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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Martha C. McKay, March 29, 1974. Interview A-0324. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Governor Holshouser and the ERA

McKay explains that had Governor James Holshouser gone beyond verbal to active support of the Equal Rights Amendment, it may have successfully passed in the North Carolina senate in 1973. Arguing that his active support may have swayed the votes of certain Republican legislators, McKay suggests the complex nature of political dynamics that shaped the outcome of the ratification process.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Martha C. McKay, March 29, 1974. Interview A-0324. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BELINDA RIGGSBEE:
Governor Holshouser gave his verbal support. Did it make a difference and would active support on his part have made a difference?
MARTHA C. McKAY:
Yeah, active support would have made a difference. I had it written down somewhere, but the Democrats came through better percentage-wise than the Republicans. A lot better. In the Senate. Because that's the only place we had to doubt. I didn't even bother to do the percentages on that eighty-two, thirty-six vote. I think it's in my ERA file. Well, at any rate, basically Grace was working on that end of it. We did ask his help and of course, he had made the statement, when he made he made his State of the Message, that he favored the Equal Rights Amendment. And then when he was asked if he was going to work for it, he said that no, he wasn't. He was going to work according to his priorities. Or some statement to that effect. However, I think it would have made a difference if we could have got to him a little sooner. We asked him . . . he was out of town just about the time of the vote. I think he went out on Monday and we made an attempt to get to him and to ask him to get to just two people. And I don't know whether he did or not, I doubt it.
BELINDA RIGGSBEE:
Who were they?
MARTHA C. McKAY:
I can't remember. Two Republican legislators, Senators. And where we felt that he could have some influence. And he was in Washington at some kind of meeting. I don't even know whether the message even got to him. But yes, it could have made a difference.