Last week, Nixon Foundation consultant and Pat Nixon Centennial Exhibit curator, Bob Bostock, participated in a program at The Dole Institute of Politics titled The First Ladies, the ERA and Beyond. The program focused on the history of growing support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a Constitutional amendment to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of sex, while taking an expanded look at the lives and legacies of First Ladies Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and Rosalynn Carter.
The panelists noted how First Lady Pat Nixon has a legacy of achieving many firsts. This includes being the first First Lady to publicly support the ERA. Panelist Diana Carlin, Professor emerita of communication at Saint Louis University, remarked that “Pat paved the way for other First Ladies.” Bob Bostock went on to note that, “Her [Pat’s] life story is amazing,” explaining how her background shaped her and the roles she played as Second and First Lady.
During the presentation, Bostock referred to archival sources he found while researching at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library including a letter that Richard Nixon wrote while running for president in 1960 that expressed his support for the ERA.