Marching for the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida

Florida Memory, http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/2713

Florida Memory, http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/2713

In 1972, the US congress passed an Equal Rights Amendment that was sent to the states for ratification. It never won the requisite number of state endorsements for inclusion in the constitution. In Florida, the struggle for state approval went on for over a decade. This undated photograph from Florida Memory could come from just about anytime during the 1970s.

There’s a broad range of ages in this photo, from young children to older women. Just about every kind of clothing is represented as well. I think the long maxi skirts on the right are an odd choice for marching.

The group includes two African American women. In the front row second from left behind the banner is Gwen Cherry, the first African American woman in the Florida legislature. About fifty here, she wears white pants. In the back you can see a young African American woman, but all that is visible is her white head covering.

To the left of Cherry is a sixty- to seventy-year old woman with big sunglasses and big hair.  Is she wearing jeans with wide turned up cuffs? If so, this would be an early sighting of this classic American style on an older woman outside of a work or leisure environment. But if they aren’t jeans, she is part of a general trend toward wearing pants instead of dresses in the 1970s.

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2 Responses to Marching for the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida

  1. Jen O says:

    The older woman’s pants do look like jeans, and the hem is turned up, but that really wasn’t in style at the time. My guess is that she wore them full length with thick soled shoes, but put on flat walking shoes for this march and had to turn up her pants to make them short enough to walk in. This is something I remember doing and seeing others do when they kicked off those high shoes with longer pant length.

  2. I think the woman near the left is wearing jeans with the hems turned up. It seems like an odd way for a woman of that age to dress, especially the cuffing. Maybe she was borrowing the trick moms of the 1930s through 1950s used with their little boys jeans. I have photos of my husband taken in 1955 when he was six with his jeans done the very same way so he could “grow into them.”

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