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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Thomas Jackson White Jr., March 14, 1986. Interview C-0029-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

ERA supporters "acted like dogs"

White reserves particular contempt for a group of women's rights activists who visited the capitol in support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In the wake of the amendment's defeat, White believes that these women "acted like dogs." White opposed the ERA.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Thomas Jackson White Jr., March 14, 1986. Interview C-0029-2. 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

I would not want to offend any lady and certainly I would not want to offend you but in considering women's reactions to public statements - take women's lib, for instance. The most insulting group I have ever seen appear before the General Assembly was a group either for or against the so-called Women's Lib Amendment. Present publications appear to be designed to excite women into condemning the right to smoke or not smoke.
PAMELA DEAN:
Is this one of the times they were trying to pass the ERA?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
Yes. There was a bill pending to ratify the ERA.
PAMELA DEAN:
Ratify the ERA?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
Oh, yes. There was a bill there to ratify the ERA and when it was not ratified it was amazing to me to see human beings walking around looking like ladies and acting like dogs.
PAMELA DEAN:
What did they do?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
What did they do? Oh, they were squaling, yelling. They were snarling, and I said acting like dogs, I mean they were snarling and barking and raising hell because they didn't get what they wanted. That's the most insulting group I've ever seen.
PAMELA DEAN:
Do you think that is one of the reasons that ERA that failed to pass? Was just the attitude, the approach of those that were working for it?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
I think it failed to pass because the General Assembly didn't think it was a good idea. I agreed with the General Assembly.
PAMELA DEAN:
You think that even if the women hadn't been quite so offensive that it still probably, on its merits, wouldn't have passed?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
The height of their offense did not occur until after they had lost. This is when they showed their true colors. You could see which ones wanted it and which ones could get along without it. That may be an impolite thing to say as far as women are concerned, but I can't imagine my asking any woman to vote for me for anything else at my age. [Laughter]
PAMELA DEAN:
So you don't have to be polite now?
THOMAS JACKSON WHITE, JR.:
There is never any real occasion to be impolite but I won't worry about that now. I was embarrassed for those women. I really was. I was sorry for them. I regretted very much that we had that many women in North Carolina who acted in a fashion unbecoming a lady. Of course, I probably am too altruistic about that anyway. [Laughter] That's what went on about that.