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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Registering women voters in the early 1920s and links to the struggle for the ERA in the late 1970s

Everett describes her participation in registering North Carolina women to vote following the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. After passing the bar exam in 1920, Everett began to practice law in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with her father. At this time she became vice-chairman of the Democratic Party of Cumberland County. In this capacity, she worked worked on voter registration for women. Everett explains that one major obstacle in achieving this goal was working around husbands who didn't want their wives to vote. She links this to struggle for the ERA in the late 1970s and early 1980s, citing similarities between the two movements. Everett declares her support for the ERA and points to the persistance of disparities in job salaries and education.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kathrine Robinson Everett, April 30, 1985. Interview C-0005. 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

PAMELA DEAN:
You went door to door trying to get women to register when the 19th Amendment was passed.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes, you asked me about that. When I went to Fayetteville, I was made vice-chairman of the Democratic party of Cumberland County with the job of trying to get women to register because a lot of women did not want the vote. And they wanted to get out the women; get them to where they could vote. So that was my particular job as vice-chairman: to get a registration of women.
PAMELA DEAN:
Had you been active in either the suffrage movement or Democratic politics before that?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I hadn't been home, you see. I'd been away. Not in the Democratic party. While at college, we had had mock conferences and mock conventions and I remember at one of them I think I was Debs-to represent not the Democratic party [laughter], but they gave us a different side to represent. The women's college was real active for women. They were very much interested in getting women out and registering them. So we did do that. And I debated, had been the society(Adelphian) debator for two years while I was in Greensboro, so I was kind of interested in doing things.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had at least debated the issue and had thought about it a great deal.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes.
PAMELA DEAN:
So you had some interesting experiences, did you, in trying to get these women out? Run-in with a few of their husbands perhaps?
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
Yes. Some of the husbands didn't want their wives to vote and whether the women wanted to vote or not, we couldn't tell unless we got them without the husbands. So we found out that you had to go before the husbands came back from work. And then sometimes they wouldn't register. Women weren't all crazy to register by any means.
PAMELA DEAN:
It seems strange, but I know it's true.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I find though that some of it still exists today. That a lot of people still don't feel like women ought to hold office.
PAMELA DEAN:
The movement against the E.R.A., I think, has demonstrated that a lot of women who are not in favor of this.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
They think they're going to lose their protection, and no longer have the courtesies: they would no longer have a door opened for them, or a man get up when they come in, or some of the courtesies, and they really prefer those. And a lot of them say, as you ask them, that they think women are being cared for pretty well. How do you feel?
PAMELA DEAN:
I believe in the E.R.A. and that women ought to be able to do whatever they want to.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I feel like some of the supporters of the E.R.A. have hurt the cause by going out so far and doing some of the things they're doing. And, I can't say I'm rabid about E.R.A., because I feel like women deserve it and will get it. I fully believe they're going to have it. But I don't think that helps. I've still got an E.R.A. sticker on my car! I may be the only one in Durham [laughter] that's still got an "E.R.A. Yes!"
PAMELA DEAN:
Well, I think that's excellent. I think that you're a good argument for E.R.A.
KATHRINE ROBINSON EVERETT:
I don't believe in just giving women a job because they're a woman. I think they've got to be qualified. And I think that if they're qualified, they ought to get the same position and the same salary. There's still a big disparity in salaries. Especially in education.