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August 31, 2020 10 min

On Labor Day in 1921, women across the nation were - for the first time - registering to vote in state primary elections. They had, just a year earlier, won this right and were now arming themselves for the next battle: equal pay for equal work.

Meanwhile, in the east coast beach resort of Atlantic City, nine "beauty maids" were competing in what would become the first ever Miss America Pageant. These contestants, as young as 16 years of age, hoped to win - among other prizes - a golden trophy worth more than many professional, skilled women earned in a year.

And, while this chasm between women's priorities loomed large in Atlantic City, it was hardly the only social dichotomy. In 1921, nearly 12% of the nation's workforce was unemployed - a fact lost on the wealthy industrialists, socialites and political power brokers who'd arrived at the resort in luxury excursion trains, fancy new motorcars and yachts.

Truth is, among the monied class in Atlantic City on Labor Day 1921, thoughts were on everything BUT the men and women on whose labor this nation relied.

In this episode, Stephanie tells the story of the first Miss America pageant, and its tone deafness toward what was happening to rest of America - working women, in particular.

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