Equal Rights Amendment

Equal Rights Amendment

South Carolina Political Collections

The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, ensured that no U.S. citizen could be denied the right to vote based on their sex, granting women universal suffrage. However, despite gaining voting rights, women still faced inequality under the law. To address this issue, Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923, aiming to secure equal rights for all Americans, regardless of gender. The crucial first section of the ERA emphasized that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Bumper Sticker that reads ERA: No time limit on equality

Unfortunately, the ERA was not voted on by Congress in 1923. It wasn’t until 1971 when Michigan Representative Martha Griffiths brought the ERA to the U.S. House floor, leading to its passage on October 12, 1971, and in the U.S. Senate on March 22, 1972. The amendment then proceeded to the states for ratification. By 1977, 35 out of the required 38 states had ratified the ERA, but South Carolina was not among them. Ultimately, in 1982, after the extended deadline for ratification had passed, the ERA was officially defeated.

Our digital collection offers a glimpse into the significant efforts surrounding the Equal Rights Amendment. It comprises a selection of materials from various collections held at South Carolina Political Collections, including the Keller Bumgardner Barron Papers, Democratic Party of South Carolina Papers, L. Marion Gressette Papers, Ernest F. Hollings Papers, League of Women Voters of Columbia/Richland County Papers, League of Women Voters of South Carolina Papers, Nancy P. Moore Papers, Barbara W. Moxon Papers, and the South Carolina Coalition for the Equal Rights Amendment (SCCERA) Papers.

Explore this digital archive to discover the historical context, struggles, and activism surrounding the ERA, shedding light on the ongoing fight for gender equality in the United States.

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