Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment in the Midst of COVID-19 – Part 2

This is Part 2 of a two-part article. Part 1 can be accessed here.

On November 17, 2020 the University Libraries and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) conducted their yearly co-sponsored panel presentation. 2020’s presentation focused on the Womens’ Movement and was entitled: “The Equal Rights Amendment”. Because of closures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020’s event was held via Zoom video conferencing. As usual, the Zoom event was open to OLLI members and others in George Mason University community.

Mike Emery, tech person at OLLI prepares participants for the Zoom presentation. Photo by the author.

A panel comprised of two members of Mason’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) focused on the years 1970-1982, pivotal years in the Women’s Rights Movement.  Bonnie Becker, a former administrator in Fairfax County Public Schools and county and state women’s organizations, and Jackie Gilbert a former educator and executive. They shared their individual, first-hand experiences in the Women’s Movement, lobbying and marching for the Equal Rights Amendment in the Virginia and DC area. The panel was moderated by Dr. Laura Jane Moore, a Mason faculty member in the Department of History & Art History. The event was recorded and added to the Special Collection Research Center’s (SCRC) Oral History Program collection.

Dr. Laura Jane Moore, professor in Mason’s History and Art History Department, leads the panel discussion. Photo by the author.

Panelist Jackie Gilbert comments on photographs from her personal collection pertaining to a march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Photo by the author.


Panelist Bonnie Becker comments on a flyer pertaining to a 1977 Women’s Rights meeting in Richmond, Va. Photo by the author.

Each of the presenters recounted their experiences during the period in which the ERA was up for ratification.  Not only did they discuss their activities pertaining to the ERA, the talked about other sobering, inspirational and humorous experiences that they had as women back in the 1970s and 1980s.  Along with the 3 presenters, about 40 guests participated in the the panel discussion.

Moderator Dr. Laura Jane Moore comments on a photograph of Rep. Shirley Chisholm at an event at George Mason University in 1985. This photograph is from the George Mason University photograph collection, #R0120, Box 29, Folder 35.

Follow SCRC on Social Media and look out for future posts on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions.