to the library and they pick whatever they want. And as long as they're sitting down looking my kids are pretty young yet. But looking at the books, it's fine now. With my own daughter we've read started the Betsy tacy books and that's something I know. She would never picked out of the library on her own but we've enjoyed them together and it's been great. Now my son picks out the Berenstein Bears, they're not my personal favorites, but I'm just glad he likes to be read to when my son was little although I had hundreds of review copies for him to read. I always gave him money at the bookstore and one of my favorite pics that he made was the Flintstone storybook one of his all-time big books, but I didn't want to read it very many times to him, but I thought it was fine if he had chosen a book that he (00:55:55) loved. Well see there it is from from the lips of to people who might be stereotyped as being snobbish in their literature tasting here. Their kids are going to the library and picking up the same sort of thing. My kids are picking up here. Spellbound the title by Christopher Pike now, I haven't read Christopher Pike. My 12 year old is reading Christopher Pike as though he is the hottest thing since well, I don't know what the comparison would be Madonna I suppose in entertainment and apparently this is some pretty gruesome gory stuff. So how do you feel about very specific Port rails of either violence or other kinds of activity that would give adults cause for concern when the kids pick it up and start reading (00:56:35) it. I'd like to talk with it. Talk about it with a child. If I were if my child were reading something that troubled me. I'd like to read it with them. (00:56:46) They found Karen Holly in the mountain stream. Her skull crushed. There was only one witness to the tragedy. That's the blurb on the back of the cover for (00:56:54) the you know, I think it's great that parents can be there to talk to their children about the books. But we have to remember to as people in the business that oftentimes families don't have somebody to be read to or talk to about the books and that's what disturbs me in many cases is that there's kids it'll take books out that they have nobody to talk to him about what's in the book and You know, I haven't I'm not familiar with those books. So my kids are pretty little but (00:57:28) I have answer there goes to the street sweeper, the Minnesota State Fair street sweeper, and I didn't have a chance to warn Nancy and Jane that among the other Thrills and science that they would see at the fair is the street sweeper Jane. I'm not sure if I should reveal this publicly. I think you said to me over the telephone. You hadn't been to the State Fair since (00:57:45) 72. Oh, no, I it's been worrisome than that. (00:57:49) I know in public. She's changing a (00:57:50) straw not wasn't I (00:57:53) right? All right, Nancy Carlson I come every (00:57:55) year since I've been five and this is material for books. (00:57:59) All right out here. I was just a truth check because I would assume so I mean this is this is got to be rich raw materials. You never know some of these little characters sitting on these seats here may show up with ears on them here in another Nancy Carlson (00:58:12) book before we leave this this General subject, which is the subject of censorship really at Bottom. I want to say that that my Under the stop with reading The Flintstones storybook or Stephen King. He read a very wide range of literature because because it was available to him (00:58:35) and I don't want to leave it there either because I want to ask both of you what you're finding at libraries and I presume the two of you for what you write even though I'm not intimately familiar with all of your work have no difficulty in getting your books into public libraries, but what our public libraries doing, are they exhibiting a more or less courageous stand in buying all kinds of material and making it available to their users or are there real structures that you see being applied? (00:58:58) I don't I'm not familiar with public libraries. I know in some particular towns, especially in the midwest. I have found some of my books one particular I've gotten problems with being censored by groups of parents. What was the problem? It's called The Witch lady (00:59:15) the witch Lady. It's one of my favorite. I have it here somewhere and to (00:59:18) me. That's the scariest thing I've ever. Mr. My life when I've gotten calls and concerns from groups of parents that feel I shouldn't be using the word which and (00:59:31) I see that was that was the reaction was to the word which in the title of the right. It (00:59:38) isn't only her but they haven't singled her out any any book with a witch in it is meat for the religious. Right? I've also had comments about the character Luann the pig because of the cloven Hooves and it's gotten that bad and to me (00:59:56) that's you keep me. I don't get (00:59:57) it I so, I guess it's a sign of the devil. I (01:00:00) see okay, by the way the so-called which in which lady is not a witch. She's an older woman and she's a nice person. She turns out to be quite a nice person. I mean anybody who offers me cookies and milk, and then she keeps her birds and all of that. Alright well, so you've run into censorship. What about school libraries