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Alice M. Robertson Takes a Bow

February 6, 2002

Almanac Transcript

Alice M. Robertson takes a bow this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, I知 Steven Knoche Kite.

It was in this week of 1921 that a large crowd of Tulsans came out to welcome Muskogee resident Alice Robertson to their city. Alice M. Robertson is a name that should, be but isn't, well known to most Oklahomans. The grand daughter of famed Indian missionary Samuel Worcester, Robertson in her early life carried on the family tradition of providing religious, financial and educational assistance to the Cherokee and Creek tribes of Oklahoma. Robertson lived most of her adult life in Muskogee where she ran various charity concerns, opened a successful cafe and built her house on what is now known as Honor Heights.

At the age of sixty-seven local Republicans convinced Robertson to run for the U.S. House of Representative痴 seat coming open in December of 1920. Robertson was a Republican in a Democrat痴 state but didn't let that scare her away. The Muskogee newspapers refused to give her any coverage, so the always-ingenious Robertson ran her campaign via the daily cafe menus printed in the papers. Ms. Robertson kept her campaigning to a minimum and often merely repeated what became her slogan, 的知 a Christian, I知 an American and I知 a Republican.

Apparently that was good enough for the people of Muskogee, and in November 1920 Robertson became only the second woman ever to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Always popular locally, Robertson instantly became a statewide celebrity and toured the major cities giving her victory speeches. Throngs of Tulsa well wishers were treated this week of 1921 to Robertson痴 recounting of the election and her visions of the next two years as a representative. Robertson sold her cafe and left for Washington with high hopes and expectations. Unfortunately for Robertson, her lack of political knowledge along with her non-compromising attitude proved disastrous for her at the Capital. Within a relatively short time Robertson had alienated her main sources of support, those being WW I vets and women. With little accomplished and many enemies made she returned to Muskogee in 1922 having been handed a decisive defeat in her bid for re-election. Alice M. Robertson, the second woman in the history of the United States to serve as a U.S. Representative, passed away in July of 1931 at the age of 77.

I'm Steven knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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