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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  December 24, 2014 8:30pm-9:03pm EST

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causes. then at 8, supreme court justice samuel alito and former florida governor jeb bush on the bill of rights and the founding fathers. on c-span2 at 10 a.m. eastern, venture into the art of good writing with steve pinker. at 12:30, see the feminist side of a super hero as jill lepore searching the secret history of wonder woman. at 7 p.m., author pamela paul and others talk about their read be habits. on american history tv on c-span3 at 8 a.m. eastern, the fall of the berlin wall with c-span footage of president george bush and bob dole, with speeches from presidents john kennedy and ronald reagan. at nan, fashion experts on first ladies' fashion choice and how they represented the styles of the times in which they lived. and then at 10, former nbc news anchor, tom brokaw, on his more than 50 years of reporting on world events that's this christmas dane at c-span networks.
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each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. up next, we take you inside the house wing of the u.s. capitol to learn about the history of women in congress in the second of a two-part program, we continue the story beginning in the 1940s with republican congresswoman clare boothe luce. >> i'm farrah elliott, a curator for the house of representatives and that means that i take care of a lot of the artifacts, the artwork, the objects that document the house's rich heritage. >> my nobody job is to collect bigraphical information on members, gather data and historic list and conduct oral histories. we answer reference questions in our office that come from on the hill and off the hill. and we try to tell the story of the house which is this very
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big, very old institution in a way in which people can kind of connect with it at a human level some we do that through telling biographical stories or clips from oral hist there is give people kind of a human sense of a very large institution. and today, we thought we'd try and do that with you by telling you about the history of women in congress, which is a history that dates back to the early 20s century. >> this is a nifty piece of campaign ephemera, clare boothe luce, re-election campaign, quite handy. tells you what to do use this column for voting with clare boothe luce, how you go into the voting booth and make sure you are pulling the levers to
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re-elect clare boothe luce. >> clare boothe luce would have been the republican counterpart of helen gahagan douglas. she was someone who was well known to the general public. her career really had started as a writer and editor, she was the managing editor for "vanity fair" magazine in the 1930s and later in the 1930s married henry luce, the founder of "time" and "life" and "fortune" magazines. so she had a very prominent background before she came to congress. she is not an isolationist. she is a nationalist. she spores the equal rights amendment and enhanced role for women in the military service
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and outside the home. so she is something of a feminist as well. >> from america this congressional delegation comes to a western from the on a democratic mission. mrs. luce, the congresswoman play write and sparkman costello and thomas serve on the house of representatives's military affairs committee. the group travels toward the battle line, observing american supplies in the push toward the rhine. look over newly liberated areas behind the lines, on their return home, they will make
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their report to the american nation. >> she serves two terms. this would have been in -- for her 1944 re-election. but about that time, she suffers a personal tragedy. her only daughter is killed in a car wreck near stanford where she was going to college. and with that, she kind of lost a lot of her zeal for public office. and she retires from the house at the end of the 79th congress in 1947. she and helen gahagan douglas would have overlapped for a term but she certainly would have -- general public as prominent women, both in a political sense and a cultural sense as well. >> this is one of my favorite buttons in the collection, it says condition with coya knutson, minnesota's first congresswoman. matt talks about the transition of generations of women and how
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that relates to what's going on in the nation at large. and coya, in some ways pace the price of changing view of women in the 1940s and '50s after world war ii ends. this is a photograph of her with her husband, andy, in front of andy's hotel. and he plays a prominent role in how her career ends. yeah, up to this point in the story, there's so many women who come to congress through that connection to their husband, through some kind of familiar connection and coya knutson is a story loses her congressional career because of that familiar connection. she came up through the -- first of all, she is from -- she represented a district in minnesota for two terms but she came up through the democratic farmer labor party in minnesota. and that's how she got her political start. she served in the minnesota
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house of representatives and had a very promising mitt cal career. in 1954, she decides to run for a u.s. house seat and she goes against the wishes of democratic farmer labor leaders who are not happy with the fact that she doesn't want to stay in the state house of representatives. so she has to fund her own political campaign and she does so. she wins election. her husband, andy, at this point, and this was a strained marriage to begin with, he grows jealous of her political success and so coya knutson in the house has a very successful career. s on the agriculture committee, it's very promising career. one of the things that she does is because of her background as a teacher, she wants to push for a federal student loan program and she manages after the
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sputnik crisis to slip in a provision, an amendment to the national defense education act in 1958 that establishes federal student lopes. so, she's -- she knows the legislative ropes and really pushes her agenda. unfortunately, she runs for election that year and democratic farmer labor operatives sabotage her campaign. they write a letter that they get her husband, andy, to sign. and the letter says that their marriage is suffering because she is far from home and it in the mates that there might be some kind of untoward relationship with a staffer that she has and the tag line on the letter is coya, come home. and she essentially loses the re-election because of the negative publicity that's generated by that letter and a lot of it's because of the
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social expectation that was still prevalent, that women's place was in this domestic sphere inside the home. and that really comes back to hurt the campaign. in the 1958 midterms, she is the only incumbent democrat to lose her seat. her career comes to a close. she later tries to run for congress again but she is unsuccessful. julia butler hansen of washington state is definitely one of the women in this era who is pushing the ball along for women in terms of this apprenticeship that they are serving as a group. her background was a long-time member of the washington state house of representatives, she has a lot of legislative experience before she ever comes to capitol hill. she was the chair of a couple different committees in the state legislature, served quite often as speaker pro-tem.
