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This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of April 1

Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan

March 30, 1872 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

AROUND HOME
       The first cargo of bricks from Haverstraw for the new Post Office, arrived in New York on Saturday.

A GREAT WANT
       While the majority of our real estate owners are busily engaged in covering their property with buildings worth from six to fifteen thousand dollars each, we find but one here and there who has a disposition to provide anything in the shape of a house that can be reached by our mechanics, working men, or people in ordinary circumstances of life. Now to us this seems to be a great oversight; for the most useful man that any community can boast of is he who unites both the producer and consumer in one. This all mechanics do, and we can ill afford to drive them into out-of-the-way districts by the imposition of such rents as must be had upon high-priced property.
       The man who, during the coming Summer, will go to work and erect small two-story cottages containing some four or five rooms each and rent them out at say two hundred dollars a year, will not only pay himself handsomely for the outlay, but we will guarantee that he will never need to stick up a “to let” bill on them so long as he is the owner. This class of houses is sorely in demand, and of late years have been decidedly scarce, therefore, we hope that this hint will be taken by some of our builders, and neat, pleasant cottages furnished for those who are ready and anxious to take them.

March 31, 1922 – 100 YEARS AGO
Nyack Evening Journal

MRS. MAYNARD ON THE BLIND — NYACK WOMAN CHAIRMAN OF THE NINTH DISTRICT WOMEN’S CLUBS INTERVIEWED ON CARING FOR BLIND BABIES
       The International Sunshine Society, which is a branch of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs, takes care of all the blind babies of New York State, as well as of many other states. The state allows $1.50 a day for the care of the baby blind. Mrs. E. H. Maynard of Nyack, who is chairman of this Ninth District of the State Federation, when interviewed on this subject said she believed it was not generally known that this work of caring for the baby blind is one of the many purposes of the State Federation.
       “The Blind Asylums of all states must accept a blind child after it is five years old,” said Mrs. Maynard, “but what becomes of the little helpless creature before it is old enough to be admitted to the State Asylum, is not known. At the Sunshine Society’s home in Summit, and also in Brooklyn, a nurse is provided for each child, and its education begins immediately. It is an injustice to keep a blind baby at home when it is possible to give it proper advantage. Anyone who knows of a blind baby may communicate with me,” said Mrs. Menard. The Sunshine Headquarters are at 96 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
       Parents able to pay may send their children as private pupils. Rhode Island, Maine, Tennessee, North and South Dakota, Arizona and New Jersey pay part tuition.

March 31, 1972 – 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

BETTY REDEFINES LIB OBJECTIVES
       “Bra-burning is not the name of the game,” Betty Friedan told the gathering at Saturday’s luncheon of the Women’s Division, Rockland County Democratic Committee. “It’s more a matter of human liberation.”
       Ms. Friedan, founder of the women’s rights movement and former Rockland resident, spoke to a packed house of 500 people at Ripples of Rockland.
       The strident and animated modern-day suffragette outlined the familiar points of lib—women’s drive for equal opportunity in business, politics and every other phase of human life.
       But then she surprised the audience by announcing she hates the term “women’s lib” because it is a “put-down phrase.” And she denied that the movement is a drive for a “women-first” matriarchal society.
       “We don’t want domination, we want equality,” she said. “Men are not the enemy—that was something the media created. Some of my best friends are men, and they are fellow victims of oppression.”
       Ms. Friedan. who is looking for supporters for her 1974 Senatorial campaign against Sen. Jacob Javits, continued: “Both the masculine and feminine mystiques (stereotypes) lock men and women in mutually tormenting frustrations. But men don’t have to feel threatened by equality. More men are gaining their own liberation these days, wearing their hair longer and saying, ‘Make love, not war.’
       “The real enemy is the pussy cat in ourselves, the lack of confidence that makes today’s woman an extinct dinosaur with ruffles.”
       From 1957 to 1965, Betty Friedan was a Rockland housewife who lived in Grand View, next door to Congressman John Dow. During those eight “lonesome, boring, unfulfilled years” she wrote the best-selling book “The Feminine Mystique” and was also director of the much-acclaimed Community Resources Pool of extra-curricular cultural activities for children in the South Orangetown school district.
       She said those years spent writing her book were “like hiding a secret affliction” to even let anyone know of her then revolutionary ideas for women.
       “If you’ve been a part of society and suddenly you’re stuck in that sexual ghetto with no one to speak to over three feet tall, you’re going to take it out on those children and that man.”
       She continued, “A woman was once defined as a wife, mother, homemaker or mate, but she was never defined in primary human terms. And suddenly, it wasn’t enough to be eating peanut butter sandwiches with the kids or feeling guilty about destroying her husband’s masculinity.
       “We are freaks, and our original sin was that we wanted to be people. Women wanted equal opportunity, to have a voice in decision-making, to organize and help restructure society, not overthrow it.
       She maintained, “It’s not just women’s issues that interest me—but all issues, including education and what is happening to the country. The Women’s Political Caucus says, ‘Give women equal political voice or forget it, we won’t play.’”
       Turning to campaign issues, Mrs. Friedan mentioned her support of liberalized abortion laws, day care centers, maternity leaves for female employees and equal pay for female political volunteers.
       About divorce laws, she urged that “women have more protection, but that laws should not be punitive toward men.
       “No woman can afford to collect alimony, but there should be ‘severance pay’ or ‘survival benefits,’ and women should not automatically get custody of children.”
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This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit www.RocklandHistory.org or call (845) 634-9629.


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