Even if Gail Laughlin wasn’t on our family tree, she would be a hero to the Cúpla Sisters. A list of her accomplishments on the behalf of people, animals and the environment would fill a large volume. The list includes tireless efforts in support of Women’s Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment. Her opinion regarding the wording and content of the Equal Right Amendment differed from many feminist supporters. She felt that cherry-picking and creating “separate but equal” components to the amendment would weaken its effectiveness. Equal rights should mean inclusive equal rights, she felt, and eventually her viewpoint was accepted by the other ERA supporters of her time.


Shortly before becoming one of the first women members of the Maine legislature, Gail lead a 200 car motorcade with an envoy of 700 women, on a long and winding road trip to garner support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Such an undertaking must have been eventful on the dirt roads of Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota in July of 1927. The White House was undergoing renovations that summer which drove President Calvin Coolidge and his family to find quiet in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The ERA Envoys hoped a conversation with Mr. Coolidge would convince him to support passage of the amendment in the next Congressional session.


poster from Women's March held in Dubuque, Iowa

poster from Women’s March held in Dubuque, Iowa

The Women’s March on January 21 demonstrated that the desire for inclusiveness is alive and well, and for one day at least, it found strong voices around the world. It was the modern embodiment of Gail Laughlin’s voice and efforts which begun one hundred years ago. As the January 6, 1927, Daily Kennebec Journal said of her, she “gave one the impression of repressed power awaiting an outlet” and “she has a most intelligent grasp of public affairs.”


photo citation:(1927) Equal Rights Envoys of the National Woman’s Party who motored to Rapid City where the delegation, consisting principally of western women, saw President Coolidge and asked his aid for the Equal Rights Amendment now pending in Congress. The national delegates are here bidding farewell to Rapid City women who organized a branch in support of the Equal Rights program. [July] [Image] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000332/.