After a six-week voting process, Tabbie Nance was declared the League of Women Voters of Carteret County’s Woman of the Year for 2019.
The announcement was made Thursday during a luncheon at the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores to celebrate Women’s Equality Day.
The County Board of Education and Carteret County Public Schools nominated Ms. Nance for the award, and she accepted.
“It’s my hope that this nomination will bring greater recognition to our county school system and will also bring awareness to the foundation,” she said. “On behalf of the school system and the foundation, I thank you and accept this award on their behalf. I appreciate all you do, and I am humbled and appreciative.”
She also mentioned the other five nominees, Tonya Fluellen, Renee Hawthorn, Susan McNamara, Laura Palmer-Moloney and Susan Wilder, and said she learned from the examples of community leadership they provide.
League of Women Voters of Carteret County President Carol Geer said the Woman of the Year event was getting bigger and bigger each year.
She then provided information on the passing of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“This is a truly exciting time for the league,” she said. “This year we are celebrating 100 years of passing the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. It was passed in 1919 and will be ratified in 2020. That’s why we come together and celebrate these exceptional women in our community.
“It took almost 100 years for women to win the right to vote…our theme and slogan for the coming year will be creating a more perfect democracy and we believe in the power of women to make this happen,” she continued.
The guest speaker for the day was Dr. Lin Logan, who spoke on “The History of the ERA.”
Dr. Logan spoke of the two organizations that were the powerhouse behind getting the 19th Amendment passed, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, and the Women’s Party, led by Alice Paul.
“The organizations were instrumental in leading toward what we are facing now: the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment,” Dr. Logan said.
The Suffrage Movement became the LWV. Maud Wood Park became the first president of the league.
The LWV quickly jumped to action and started tackling women’s issues in the United States.
After the passing of the 19th Amendment, the Women’s Party worked on registering the Equal Rights Amendment before U.S. Congress in 1923.
It was rewritten in 1940 and stated, “equality law states that rights should not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state in account of sex.”
“The League of Women Voters thought that was awful,” Dr. Logan said. “The league would not support the ERA no matter what.”
According to Dr. Lin, the league did not want to support the Equal Rights Amendment, as would endanger newly won labor reforms protecting women and children. After years of feuding, the league supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment passed Congress. It was to be sent out to the states to be ratified, but there was a seven-year time limit to complete the process.
Hawaii was the first state to ratify the amendment and Indiana was the third, in 1977.
However, according to Dr. Logan, the deadline was approaching and the amendment was sitting dead in the water, but the deadline was extended until 1982. Even with the extension, the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified in all of the states.
When the 27th Amendment appeared in the Constitution, legal questions were asked.
The 27th Amendment was passed by Congress in 1789. It wasn’t ratified until 1992.
Those pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment questioned whether it was unconstitutional to put a time limit on amendments and it was brought back before the states to be ratified.
At the time, only three more states needed to ratify the amendment. Nevada passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 2017. Illinois passed it in 2018.
North Carolina is the last state to ratify the amendment.
Dr. Lin said 77% of Americans believe the Equal Rights Amendment is already a part of the Constitution.
She closed her speech with a quote from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “If I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution, it would be the Equal Rights Amendment.”
Dr. Logan said she hopes one day the amendment will be included in the Constitution.
“So, I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion. That women and men are persons of equal stature. I would like them to see that this is the basic pinnacle of our society,” she said.
She raised her glass to the LWV in hopes that “the state of North Carolina can do for the 28th Amendment what Tennessee did for the 19th. Get it passed, get it done, push it over and ensure equal rights for all American women.”