Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Equal Rights Amendment

About ERA

So, what was the Equal Rights Amendment? 

The Equal Rights Amendment (or ERA) was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. It aimed to ensure equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex. ERA was first introduced to Congress in 1923 and gained further traction with the rise of feminism in the 1960s. Congress set the ratification deadline for March 22, 1979. Only 35 of the necessary 38 states ratified the amendment. In 1978, Congress extended the ratification deadline to June 30, 1982, but no other states ratified. The amendment, and similar bills, have since been raised as well as continued discussions around feminism and the meaning of women's equality. On March 22, 2017, Nevada became the first state to ratify ERA since 1977.

From the Archives

Collection Connections

The Coalition was founded in 1973 and reorganized two years later as a public interest lobby in support of South Carolina’s ratification of the ERA to the federal constitution.  This collection contains information about the 1975 introduction of the ERA to the SC House and the tabling of that bill later the same year, as well as a variety of research files on related topics including abortion, athletics, divorce, education, religion, and Social Security.

Founded in 1951, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina encourages people to become educated about and active in government.  ERA records in this collection include action kits, International Women’s Year materials, brochures and other publications.

The League of Women Voters of Columbia/Richland County was founded in 1951, encourages people to become educated about and active in government.  ERA records in this collection include action kits, International Women’s Year materials, brochures and other publications.

Moxon was involved with a number of grassroots efforts in the state, including ERA South Carolina (ERASC).  Relevant materials in this collection include their minutes, literature created by ERASC and other groups, U.S. Senate hearings on the ERA, evidence of lobbying and legislative efforts, speeches, and clippings.

Bryson served in the SC House and Senate in the 1920s and 1930s. In1938, he was elected to the U.S. House, where he served until his death.  This collection contains one folder of material related to the ERA.  Most of the items are letters from organizations voicing support or opposition as Congress debated the ERA in 1950.

The Democratic Party of South Carolina favored ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  Their records hold some files on the ERA.

Derrick represented SC’s Third District in the U.S. House, 1975-1995.  Derrick’s collection includes a number of topical files with ERA-related documents.

Gressette was elected to the SC House in 1925 and the SC Senate in 1936, where he served until his death.  Gressette exercised a considerable amount of power, in part due to his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  He was influential in ensuring that the state did not ratify the ERA. A substantial amount of information related to the ERA is present in this collection, including opinions on the merits and probable effects of the ERA, newsletters from organizations opposed to ratification, constituent letters, and petitions opposing ratification.

Holland served for several decades as a state representative from Kershaw County, as SC District Highway Commissioner, and finally as a state senator.  His collection has one folder related to the ERA, consisting mostly of mail from constituents opposed to ratification.

Hollings served in the SC House, as Lt. Governor and as Governor, 1949-63, and U.S. Senator, 1966-2005.  Hollings favored ratification of the ERA.  His collection contains several folders of material related to the ERA in the Legislative Files series and can be found by looking in the 1966-1976, 1977-1986, and 1987-1996 box lists.

Johnson served as SC governor twice and as a U.S. Senator from 1945 until his death.  During his tenure, he sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Constituent letters on the ERA are found in two files under 1957 and 1959 in the Legislative series.  A folder under 1960 in the Legislative series consists primarily of statements of support or opposition to the ERA from individuals and organizations of national prominence.

Keyserling was s a former state legislator and long-time supporter of ethical, educational, social, and cultural issues affecting the state of South Carolina.  She favored ratification of the ERA.  Her papers include two folders with mostly correspondence between Keyserling and individuals and organizations concerning the ERA and three folders of ERA-related brochures, articles, and newsletters.

Collection includes brochures and other documents written in favor or opposition to the ERA, most of which were created by organized groups.

Zeigler served in the SC House and SC Senate, as well as being actively involved in public life outside the Legislature.  Zeigler favored ratification of the ERA and letters from constituents and organizations to Sen. Zeigler about the ERA are included in his papers.