In 1960, women in Louisiana were called to jury duty only if they volunteered, could not purchase or sell property without their husbands consent in writing, and could not have credit in their own names. Very few African-American and white women worked alongside one another. Women made up only 1.3 per cent of the states lawmakers. And, not until 1976 did the Louisiana legislature ever pass the womens suffrage bill. (Though women here could vote, they did so under Amendment 19 to the Constitution.) These are just a few of the areas in which change occurred during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
Many of the items selected here elucidate such change, particularly change that grew out of the efforts of members of the ERA Central, a coalition of some 30 groups and countless individuals. The Equal Rights Amendment (exhibit item 51) was introduced in Congress in 1923 and approved by the U.S. Senate 49 years later, in March 1972. Despite an extension for ratification granted until June 1982, it was not ratified by the requisite majority of 38 states.