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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Marguerite Tolbert, June 14, 1974. Interview G-0062. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs lobbies for an equal rights amendment

Tolbert and other members of the Federation of Women's Clubs made speeches before the South Carolina legislature endorsing female suffrage and equal rights. Though they lobbied in support of a state equal rights amendment, the legislature vetoed it until it finally passed in the 1970s.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Marguerite Tolbert, June 14, 1974. Interview G-0062. 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 don't have any real memory of the woman's suffrage movement except in all of those years. I want to say this to make it clear; the women through the Federation of Women's Clubs -- that's where I worked -- were very aware that the South Carolina constitution gave us no right to vote. Men could vote but no white woman. And in our Council for the Common Good, which was part of it, we championed the right of the women to vote.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you remember what years we're talking about?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
Oh, till Governor Robert E. MacNair two years ago, signed the bill.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
I see. So too was Ms. Salley. She appeared, I think, when at last South Carolina ratified the measure.
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
Yes. I made two or three speeches in the State House fighting for woman's right to vote.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Is that so?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
Yes, I did. I appeared before the senate, and once I appeared before the senate and the house and I made my plea for women to have their rights as full-fledged citizens.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you remember what years these were?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
No.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Do you have these remarks on typescript?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
No, that was just part of my duty.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
The founder of the Equal Suffrage League in South Carolina was a woman from Cheraw named Mrs. Harriett Powe Lynch. Were you aware of her activities?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
No. I knew Lila Moore.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
Powe;P-O-W-E.
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
I knew a Mrs. Moore who was a Lynch and came from Conway; and she was in the Federation of Women's Clubs with us, and listed in United We Stand. All came out flat-footed for equal rights and we stepped out bravely. I remember going to Senator Speigner of, Columbia he's dead now, and laying the problem on the table.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
What was his response?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
He was all right but the legislature still vetoed the bill. They were adament.
CONSTANCE MYERS:
. . . the Equal Rights Amendment?
MARGUERITE TOLBERT:
Right.