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she -- one of the things she did in washington was she was a prime mover behind establishing the ferry system in the state. so she has got a lot of legislative experience and she is not your typical freshman when she is elected in 1960 in a special election. she very quickly moves in to a position of influence. she gets a seat on the appropriations committee in the house. and by the mid-1960s, she vies for a subcommittee chairmanship, one of the so-called cardinals of the appropriations committee. and she competes for a seat on the interior and related agencies subcommittee and it's a tough competition, but she wins out. but the chairman of the committee, a man by the name of george mahan of texas, chairman of the full committee, tested her in getting the chairmanship and test her as a new chairman. the first time she comes to the full committee with -- with her
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bill for interior and related agencies, which is hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, it's a big appropriations bill, he says to her, julia, this is great, but you got to cut $2 million out of it. and she kind of looked at him and she said, yes, mr. chairman, she left. she went back to her subcommittee and she comes back a couple days later to the full committee and she says, mr. chairman, i want to report back to you, i found $2.5 million to cut out of the bill. julia, that's just wonderful. wherever did you find it? right out of your district, mr. chairman. and he never bothered her again. martha griffiths, who was a power in her own right, said of julia hansen that she knew how to exercise power better than any woman who she had seen in any legislature and coming from martha griffiths, that's high praise. so, here we have a campaign
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postcard of martha griffiths who was one of the influential women members from the 1950s into the 1970s, she represented a michigan district and like some of the earlier women here, like julia butler hansen, she has got a lot of experience before she ever comes to congress. she is lawyer. she serves as a judge in michigan. and she is like the to the house in 1954. she comes in in 1955. and she, too, very quickly moves into positions of influence. she is the first woman after a number of women in congress had campaigned with the speaker, to get a seat on the very exclusive ways and means committee, the tax committee. and from that position, she really weighs in on a lot of issues affecting women monetarily. every year, she reintroduced the
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equal rights amendment, a history in the house in congress going back to 1923. ed bill stuck in the judiciary committee and never came out. she was a lawyer by training, very critical of the supreme court, she didn't think the supreme court was ever gonna decide a case that would make women truly equal with men. she got behind the equal rights amendment. gets it out of the committee with a discharge petition in the 1970s, passes the house, stalls in the senate. and then she comes back and does it again in the following congress. finally, e.r.a. passes in 1972 and goes out to the states. it is never approved as a constitutional amendment but martha griffiths was really among a core group of women, the prime mover behind that the other thing that she does during the 1964 civil rights act.
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she was very interested in pushing an amendment through that would give women equal flights terms of employment but very cagey how she did it she knew that the chairman of the house rules committee, howard smith, who was a committed segregationist that he wanted to sink the '64 rights act and she caught wind that he was going to introduce an amendment that would introduce sex, the word sex, into an amendment that would provide for equal opportunity, equal economic opportunity, title vii of the civil rights act. so she held back because she knew that smith could bring a lot of southern votes with him. and smith intended simply as a gimmick to sinker the civil rights act, he gets on the floor and talks about how he wants to insert the word sex into the amendment and there's left and
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giggles around the chamber and people guffawing and martha griffiths follows smith up on behalf of the amendment and she said, if there was any need to prove that we need this amendment, the laughing and the guffaws prior to me getting up here, they proved it and the chamber fell eye lent and that amendment and title vii was included in the civil rights act, so again, another key legislative action by martha griffiths. >> this is a campaign poster for shirley chisholm, the first african-american woman in congress. i love this, because it says, unbought and unbossed, but it's not for her congressional campaign, it is actually for something else entirely. >> yeah, it is actually for presidential campaign that she waged in 1972. she went to the democratic convention and actually rounded up about 10% of the votes. she is the first african-american woman to run
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for president and did it on a shoestring budget and had a very admirable showing but she had a reputation, a national reputation, well before 1972. she is like the to congress in 1968 from a district that encompasses much of brooklyn and she becomes very prominent in that campaign. her opponent in the general election, on the liberal republican ticket was james farmer, one of the great civil rights leaders and there's this back and forth between these two and farmer really runs on the idea that, you know, brooklyn needs a man in congress and shirley chisholm, boy, she fires back and her campaign theme is like the one expressed on this poster, unbought and unbossed, i'm fighting shirley chisholm, i'm here to be your congresswoman.
