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Visual Evidence

Photo 3: Lobbying Congress for the Equal Rights Amendment, ca. 1923.

[Photo 3] National Woman's Party publicity photo, from Library of Congress, with link to larger version of image.
(Library of Congress)

This publicity photo shows a group of National Woman's Party members in front of the Capitol Building. According to the caption from the Library of Congress, these “young members of the National Woman's Party … are about to invade the offices of the senators and congressmen from their states, to ask them to vote for Equal Rights. In the foreground is Miss Anita Pollitzer, secretary of the National Woman's Party, instructing the committee on the method of approach.” 1

Questions for Photo 3

1) During the suffrage campaign lobbying Congress took a back seat to pressuring the President. When the ERA was introduced in 1923, Congress became the focus of the National Woman's Party. Why do you think this might have been the case? What changed between 1919 and 1923?

2) This photo was probably taken as part of the National Woman's Party publicity campaign accompanying the introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment for the first time in 1923. What role do you think a photo like this would have in the campaign? Who do you think was the intended audience?

3) How are these women dressed? The National Woman's Party has been criticized for being almost entirely made up of prosperous, educated, middle class women who mostly ignored the needs and problems of working women and African Americans. Based on this photo, do you think these might be valid criticisms? Why or why not?

Click for a larger version of Photo 3.

1 A group of young members of the National Woman's Party before the Capitol... 1923. Records of the National Woman's Party, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Accessed June 12, 2013 online.

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