Bill Minor – Miss. slow on woman’s rights

Last week marked 90 years since the 19th Amendment — women’s suffrage — was adopted. In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, feminist historian Christine Stansell, related how the South, not surprisingly, had for decades resisted ratification of the amendment.

Mississippi, she reminds, was one of the most relentless foes. As a matter of fact, Mississippi brought up the rear, only ratifying the amendment in 1984, some 65 years after three-fourths of the states had made it a part of the constitution.

wPerhaps that negative attitude toward political equality for women expressed back then accounts for Mississippi’s record of never having elected a woman governor or sent a woman to Congress, even as several Deep South neighbors have long ago elected women to those high offices.

Both Louisiana and Arkansas presently have women U.S. Senators. Three years ago, Louisianans were represented by both a woman governor and a woman U.S. Senator. Alabama elected a woman governor back in the 1970’s. South Carolina, which was very much like Mississippi in not electing women to high office, is now on the verge of electing a 40-ish woman as governor in November. She, incidentally, is the daughter of Indian immigrants. Texas long ago has elected women both to the U.S. House and Senate. Notably, in the 1970s, a black woman–Barbara Jordan–was elected for several terms to the U.S. House. She distinguished herself for intellect in the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Since then Texas has elected several black women to the House.