Frankie and Ralph Yarborough Courtesy Eakin Press OBSERVATIONS A Life Worth Living Mrs. Frankie Randolph and the Good Fight BY RONNIE DUGGER FRANKIE: Mrs. R.D. Randolph and Texas Liberal Politics. By Ann Fears Crawford. Eakin Press. 143 pages. $22.95. We have too few great persons among us on earth to lose their examples when they die. Among the desecrations of the public in terest that the ostensibly liberal Ann Richards committed \(along, say, with her appointment of right-winger Robert Krueger to the U.S. Senate from Texas while she was also helping turn Texas Democratic politics into a mortuary, and her going to work as a shill for the tobacco studied omission, from their therefore forgettable literary compendium of notable Texas women, of the late Mrs. R. D. Frankie Randolph of Camden and Houston. That omission which I can only explain by envy and the combative contempt which the compromised use against the principled actors on the stage of life was like compiling a list of great women in the United States but omitting Eleanor Roosevelt. On February 29, I was among those who had the honor of welcoming the ninetyyear-old “Granny D,” Ms. Doris Haddock, to the steps of the national Capitol at the end of her noble, heroic, and engeniused 3,200mile walk from California to Washington, D.C., for campaign finance reform. After considerable meditation about Mrs. Randolph I said, to the several thousand assembled before us to celebrate Ms. Haddock: Walking from California to Washington, Doris Haddock has walked into our hearts and she has walked into history. Walking to Washington for democracy, she has joined the pantheon of great American women. We welcome Ms. Haddock today into the company of Margaret Fuller, Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mother Jones, Jeannette Rankin, Dorothy Day, Frankie Randolph, Rosa Parks, Eliza beth MacAllister, and Eleanor Roosevelt. To call her “Granny D” is okay for the press, and is fun for all of us. But from this day forward let us know Doris Haddock by her correct name. The point is not that she’s a great woman. The point is she is a great person. A great leader of the people. I propose that, as an honorary matter, as far as we can do it, we declare her today the first woman President of the United States. Living on Social Security and a small income, leaving nothing to her children, she decided to leave them democracy. What I was meditating about, before including Mrs. Randolph in my suggested draft of that pantheon, was the fact that most people outside Texas did not know about her; her comparative greatness as a leader of the people among this company; and whether my love and admiration of her, which burn in me twenty-seven years after her death, might misguide me to include her. On the second and third questions, I concluded that objectively, to the extent that objectivity has to do with our enthusiasms that express our whole best selves, she is in their company. On the first, I saw that her unknownness in the country was not a reason not to include her, but the contrary. Now Ann Fears Crawford \(co-author of a book on John Connally; her biography of Barbara Jordan for middle-school children , duced a competent and useful short biography of Mrs. Randolph. \(Mrs. Randolph was always addressed as “Mrs. Randolph” except by her friends, and I continue to call Frankie, in the 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 14, 2000
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