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she embraces this advocacy role, elected, becomes the first african-american woman in congress in 1969. and she serves a career in a lot of ways that is symbolic. she is a first. she helps establish the congressional black caucus in 1971. and then she also gapes a very prominent committee assignment. she is the first african-american woman to serve on the house rules committee, which is the committee that pulses legislation onto the floor. so, she had her hands on a lot of important developments in the house but she also had a national reputation and she was someone who was very outspoken, which is -- which represents really a lot of the women who were coming into congress at this point. her colleague from new york city was bella abzug, served for a couple terms in the house in the 1970s and later go on and try to be elected mayor of new york
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unsuccessfully, but these were two women who spoke their mind, whether committee assignments they didn't agree with. shirley chisholm was assigned to the agriculture committee and went to the leadership and told by the speaker of the house, be a good soldier, she went out on to the house floor and started saying things like i got a lot more veterans in my district than i do trees. she is assigned to the veterans affairs committee. so these were not people who were gonna silt and be quiet, either in terms of the expectation for freshmen generally or for women members. so they really kind of challenged the system and this really reflects a lot of what's going on in wider society with the women's rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s that women are challenging these roles that have been carved out for them
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and really trying to participate in a much more important and fuller way in u.s. society and shirley chisholm certainly represents that. >> one of the things that we did in the last ten years was commission portraits of some of the pioneers in the house and that certainly included shirley chisholm, the portrait we did of shirley chisholm deliberately depicts a lot of what matt was talking about her, that she had a national agenda, took on an advocacy role, so this portrait of her is in a few bays a traditional congressional portrait. it highlights the figure, the subject, who is there, but the capitol is present, too, so you know where she is, but it very much makes the capitol smaller than her stature nationally. she is very immediately was taking on those roles and also, it's a very assertive portrait.
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she is really looking at the viewer and she is, in fact, gesturing practically to the viewer and in order to do that, artists who we felt could tell a story very quickly and that included children's book illustrators and this particular portrait was done by someone who was internationally award winning children's book illustrator. and interestingly, it's become one of the portraits that is the most beloved by children who visit the capitol. they look at it and can immediately see what's going on. it's a piece of history that's a great thing for kids to hear and for tour guides to be telling when they bring kids around to see this. one of the things that's happening with chisholm, too she is a great example from this era
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forward, lot of women who are elected to congress increasingly have prior legislative experience. she served in the new york legislateture and she had that background. lot of the women coming in with her have that experience already. and that makes a tremendous difference when you get into the latter decades of the '80s, '90s because you have women who are experienced running campaigns and their stronger candidates. that's part of the reason why we see the growth of women in congress particularly in the 1990 when we go from what had never been more than really 20 women at any one time to 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 women serving in any given congress.
