Political Women: Dallas 1947, Charlottesville 2017

August 18, 2017



Pictured here:  Three generations of progressive women.  (Not sure about the dog!)  That's me as a baby, with my firebrand mom, whose passion for politics never left her.  To be honest, I have no idea what my grandmother's political views were--but I do know that she went to college when very few women did, and weathered the Depression with grit and grace.


As for my mother, Margy Robertson Davis Watson Self . . . anyone who ever talked to her for more than five minutes found out about her passion for progressive causes and Democratic politics.  (As far as that goes, no one ever talked to her for just five minutes, but that's another story.)


So even though I grew up in Dallas at a time when it was a center of far right activity, I had no idea as a child that there was such a thing as racial division.  Or anti-Semitism.  Or homophobia.  My mother's many good friends included Jews, African Americans, gay couples, and a wide assortment of memorable characters that included pro wrestlers, jazz musicians, restaurant owners, police detectives, and "just plain folks ." 


I don't think I realized while growing up, or appreciated sufficiently as an adult, how committed my mother was to her political views.  She worked for the Democratic party in our precinct, and knew many local Democratic politicians.  If there was an election coming up, there was a sign in her yard.  And she was tireless in her efforts to "convert" any hapless Republicans who wandered into her orbit.


Beyond party politics--my mother was a really good real estate agent, who put her efforts into helping people become homeowners.  She could have made a lot more money selling expensive houses to well-qualified buyers.  But instead she helped needy people repair their credit and find affordable homes.  Sometimes she also helped them repair their lives.  


I could go on and on, of course.  But I want to close with the photo that prompted this post:



This is Susan Bro, holding a photograph of her mother and her daughter, Heather Heyer


It just made me think of how lucky I was to have a mother who taught me progressive values, by example.







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© 2019 by Cynthia Giles