Image by mamamusings via FlickrBy Jacqui Ceballos
In 1972, as president of NYC NOW I was planning the Eastern Regional Conference to take place at the old Commodore Hotel near Grand Central. And I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to have a march after the end of the conference? And we could place a statue of Susan B Anthony near Father Duffy's on Times Square!"
So I called artist Suzanne Benton and asked her to make us a papier maché of Susan B for the event, but Suzanne was in midst of planning an exhibition so couldn't do it. However, she was so inspired that she later sculpted a beautiful cast bronze statue of our foremother which she brought along to feminist events for years. Later, the original welded steel Susan B. from which the cast was made was sold to David Miskin, who later moved to Paris and recently donated it to the American Embassy there. Vivien Leone bought the second cast and it is now at the Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester, NY.
Meanwhile Kate Millett, whom I'd also asked to make us a statue, got young architect Lorna McNeur in on it. Lorna not only made a huge one of the great Susan B, but at the demonstration suddenly scuffled up Father Duffy and placed our statue on his head. The policemen who were "protecting" our demonstration watched her, and when she slid down they arrested her. JoAnn Evansgardner, in from Pittsburgh, rushed up. Stretching her 5-foot 2-inch frame, addressed the officers, "What's wrong here? I'm Dr JoAnn Evansgardner. May I help?" But they ordered her into the patrol car to take her to the station with Lorna. By this time JoAnn's husband Gerry rushed up to help her, and he too was carted along.
Among the witnesses to this brouhaha was 90-something Jeannette Rankin and our own Emily Goodman, a deceptively quiet young pioneer feminist lawyer. A few weeks later we met at the courthouse downtown, Emily, JoAnn, Lorna (shaking with fear) and me. I'll always remember tiny Emily standing before the judge seated several feet above her. He listened to the story and talked to her in a gently patronizing manner.
When he set a date. Emily said, "We want the hearing on August 26, your Honor." "OK, August 26," he agreed. "And we'd like a woman judge, your Honor," Emily continued. "What!" came the thundered angry reply, "I'll tell you, young woman, you'd have a better chance with me!" (there was only one woman judge then, and a rather unsympathetic one, as were most successful women in the man's world as it was then).
Quietly and firmly, Emily said, "You've just disqualified yourself, your honor." The judge rose in fury and stalked out and the case was dismissed (in that wonderful era of feminist activism, our mayor John V Lindsey and most New Yorkers were sympathetic to almost anything feminists did).
And, by the way, this was just one of the cases young Emily, now Judge Emily Jane Goodman, handled so beautifully and so successfully for feminists.
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