Jane Rush Thomas her Nancy Carlson, are they exhibiting? Somewhat tighter judgment, do you think than perhaps public libraries and what they allow in (01:00:26) I think they go on quality and there I don't think the at least the Metropolitan Libraries are influenced by radicals who are who are trying to limit what's available to people there? The Minneapolis public school system has a very well developed policy. I served on on the committee for several years that responded to the complaints of citizens to specific books that children were reading from the school libraries and they while they listened to these complaints and they they try very hard to be fair to the people who are complaining. They don't cave in and remove books because apparent disapproves of it (01:01:21) our Our Jane Rush Thomas and Nancy Carlson here on the porch of the Minnesota Public Radio booth at the Minnesota State Fair. I'm Dan Olson and st. Paul and we have about 10 minutes remaining in our conversation and we warned Nancy Carlson prior to this that we would ask her to read something from one of her works and she has volunteered to do that. I didn't convey that warning to Jane Ranch Thomas all oh lucky practice performer that she is. She's probably ready to go at a moment's notice reading almost anything and we'll get to that in just a moment before we get to the reading though by Nancy Carlson Jane Rush Thomas. What are you seeing by way of what Publishers are doing regarding any structures or limitations or indeed self-censorship that they might be imposing on their cells themselves were what they publish. Is there a lot or not. I (01:02:07) don't see that sort of thing. I what I see is literature having opened up. Two wide range of topics that weren't available to children in the 50s or even the 60s. (01:02:27) What are some of the what are some of the topics that surprised even you a veteran? (01:02:31) Well, I just heard just heard about a book. I haven't seen it yet. But there is a book about people making toys in bergen-belsen concentration camp is that sort of thing was unimaginable maybe even 10 years ago my own book saying goodbye to Grandma had not only has the topic that are the setting of a funeral but a child in that story touches her grandmother's body at the mortuary that was unimaginable in the 1950s. You could write a story about a dead bird but not about it. Cat and certainly not about a dead (01:03:18) person and I am guessing what you are arguing. Is that children's literature literature for young people generally can be used as a device. But only presumably with an adult to help people help kids work through (01:03:30) things. I don't think only with the with the help of an adult. I have a lot of confidence in children's intelligence and Rich Spirits. I think there are capable of coming to literature in the same way that adults do I don't think they necessarily need a guided tour. (01:03:54) An interesting argument and we have kind of a strange background here at the Minnesota State Fair because it's chain rash Thomas is speaking and making very serious points about children's literature. There is the pipe organ across the street or the are going to cross the street playing music that Nancy Carlson was starting to sway to there as we were. All right Nancy Carlson to come going to call it out here big commission now and get this reading on the air. What have you chosen? (01:04:18) I've of course my newest book, which is out this maybe in September. I think you can get it and it's really hard to read a picture book over the radio. But the title of this one is a visit to Grandma's and it's with a character that I've been using now, although in a couple of books and it's Tina the beaver and I'm just I guess I'll just kind of start it because I don't really have any deep passages in my books. It's all kind of a one piece here. So it goes Tina and her parents were going to fly to Florida to visit her grandmother. Her new home for Thanksgiving and in the picture Grandma's knitting there's a remembrance of Grandma. She's knitting by the fire and it's a nice cozy little Farmhouse. I'll sure miss the old Farmstead Dan, but I can't wait to see Grandma I can hear they are on the airplane. It says I can almost smell grandmas pumpkin pies said dad. I can almost taste her turkey and stuffing said Tina and they're imagining this wonderful dinner. They'll have Tina Mom and Dad couldn't believe their eyes when they saw Grandma is that you Grandma said Tina are you? Okay said dad, I feel great and this is Grandma at the airport and she's got a new sports car and she's got tight pants on and lots of jewels and she's changed. She's become real hip and it goes on Grandma's life has changed. Radically. She's gotten in with a group of seniors. To like to stay up late and play charades and and do fun things and they end up not having a good turkey dinner. They end up going to Monty's fish house for Thanksgiving dinner and they all ended up having a great weekend despite the fact things weren't the same as they used to be and that's the new (01:06:12) book coming out newest one of how many have you written (01:06:15) over. This is the 28th. (01:06:17) Yeah, we should observe just before now we get to Jane rash Thomas that in the midst of that reading not only can Nancy Carlson illustrate and write our own books and