Oh What a Night! Conversations about Women, the 1970s, and Politics [Sound Recording 03]

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Reference code

SR2534_T02S1

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Title

Oh What a Night! Conversations about Women, the 1970s, and Politics [Sound Recording 03]

Date(s)

  • 2004-03-18 (Creation)

Extent

Audiocassette; 00:23:14

Name of creator

(1923-2011)

Biographical history

Betty Lucille Roberts, nee Cantrell, was born in Kansas in 1923. She grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, where her family struggled greatly throughout the Depression. In 1942, she married Bill Rice, a drill instructor in the U.S. Army Air Forces, and after the end of World War II, they settled in Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a banker. Roberts continued her education while raising a family, and she graduated from Portland State College in 1958. Rice objected to her acceptance of a high school teaching position, and they divorced soon after. She soon got involved in local politics and was elected to the school board in the Lynch Elementary School District in East Portland, Oregon. In 1960, she married Oregon politician Frank L. Roberts. In 1961, she earned a Master of Science in political science from the University of Oregon, then took night classes at Northwestern College of Law in Portland. She graduated in 1965 and passed the bar in 1966. She was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat while still in law school. She represented Multnomah County in the Oregon House from 1965 to 1968. She and Frank L. Roberts divorced in 1966, and she married Oregon Representative Keith Skelton in 1968, the same year she won a seat in the Oregon Senate, where she served from 1969 to 1977. She ran unsuccessfully for Oregon governor in 1974, and was appointed by Governor Bob Straub to the Oregon Court of Appeals in 1977. She was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court in 1982 by Governor Vic Atiyeh, and she retired in 1986. After retiring, she focused her efforts on women's rights. She helped found Oregon Women Lawyers in 1989, and she presided over the state's first legal same-sex marriage ceremony in 2004. She died in 2011.

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Scope and content

Tape 2, Side 1. This collection consists of an audio recording and transcript of a panel discussion titled "Oh What a Night! Conversations about Women, the 1970s, and Politics." The discussion was moderated by Melody Rose at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, on March 18, 2004. The four participants were Gretchen Kafoury, Vera Katz, Norma Paulus, and Betty Roberts. Introductory remarks were made by John Pierce. In the panel discussion, Rose begins by describing the topics that the panel will cover, giving instructions for audience to ask their questions, and introducing the four speakers. Kafoury, Katz, Paulus and Roberts discuss why they entered politics, talk about meeting each other as fellow legislators during the 1973 legislative session, and describe the political climate for women's rights in Oregon and the United States at that time. They talk about their support for the Equal Rights Amendment. They describe legislation they worked on regarding women's rights, reproductive rights, and rights for LGBTQ people. They discuss their strategies for getting their legislation passed and the formation of the Women's Caucus. They discuss work still undone that they feel future women legislators should focus on, and warn that their own accomplishments will need to be safeguarded by future generations. They close the panel with advice for women aspiring to enter politics. Rose then asks Kafoury, Katz, Paulus, and Roberts selected questions from the audience. They answer questions about the definition of feminism, about the role Black women politicians played in passing women's rights legislation, about Oregon's leadership on numerous progressive issues, and about the personal costs they paid for their legislative work. They also answer questions about the role Oregon Governor Tom McCall played, as well as women in the U.S. Congress; about the failure of the national Equal Rights Amendment; and about U.S. health care policy. The final question answered is about the books that Kafoury, Katz, Paulus, and Roberts are currently reading.

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Copyright for this recording is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

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  • English

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Digital object metadata

Filename

ff3a1ad7-d951-4642-90ac-327dbe5794c7-SR2534_T02S1.mp3

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Audio

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audio/mpeg

Filesize

21.3 MiB

Uploaded

September 22, 2021 11:37 AM

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