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How do you do ladies and gentlemen this is Sidney Rogers speaking. I have with me in the studio a guest Nikki bridges Mrs. Harry Bridges who is the Bay Area Chairman of the Jeanette Rankin brigade. This means she is the sparkplug or one of the sparkplugs of this woman power machine. I've been reading something about woman power in regards to the Jeanette Rankin brigade Nikki bridges. And let's start right in by acting as if nobody's ever heard of this before what is the Jeannette Rankin brigade. Well let's call Aisha no women and organizations floor and to go to Washington on January the 15th to present our petition for a redress of grievances against Congress for the continuation of the Vietnam War. It's a two pronged attack really and that the second section or the second half of it will take place in the afternoon when the women form an ongoing
organization which will then no longer bear the name of Jeannette Rankin brigade it will be called something else. Well let's start right in with who is Jeanette rank. Well she was our first woman congress woman. Well Congressman. First elected to serve in the house in 1917 before women were given the butt of the vote. And that happened because Montana from where she was elected gave the women the vote before national suffrage went into effect and then she served that term from 1917 to 1919 and then in 1940 she was elected one term. So she's unique in that she's voted against the entry of the United States into World War Mon in World War Two and she's violently opposed to all subsequent wars which means a Korean War.
And now this one that concerns us all so much is she actually the leader of this brigade as it were or is she is more a symbolic figure. She's a titular head. That sounds very fancy doesn't it. She made a remark which was carried in the press which sparked the whole flick and the women who heard it and were modelled went looking for her and found her visiting her sister in Carmel and I asked her to be the chairman to greet the remark was that that was back in May of last year 10000 young men had lost their lives in Vietnam and maybe 10000 women if they were totally dedicated to the task could end the war if they would even be willing to go to jail. And she got an enormous response. So Mrs. Vivian
Helen and who is our executive secretary and two other women from the county went to see her and they were delighted to find Miss rank and sprightly witty sharp full of ideas and anxious to lead the delegation to Washington. And that's initially help was formed. It started in California then but that doesn't imply that the brigade is primarily a California operation. Still it's gotten. Lots and lots of support from the Atlantic seaboard. New York is now the national headquarters with the cooperation from all the major urban areas. And then this brigade asked where the various women constituting this woman power machine. And I only bring this up because it is an original on my part after all that I see in the literature of the Jeannette Rankin
brigade. They speak of the fact that American women represent 51 percent of the voting population and have the power I'm reading to achieve peace and a decent life for every American. This is woman power exclamation point demonstrated to the Congress of the United States. Another exclamation point. And so the women will be converging on Washington from various parts of the country. On January 15th when Congress reconvenes. That's right in New York. They've run out of trained space and since Cyrus Eaton is one or rather his wife is one of the sponsors. They have asked him to put on additional trains to to take the women. So he is the Baltimore and Ohio is a torch I don't know. I'm going to Jason. It's nice to know people who have a little drug Yaz you dummy. You mention a few names do you have any other names you'd like to mention in this regard. Oh well let me mention the local sponsors there's one
besides myself. There's Mrs. Burton wife of assemblyman John Burton K. Cole who's a wife of Ryder Lester call Melvina Reynolds who is certainly very well-known to KPFA listeners and he and Mrs. Astor pike. Leona Beyer am d mayor scientist. I mean Packard artist authors Kay Boyle and Jessica Mitford. Well Kay Boyle is certainly well known as is war resist or yes it is about this is a list of sponsors even the partial list of sponsors is quite a who's who throughout the United States of quite active women. Now let's talk a little bit about talk about the sponsors. They're from all walks of life. They're housewives
and actresses organization people church women all the churches except possibly the Buddhists are represented. And I think if we could find time to ask them they'd come to their pretty well-represented parts of Vietnam and any case. I know but I mean to to come to Washington dressed in black to present our petition is what I need. What is this idea of dressed in black to begin with and to is this expected to be effective. Well it's a dramatic thing when when you have as many as 10 people all dressed in back black in one middle group marching down the street quiet. Respectful and looking very solemn so that if you have 10000 going from Union Station to the steps of the Capitol with Mr. Franken. At the forefront in her wheelchair I
think it will be very effective. You can't help but stop and wonder well what have they got in mind. Because they're going to look very purposeful and they're going to be dressed in black and we're going to march to the steps and I assume they're going to start spreading around and getting to their congressmen senators and representing all that will happen the following day the first day will be the organization of the women. They're going to go in buses to a centrally located auditorium and form the ongoing organization that I spoke of. You might as well say something more about your ongoing organization. Well besides demanding that Congress resolve to end the war in Vietnam as its first order of business it has three other points such as Congress use its power to heal a sick society at home. Now that covers a multitude of. The usual. And that
Congress use its power to make reparation for the ravaged land we leave behind in Vietnam. Now that I think is a new one I don't think anyone's ever brought up the fact that we will be leaving behind a ravaged land and that it's something to one think about and do something. Toward. The organization will say to the congressman whom they will lobby on the second day that they will be watching and saying that they vote right and if they don't we will elect women to run against them. We will work actively to support their opponent. This being 1968. That should show the fear women into the congressman. Now now we're talking about. Me waiting for a few minutes defied where as you say where the teeth are in this machine it was
a mixed metaphor but yes the idea that they're going there to speak about the two major points which I think should be re-emphasized the Mrs. bridges that the first order of business of Congress in as much as Congress has not declared war but it might at least have an opportunity to resolve to end the war in Vietnam and put some pressure on and then the second most important point about healing a sick society at home and Lord knows that they that as long as the war in Vietnam is operative at 30 billion dollars a year healing a sick society at home cannot only not be done but the society becomes all the more sick. And finally this idea of reparations by the way this is new. At the same time no matter what happens in Viet Nam. We're going to have to heal that society too. And the worse it gets the more difficult it becomes to heal both societies in fact I doubt that they can both be done and then you talk about political power the opportunity to tell Congress that you are a political action machine and you're going to
