Title: Oral History Interview with Martha C. McKay, March 29, 1974. Interview A-0324.
Interviewer: Riggsbee, Belinda
Interviewee: McKay, Martha C.
Subjects: North Carolina--Politics and government Women political activists--North Carolina Women's rights--North Carolina
Abstract: Women's rights activist and Democratic Party advocate Martha McKay describes her work with the North Carolina Women's Political Caucus (NCWPC) and its lobby for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1973. That year, the ERA went before the North Carolina General Assembly for ratification. Because of the active lobbying campaign of the NCWPC, the ERA was expected to pass through the North Carolina Senate following a vote by Governor James Holshouser that would break an anticipated 25-25 stalemate. McKay describes how Senators Gordon Allen and Mike Mullins changed their votes at the last moment, effectively defeating the ERA that year. McKay also discusses the organization of opposition to the ERA, focusing specifically on the role of external funding, the influence of Phyllis Schlafly, the position of North Carolina judges Susie Sharp and Naomi Morris, and the impact of media coverage. Finally, McKay briefly discusses "typical" pro- and anti-ERA women and the impact of the defeat on the NCWPC.