Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

February 13, 2007


Host: Jose Cardenas

Black History Month: Elizabeth Hudson Smith


  • We continue our series honoring Black History Month with the extraordinary tale of an African-American woman in the early days of Arizona’s history. Elizabeth Hudson Smith was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900s, but also faced the heavy hand of discrimination.
Guests:
  • Chris Groninger - Systems advocate, Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence
  • Christine Olson - Founder, Dodie London Excellence in Public Service Series


View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on Horizon, domestic violence is a big issue right now at the state legislature. We update the progress of several domestic violence-related bills as they come up for key votes at the capitol. And we continue our series honoring black history month with the remarkable tale of an African American woman who played a significant role in Arizona's history in the early 1900s, as she faced the cruelty of racism. Plus we look at a group that works to help get more Republican women involved in politics and public service. Those stories coming up on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by the contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to Horizon. Law enforcement officials are calling it "a tragic domestic violence incident." A grandfather shot and killed two of his grandchildren and a family friend in north Phoenix yesterday. The grandfather was then shot and killed by police. The motive for this violent incident is not known, but the heartbreaking consequences represent what domestic violence can bring. Domestic violence policy and funding issues are at the center of several bills now active at the state legislature. Here to talk about some of those bills is Chris Groninger, systems advocate from the Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence.

José Cárdenas:
Chris thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
There are several bills out there. And some of them are really funding issues. Let's talk about the key ones. I know we've got one providing money for emergency beds. What can you tell us about that one?

Chris Groninger:
That bill today passed out of appropriations. It's a bill that would allot $3 million toward the expansion so the new beds added to domestic violence shelters. The goal with that is to end turn aways. So right now in Arizona we have a problem where more people are turned away from service than actually receive it.

José Cárdenas:
And then you've also got a funding proposal, one that would derive moneys from interest on escrow accounts. How does that work?

Chris Groninger:
Well, it's a little bit complicated, at least for me. But what it would do is move escrow accounts that operate kind of like checking accounts into a federal trust account. The interest from that would help support grant programs that provide legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and it would also go towards homeownership incentives with the department of housing.

José Cárdenas:
What would be the split between those two kinds of programs?

Chris Groninger:
It would go 50-50. 50\% of that percentage point toward legal services and then 50\% toward the housing.

José Cárdenas:
Any idea how much money we're talking about?

Chris Groninger:
It's tough to say. There's been some very generous estimates of $1 million all the way to $3 million.

José Cárdenas:
Now, the cost for the first piece of legislation you mentioned, the domestic beds, we're talking there what, about $3 million?

Chris Groninger:
Mm-hmm.

José Cárdenas:
And the funds, the governor's budget, how much does she have for the whole subject area?

Chris Groninger:
She has $3.3 million in the executive budget for the same thing. So the bill that's moving through the senate right now is a -- it kind of mirrors that -- it has the same intention. And it's part of that incremental approach to ending turn aways. So rather than give all these programs funding all at one time, it's been a step-by-step approach so that programs can build and adjust to the growth at the same time.

José Cárdenas:
How big of a problem is it right now, the lack of available beds?

Chris Groninger:
Oh it's terrible. I think the last place that people often turn is when they have no other choice, pick up the phone and call for shelter. The fact that anybody would pick up the phone and fear for their lives and looking for a safe place for they or their children to be, that they would receive an answer such as "we don't have space for you, I'm really sorry. Try again later or try something else." I think -- that keeps me up at night. I feel like that's a horrible message that we send.

José Cárdenas:
Any sense of how many more beds we need to deal with that adequately?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I know that there has been studies in Maricopa alone. We need double the amount of beds that currently exist to meet the demand that exists now. Some of the other programs don't have as great of a need in more of the rural areas or outlying areas but they also don't have the same kind of resources within the community to support the programs that they do have. So where someone in the metropolitan area such as Phoenix has the ability to raise funds to involve the community in that effort, it's a little bit different for a smaller town that doesn't have the same kind of corporations or resources or the same kind of charitable giving that happens in larger areas.

