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Friday, November 16, 2012

Saluting a Great Michigan Lady


In the two centuries after the founding of the nation, women gradually gained the right to own property, to get an education, and to vote. The latter required 72 years of unmitigated struggle, culminating in the passage of the 19th Amendment. Some of the arguments that were used against suffrage have a strangely familiar ring: that women didn’t really want it; that it would break up the family; that woman’s place was in the home . . . Those same arguments are used against the Equal Rights Amendment.  
– Helen Milliken, November 1981.

Helen Milliken, First Lady to Michigan’s longest-serving governor, died this morning at the age of 89.





10 comments:

Dawn said...

She was something, wasn't she? I was a kid when they were in office, but I always thought the two of them were a class act. It wasn't till I was more grown up that I realized how much we owed her for fighting for our rights before it was trendy. We were lucky to have her.

Dawn said...

Interesting. My 'word' to get the last comment to post was almost 'educate'...which would have been an accurate description of Mrs. Milliken.

P. J. Grath said...

"Class act" is a good description, Dawn. Helen Milliken came from Colorado originally, but she and her husband, Bill, our beloved former governor, have made their home in Traverse City, Bill's home town, for most of their lives. A friend was reminiscing yesterday of the time he met Mrs. Milliken and how her keen intelligence was apparent in a 30-second exchange.

dmarks said...

Weird thing was, I heard a radio obit on her the day this happened. It was a long obit, and the section I heard mostly mentioned her husband. I turned off the radio assuming he had died!

Yes, a class act. I wish I had met either one of them.

dmarks said...

And don't forget about her being asked to run on Howard Wolpe's ticket.

P. J. Grath said...

I highly recommend the book WILLIAM G. MILLIKEN: MICHIGAN’S PASSIONATE MODERATE, by David Dempsey. I picked it up yesterday and began by looking up all references to Helen Milliken in the index, then reading those sections, but that only made me more interested in our former governor’s life and political career, and I ended up reading practically the whole book. Howard Wolpe, you may recall (I think you wrote about him on your blog once, dmarks), was our representative from Kalamazoo, back when I lived in Kalamazoo. A Democrat who was elected and re-elected in a pretty conservative district, he, like the Millikens, knew how to compromise and get things done without selling out. Good people.

Gerry said...

I'm running on empty this weekend. I believe I'll just add a heartfelt Amen.

P. J. Grath said...

Running on empty? Did you notice how short this post is, Gerry? One quotation and a couple of links are doing most of the work.

Kathy said...

I remember hearing about Helen Milliken as a child. When we went to Traverse City my parents would always mention the governor and his wife.

P. J. Grath said...

I've run into the former governor a couple of times in Traverse City, once at a grocery store, another at an office supplies store. He is always friendly and happy to converse. It makes me smile to think of them.