Michigan attorney who worked for labor and women's rights
Image: Michigan Women's Hall of Fame
Anne R. Davidow, a graduate of the University of Detroit Law School, went before the US Supreme Court to represent the plaintiffs in Goesaert v. Cleary (1948). The case involved Michigan barmaids fighting for civil rights against a 1945 Michigan law that banned female bartending in cities with a population of over 50,000, unless their husband or father owned the bar (Michigan Public Act 133, 1945). Davidow made the argument that sex discrimination violated women's constitutional rights by denying them equal protection and treatment under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. The barmaids lost, but after continuous fighting the law was overturned. Davidow was no stranger to fighting for equal rights; she had advocated for women's suffrage atop soap boxes at factory gates. One of only four female graduates in her law school class of 1920, Davidow gained the right to vote the same year she passed the bar examination. An active feminist and lifelong member of the National Association for Women Lawyers, she once stated, “I was quite radical in the sense that I couldn’t see any reason a woman couldn’t do anything a man could do.” ("Longtime Lawyer," Detroit Free Press, June 25, 1991.) No stranger to the labor movement, Davidow had served as co-counsel to Walter, Victor, and Roy Reuther, leaders of the United Automobile Workers in its early years. She fought for social justice her entire life.
French, Amy Holtman. "Mixing It Up: Michigan Barmaids Fight for Civil Rights." The Michigan Historical Review 40:1 (Spring 2014): 27-48.