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>> these are just a few of the hundreds of campaign buttons that we have in the house collection, but i love seeing them all together. matt and i say we try to put a human face on the house. to give people individual stories to latch on to and understand, each of these women, janet ranken, lindy boggs, mink, newsome have fascinating stories. i have to admit, one of the things love is seeing them all together and seeing this great richness in variety of women putting themselves forward to serve their country and congress. i am deeply impressed. one of my favorite is probably lindy boggs. >> lindy boggs comes into congress in 1973 in a special election. it's interesting because this is the time period when we see more and more women who have
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political careers in their own right who are elected to the house, but she follows that old widows mandate route. her husband hale had represented new orleans district for almost three decades. he had risen to become majority leader in the house and many people expected him to become speaker of the house. and in october of 1972 during a campaign trip to alaska, his aircraft disappeared and he was presumed dead. the seat was later vacated and lindy boggs was prevailed on to run for the seat. well, she had for years been her husband's eyes and ears in the district. she ran his campaigns back home particularly as he moved up the leadership ladder in the house. and she knew his office and his agenda intimately and she came
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into congress and it was unlike the shirley chisholm, she pushed women's rights along quietly. there's a great story she has of getting an assignment to the banking and currency committee and there was a bill before the banking and currency committee that would provide equal access to credit. and when the bill was being marked up in committee, the draft came around and she looked at it. and it said -- equal access to credit without racial, age, veteran status discrimination but it said nothing about sex or marital status. and she had just become a widow and had to have all of the finances transferred over to her, so this was fresh in her mind. and so she quietly took a pencil and inserted the phrase, sex or
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marital status, got up, walked to the copier, made a photo copy for every on the day yas, handed it out and said, knowing everyone on the committee as i do, i know that this was just an oversight and i would assume that my addition here will be wholeheartedly greeted. and with that, the committee voted unanimously for the change in the amendment. that's how lindy boggs worked. she was a real institutionalist and someone who cared very much about the history of the house and loved to tell visitors about it and wanted folks to know about the richness and the history of this place. >> we are indeed a nation that is a majority of women. we also are a nation where the majority of women who are heads of households with children under 6 years of age are in
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poverty. we also -- >> as women started gaining power and the second wave of feminism got going in the 1970s, something happened that was really kind of wonderful and it's called super sisters. and it happened in 1978 when a little girl in new york who collected baseball cards and was pretty young. i think she was 8 or 10 years old came to her mom who was a schoolteacher and said how come i have no baseball cards with girls on them and her mom quite rightly said, i don't know, that's crazy. she developed a series of 70 some cards of important women, mostly present but some past, and got a grant from new york state to produce them. and they became trading cards and they were actually very popular, 15,000 sets of the '70s m cards were sold and of those quite a few are women in congress. these are just a few. we actually have -- we don't have a full set of super
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sisters. we have a full set of all the women in congress represented in the super sisters and the front seven image of them and the backs. this is shirley chisholm's have stats, no rbis or anything like that, but birth, home and little bits about each person. and they're wonderful because some of them have quotations from these women and what their accomplishments are and how they got there and they became wonderful pieces of the 1970s civic engagement. and i love looking at them. not just for that but also because some of them have some really fantastic hair. >> and those cards really coincide with a trend really that begins in the late 1970s. women are organizing and empowering themselves to move
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further up the congressional leadership ladder. more women are being elected to congress. in 1977, both republican and democratic women come together and found the congressional women's caucus, which has a very successful legend slative agenda pushing women's ideas. in the 1980s, you begin to see the development of political action committees that fund women candidates. that had been one of the things that held women candidates back quite a bit was money for expensive campaigns. and then in the 1990s we begin to see greater numbers of women elected. the 1992 campaign, the so-called year of the woman, sends almost two dozen new women into the house. >> this is only a beginning. these women know how many
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talented, experienced able and prepared women there are in their states and in other states. it is our job together to make sure that they think about running, that we get them to accept the challenge of running and then that we support them through that race to victory because this is what you can get if you work at it. thanks. [ applause [ applause ]. >> and every election after that, every cycle the number begins to tick up slowly. as there's more women elected to the house, they get a very diverse range of committee assignments and move up into leadership positions. and right down to the modern era where we have cathy mcmorris rodgers who is the chair of the republican conference and nancy pelosi who was the former speaker and is still the democratic leader, so the transition that women have made in that last time period has
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been one of great expansion. and when you look at it, you go back to 1917 with janet ranken. it's been this span of 298 women, almost 300 women up to this point. so it's a long story but it's a good one. you can see this and all other american arti facts programs at our website. you've been watching c-span's american history tv. we want to hear from you. follow us on twitter
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@cspanhistory. connect with us on facebook at history. and check out our upcoming programs at our website, and we would like to tell you about some of our other american history tv programs. join us every sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern for reel america, featuring archival films by government, industry and educational institutions. join us as these films take you on a journey through 20th century. again, that's reel america, every sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span3. here is a look at some of the programs you'll find christmas day on the c-span networks. holiday festivities start at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span with the lighting of the national christmas tree, followed by the white house christmas decorations with first lady michelle obama and the
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lighting of the capitol christmas tree. just after 12:30 p.m., celebrity activists talk about their causes. then at 8:00 p.m., supreme court justice samuel alito and jeb bush on the bill of rights and the founding fathers. on c-span2 at 10:00 a.m., steve pinker. and at 12:30, jill lapore searches the woman wonder. and on american history tv on c-span3 at 8:00 a.m. eastern, the fall of the berlin wall with c-span footage of president george bush and bob dole with speeches from presidents john kennedy and ronald reagan. at 12:00 p.m., fashion experts on first lady's fashion choices and how they represented the styles of the times in which they lived. and at 10:00 a.m., tom brokaw on his more than 50 years of reporting on world events. that's this christmas day


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