speak therefore from the rank of brigade you're going to develop an ongoing permanent society with this in mind or group with this in mind. Yes. The one of the things that we're going to do on the first day and of course it takes preparation before hand was to have our petition read into the minutes Congressional Record with the names of as many congressmen as possible appended to it. I want to talk a little about the local scene. I wish you would. I I understand a lot of people can't go to Washington but there is an opportunity on January 15th to do something in San Francisco or Los Angeles is that maybe I'm in yes or Boston Philadelphia New York Chicago. There's been a wonderful wonderful response and from people who have not yet being involved in any kind of peace
organization or war resistance. They are here in San Francisco are going to congregate on the Polk Street steps of the city hall and present to Mayor Alioto. Ah copy of the petition so that he'll be aware of how his constituents feel will ask him to memorialize Congress. About this matter and from there we will go to the. Congressman's offices in the federal building and place calls to them in Washington to let them know that our colleagues will on the following day be lobbying them. And we'd like them to see them. Good now let's be more specific. Yes this is January 15th Monday at what time it's the Polk Street entrance to the city hall at noon at noon generate a wire
black wear black and women are invited. Women Only. Well men spectators make their rounds. You know what if they wish to wear black. That's all right with us to wear. It's strictly women you're inviting women of all ages to wear black. January 15 at the steps of the city hall most big steps at noon and to wear black and wear a petition will be presented and then you go on to the federal building on Golden Gate Avenue and you make calls to Congressman to say that the next day Tuesday than the 16th they will be lobbied as lobbied by women in Washington least two specific issues above all. That's good. Yes that's true. Now there are several other. Things in connection with the brigade that. I'd like to say.
Well working women get in touch with you for that. Right I want to give the address 150 Golden Gate Avenue the Jeannette Rankin Brigade one fifty golden gate Avenue Jeannette Rankin Brigade and the telephone number of you have in the House are 7 4 4 4 5 6 4 7 4 4 4 5 6. Let me one final point. You know a lot of people have felt that public action is not really effective and people do get worried about how do you how does one save not being quote unquote respectable possibility of things happening that are uncomfortable and so forth. This is not your intent to make people uncomfortable I think it is certain people when all the time you get are me hung up or to suppress the participants now. Maybe a cold in Washington will do that without any other extraneous help. But essentially this is very very respectable move with
such support that they couldn't be. It just couldn't be any more peaceful barring outside influences as I say. The women have decided not to do anything that was civilly disobedient simply because of the broadness of the support. The people who are going are well-versed to going to jail. They feel that they can perhaps do more outside. And they want to be a lady. Now that may change if. The next time we go one when we get turned down from the congressman or if such as three months a lapses and nothing happened. But at the moment
the idea is very peaceable assembly. You are going to be ladies but you sure expect that war to be over pretty quick or you may not be able to be ladies much longer. We wish it were as though if we could go out of business on the 16th we would be so happy. Of course Mrs. Bridge is one more minute again appealed to women in the area to join you know one of the things I completely slipped my mind was. It's still possible to go to Washington if you want. The main flight that is the flight that's carrying most of the women is the United flight. Fifty six leave San Francisco at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and arrives at Dulles at 6 20 on Sunday. Now we have a block of rooms reserved and we've got arrangements for hospitality in private homes if that's
what they wish. But who are all women who wish to go can call the office and arrangements can be made. That telephone number again 4 7 4 4 4 5 6. Thank you very much Mrs. Harry Bridges Mickey bridges. I think you've been doing a terrific job here in a very short space of time. There's a great deal of interest and perhaps you and your group with your woman power will be able to do something an awful lot of us simply haven't been able to do so far but the the purpose both to end the war in Vietnam to heal a sick society at home is as noble a purpose as one can imagine. Thanks very much. God when it is it will keep us busy for years. It indeed will. Thank you very much. Thank you Ms. This is Sydney Rogers saying thanks.
Commentary by Sidney Roger
Nikki Bridges interviewed by Sidney Roger
Producing Organization
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
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In this recording, Sidney Roger interviews Nikki Bridges, the Bay Area chairwoman of the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. She speaks about the creation of the brigade and its plans to march in Washington D.C. on January 15, 1968 to protest the continuation of the Vietnam War. Led by Jeannette Rankin, a noted pacifist and the first woman elected to Congress, the group hoped to gather 10,000 women to present their grievances to Congress, bring an end to the Vietnam War, and heal American society. Ultimately, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade did march on January 15, 1968 in D.C., despite police preventing the brigade from entering the grounds of the Capitol. Five thousand women, wearing black to representing the deaths of the war, marched with eighty-nine year old Rankin. The march, however, also faced its own protest. Known for its traditional images of women as grieving mothers and wives, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade sparked a counter protest during its march by the Radical Women's Groupdressed in miniskirts.
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Social Issues
War and Conflict
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
Rankin, Jeannette, 1880-1973; Women's rights--United States--History; Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
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Interviewee: Bridges, Nikki
Interviewer: Roger, Sidney
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 10422_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB1248_Nikki_Bridges (Filename)
Format: audio/vnd.wave
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:17:44
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Chicago: “Commentary by Sidney Roger; Nikki Bridges interviewed by Sidney Roger,” 1968-01-09, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “Commentary by Sidney Roger; Nikki Bridges interviewed by Sidney Roger.” 1968-01-09. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Commentary by Sidney Roger; Nikki Bridges interviewed by Sidney Roger. Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from