In this special edition in our series on President George H. W. Bush, we look at a special moment for the First Lady , Barbara Bush. In 1990 , Barbara Bush was invited to address Wellesley College as its graduation speaker. It was met with resistance in an era of Women's Liberation at the all Women's University. The graduates felt that they wanted a career woman not a traditional house wife and motherly type as the speaker.
Over 25% of the entire class signed the petition protesting the selection of Mrs. Bush and it made national headlines. The students had expressed their preference for the author Alice Walker who had written the book "The Color Purple" . As the moment drew closer for the address you could actually see the tension and the looks of disdain in the faces of the students in attendance. They did not care to hear what she was going to say and had no idea what they might get from the speech.
What they got is now considered one of the most important addresses in the entire 20th Century. Barbara Bush totally disarmed this hostile audience and by the speeches end she had them in the palm of her hand as she recognized a changing world but also extolled the virtues of timeless truths that make up a happy and good life. It is a powerful 11 minutes and we play it back for you here on our show. It was Barbara Bush's shining moment in a life full of them.
Ranked 4th as one of the best American History Podcasts of 2024