do a live interview on Minnesota Public Radio. She can also seized with her free hand the umbrella that was blown over by the wind and protecting them from the Sun Well my wife went to the library over the weekend when she had a moment looking for Jane Rush Thomas books and there she found one of them including I think the comeback dog right and you have it in your hand. What about a passage from that? (01:06:47) Well, this is a story about a boy whose old dog has died. He finds a new dog. It's sick and he has to get accustomed to the fact that this dog isn't like the old one. It isn't the same dog. And he has to make a new kind of relationship with her. She runs away from him Furious Daniel through the stick with all his strength over last year's chopped off scorned stocks He Slipped the choke chain off lady's neck and ran as fast as he could across the softer looking back. He saw a lady Creepin on her belly down a corn roll watching him distrustfully over her shoulder go then starve to death. He shouted I never wanted you anyway when he certainly could not have caught her even if he had tried she bolted with all with her tail curled under between her legs. She dashed for the woods at the far end of the field in a moment Daniel lost sight of her as she plunged into the creek bed, which was still filled with cottony morning fog. He She runs away she comes back. It is the comeback (01:07:53) dog. There you go. It's a lovely story (01:07:55) children's books and with Hope on the whole. I like to see I don't like to see books that don't end with hope with some hope (01:08:05) brought it brought a tear even to my cynical eyes. I read the final pages of that just to get the (01:08:10) conclusion and I love that book. Yeah. I've always always loved that book before I even knew Jane. It was one of my favorites (01:08:17) I think books make big Impressions on kids don't they kids really hold on to things that they read that brings out emotions and (01:08:24) well and when I can relate to real experiences what they're going through and they can see that other people get through them other children, you know can get through the loss of a dog and they do find (01:08:37) we have about four minutes remaining in our conversation with Jen rash Thomas and Nancy Carlson to writers and illustrators and see Carlson is an illustrator as well as children's literature and literature for young people. I was sad when Roald Dahl died. And when Scott oh Adele died. I was introduced to them. I didn't know about either of those two authors and among writers who are men. They seem to have had a very powerful effect rolled all of a very well strange guy. I mean, he wrote some very strange stories. But again, I he seems to fall into that area Jane Rush Thomas of people who write well violent books for kids and yet the kids glom onto those stories and love (01:09:15) them. Well, there's a little oven is stories to there is a violence in the world this it was wrong to present a vision of the world. That was all sweetness and light as as children's books writers and artists tended to do in the past. One of the things Nancy does in her books is to write with great with great Joy about some of the foibles. Human nature, her books are not Sweetness in life, right? They are about trouble very often, but she does it with AB liveness that that makes a whole Vision (01:10:04) the writers who succeed at publishing and everybody wants to know the formula. I suppose you get dozens of calls and letters each month Nancy Carlson Jane Rush Thomas. How do we do it? How do we break into it? So the question to both of you, how do people break into publishing (01:10:21) be? Well, first of all prepared for lots of rejections and it's a tough economy to be starting and number one, but I believe in Jane may not agree with this is that you have to write from the child within yourself be in tune with that. If you're going to be writing for children, at least for picture books, you have to really feel like the child that's reading and I believe that for me when I'm down there in my studio. I'm Years old and I think the drawings reflect that and the fun that I have in it. So I like I agree you have to write from from your own experience right from your from your life. Even when you're making stories up. Even when you write fiction. My last book was the princess in the pig pen is a fantasy. I discovered a couple of years after that book was published the psychological the subconscious elements that were in and I wasn't even aware of it when it was published. I thought I was writing something that have nothing to do with me and it turned out that it had everything to do with my own psychological agenda. You can't get you can't get away from yourself. (01:11:34) Well, I want to thank both of you Jane Rush Thomas Nancy Carlson for coming to the porch of Minnesota Public Radio State Fair booth and doing a live interview under the most extraordinary of circumstances nearly everything that could happen during a live interview. (01:11:46) It's going to go now any minute (01:11:47) and any minute the (01:11:48) cannon will does it's lifted (01:11:50) and their priming it just now and putting the fodder human. Yeah. A human Cannonball. Thank you very much. Thank you both for coming by. Thanks, Dan.


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