Sheville

Get Free Email Updates!

Get progressive community news & events.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sonia Johnson, Equal Rights Activist in 1936

Sonia Ann Johnson, née Harris, was born a fifth-generation Mormon in Malad, Idaho. She graduated from Utah State University, pursuing her M.A. and Ed.D. from Rutgers University after marrying, and through many moves and pregnancies. She taught English at American and foreign universities, working part-time as a teacher while accompanying her husband on overseas jobs. The family returned to the U.S. in 1976, buying a house in Virginia, one of the states that had not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. Johnson became such an ardent supporter of the ERA that she was excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1979. She exposed the role of the wealthy Mormon Church in sabotaging passage of the ERA. She went on a 37-day hunger strike in the Illinois statehouse in 1982 during the last days of the ERA countdown to symbolize how “women hunger for justice.”

Johnson ran on a feminist ticket for U.S. president in 1984 as the candidate of the Citizens Party, becoming the first third-party candidate to qualify for primary matching funds. In countless speeches, she pointed out, “Nobody’s ever fought a revolution for women.” She wrote eloquently of her experiences in From Housewife to Heretic (1981). When a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution asked if she had acquired any non-Mormon habits, “alluding, I’m sure, to smoking and drinking,” she replied: “Yes, in fact I have. I have acquired the habit of free thought.” 

from Wikipedia

Johnson began speaking out in support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1977 and co-founded, with three other women, an organization called Mormons for ERA. National exposure occurred with her 1978 testimony in front of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights, and she continued speaking and promoting the ERA and denouncing the LDS Church’s opposition to the amendment.

The LDS church began disciplinary proceedings against Johnson after she delivered a scathing speech entitled “Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church” at a meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) in New York City in September 1979. Johnson denounced allegedly immoral and illegal nationwide lobbying efforts by the LDS Church to prevent passage of the ERA.

Because the speech drew national media attention, leaders in Johnson’s local Virginia congregation, including Stake President Earl J. Roueche, immediately began excommunication proceedings. A December 1979 excommunication letter claimed that Sonia Johnson was charged with a variety of misdeeds, including hindering the worldwide missionary program, damaging internal Mormon social programs, and teaching false doctrine.[7] Her husband divorced her in October 1979, two months before the trial; she attributes his decision to “some kind of mid-life crisis.”

Tags: , , , ,

SheVille Team

We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission SheVille.org provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.
Asheville, NC Current Weather
29°
clear sky
humidity: 71%
wind: 14mph NNW
H 24 • L 22
40°
Wed
44°
Thu
49°
Fri
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Subscribe to Articles