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This Month in History: July

July 1, 1969 – Wilma Scott Heide is appointed to a three-year term as a Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

July 9, 1969 – Major Joseph Barr signed into law the amendment to the Pittsburgh anti-discrimination ordinance defining sex as a protected category. Wilma Scott Heide and members of the Pittsburgh NOW chapter initiated and lobbied for the amendment.

July 9, 1969 – Governor Shapp signed into law the amendment to the Pennsylvania anti-discrimination law defining sex as a protected category. Wilma Scott Heide had initiated and lobbied for the amendment.

July 9, 1978 – NOW organized a March on Washington to support the extension of the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. More than 100,000 marched down Constitution Avenue to the D.C Capitol steps, eclipsing the entire Capitol Mall in a sea of purple, gold and white (the old suffragist colors). NOW President Eleanor Smeal was the keynote speaker.

July 23, 1970 – In the case the Pittsburgh Press v. the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations and the National Organization for Women, Judge Harry Kramer, Court of Common Pleas, upheld the Commission on Human Relations’ ruling that the newspaper’s policy of publishing want ads separately for women and men violated the Pittsburgh Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.


July 6, 1912 (2005):  Molly Yard was an assistant to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and later a social activist and feminist. She served as President of NOW from 1987-1991.

July 23, 1927 (2008): Jean Witter was active in Pittsburgh NOW chapters. She was the national coordinator for the ERA campaign in the 1970s, earning a law degree to better articulate the arguments.

July 29, 1942 (1990): Anne Pride was a founding member and president of KNOW, Inc., the first feminist press in the nation, as well as the editor and publisher of Motheroot Publications, a newspaper reflecting woman’s culture.

July 30, 1939: Eleanor Smeal founded the South Hills (Pittsburgh) and Pennsylvania chapters of NOW. She is most well know as the NOW President (1977-1982 and 1985-1987) who led the campaign for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and the first national abortion rights march which drew over 100,000 activists to Washington, D.C. Since 1979, she has been CEO of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

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