José Cárdenas:
Now there's are another piece of legislation that deals with the situation of getting people out of bad living circumstances, a lease termination bill. What can you tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well this has been a partnership, what started out as a partnership with the multi-housing association and their interested parties who represent landlords. In an effort to address something that we've been trying to do for about five to six years, which is help people that are in violent situations when they need to leave and flee for their safety, help them be able to break their lease without incurring judgments against them or outrageous penalties and fees for doing so.

José Cárdenas:
What would somebody have to show in order to qualify for this kind of relief from their landlord?

Chris Groninger:
Right now what the bill requires is a police report or an order of protection. And that's kind of a general statement that indicates that somebody's been involved in the criminal process that way.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, there's a lot of other legislation out there. But before we get to it I want to make sure we talk about the events tomorrow. Valentine's Day there'll be a stop violence against women event going on. Tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well we're going to be down at the house lawn, the State Capitol from 10:00 until 2:00. We have guest speaker Denise Brown who's going to speak to the crowd that comes. We have Radmilla Cody who will be performing. We also award the legislator of the year award that we give out and we also do a recognition of somebody in the state in the field of domestic violence that goes above and beyond.

José Cárdenas:
And how would somebody make arrangements to get there?

Chris Groninger:
To the Capitol?

José Cárdenas:
Yea. Is it by invitation only?

Chris Groninger:
Oh, no. It's open to the public. It's free. We'll have performances. There's all kinds of making valentines displays, lots of fun things to do.

José Cárdenas:
And That's from 10:00 to 2:00?

Chris Groninger:
Yes, it is.

José Cárdenas:
Now Going back to the legislation, there are several bills that are focused on the criminal aspects of this and criminal penalties. What can you tell us about those?

Chris Groninger,
Well we have a couple right now. One that just had a final read, or a third read in the senate is our strangulation and suffocation bill. It's something that we've been trying to do. This is our second year attempting that. That would increase the penalties and more clearly define strangulation and suffocation as a felony assault charge rather than simple assault which is often charged as a misdemeanor. That's one that we've been working on. There's another one sponsored by Senator Bee that would increase the amount of time that someone had to have three misdemeanor charges before they were charged with a felony. And that one's also moving through the process.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, last question. What in your mind or your organization's view are the key pieces of legislation that really need to get passed this legislative session?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I'd say all of them just because I've been so intimately involved in all of them. The funding is always a priority, just because of the serious nature of what people face when they're turned away from shelter. And then legal assistance, our highest legal priorities for victims of domestic violence have indicated to us that it's difficulties within the civil legal system. So representing themselves in divorce or child custody cases seems to be their greatest need.

José Cárdenas:
Chris Groninger, Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you for having me.

José Cárdenas:
Tonight we continue our four-part series honoring black history month. Later this week we look at the contributions of notable Arizona figures such as Lincoln Ragsdale and Calvin Goode. Tonight we bring you the story of another historic Arizonan. This one a woman. Elizabeth Hudson Smith was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900's but she also faced a heavy hand at discrimination. Mike Sauceda and Videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

Mike Sauceda:
Just some 40-years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. And he was a slave who ran away two times and was caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation following the civil war. He told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter Opera House she owned, one of several business ventures by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson smith spoke fluent French, and actually women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for girls which was established after the French Indian Wars. But one of the prerequisites for graduation from their school was that the girl speak fluent French.

Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

Dennis Freeman:
But when Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she left, she and Bill left the employ of the George Pullman family. And she came to the Baxter hotel. And she began to cook, and her husband William served, worked as a valet at the hotel. And because he had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined. And their reputation began to really grow.

Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Sante Fe railroad which needed a hotel and restaurant for its passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. And of course, here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman, working with her husband as employees of the Baxter hotel. And they said, where in the world would we ever get the money? But William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed, and maybe the Sante Fe railroad also contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. And the hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves. And she was a very astute businesswoman.

Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta named after William Smith's mother was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at 1 Apache Street.

Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta Hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist and loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything. She was highly-educated, and she could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. And so she really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta Hotel.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian and this is a model in the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. But how did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American at the time she arrived.

Dennis Freeman:
But they took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her. And there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman says that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg.

Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her to be too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian Church that she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together for whist games. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured even into this century. It was in approximately in 2001 that a mannequin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of the display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site, this plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935. Her death shrouded in mystery.

Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view about how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who is an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long-suffering with a long-lingering illness. Because Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm.

Dennis Freeman:
When I spoke to Doc Garcia who was the grandson of Ygnacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith was she was walking by the house and she told us she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold. And the next day she was dead. So there is the opinion that she either had a long-lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned, because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found, and her beloved Vernetta Hotel, her other properties and $50,000 in cash never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. However, her story was revived at the play Freeman wrote in 1998 titled "The Wickenburg Way". The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. That was brought home by the actions of the then oldest man in Wickenburg who had been a friend of Smith's.

Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly. His face was wet with tears. And he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth, it's me, Tony and put his arms around her. And for a 20-foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexic clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by a businessman who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone but her legacy is just starting to bloom again.

Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

José Cárdenas:
Tomorrow we continue to celebrate black history month with a profile of another African-American woman who was significant in Arizona's history. The Dodie London excellence in public service series recently got underway, the program named after the only female past chairman of the Arizona Republican Party recruits women who are interested in participating in public service in some capacity. Its founder Christine Olson is a former committee woman for the republican national committee in Pennsylvania and C.E.O. Of a natural gas drilling company. She joins us now to talk about the program. Ms. Olson welcome to horizon.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
Now The current status of this program, what is it?

Christine Olson: Well we actually just announced it two weeks ago. And we are now gathering our applicant pool. We're looking for women all over the state of Arizona, republican women who want to increase their level of activity in public service.

Jose Cardenas:
And the principal purpose of the program is increasing activity but in what way? How do you do that?

Christine Olson:
Well if you want to run for public office, if you want to position yourself for a board or commission, or you just want to be a great party worker. All we're asking is that- you know we'll invest in you for a year and we want you to make a commitment to invest in your in your community for the rest of your life at some level.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would make the best candidates for this kind of program?

Christine Olson:
Oh Jose, it goes from stay-at-home moms to corporate C.E.O's. What I found in Pennsylvania where I started the program five years ago was that women are -- we're wired a little differently. And I was trying to recruit women to run for political office. They said, oh, well, I don't have a Ph.D. in political science. And you go to a man, if he voted once he feels like he's qualified to run for president. And it's not a knock on gender, it's just the reality.

Jose Cardenas:
If he thinks if he has an opinion then he wants to share it.

Christine Olson:
You've got it. So we want to do, is we want to create- give women the tools that they need to feel comfortable in participating in the process. So what we created was a curriculum that goes soup to nuts, everything that you ever wanted to know about being involved in public service, and we do that over a nine month period. The first class will start in October and it will finish in early June. And when we finish the class in early June we want women to feel that they've got every tool that they need to participate in the process, whatever that part of the process is.

Jose Cardenas:
And When you're trying to encourage women to get involved, what do you tell them as to why it's important that more women to be involved in politics?

Christine Olson:
Well, you know, politics affect every aspect of our life. And I was recruited originally then Governor Ridge to serve on the national committee and I told him I didn't have time. I was a corporate C.E.O. And I had made my second acquisition. I had three kids, 8, 6 and 3, and I was recently divorced. And I said, "I don't have time." and he said, "Christine, I see what you're doing." I had created a retreat for female C.E.O.s from all over the world. He said, "I see what you're doing to support and advance women. If you believe that women should have a voice in the political process and in policy in our country, you can't say no. You have to be involved in this." and he was right. If we want to be represented and the laws that are enacted affect all of us, and we need to have a voice in that, and that's why women need to be a part of the process.

Jose Cardenas:
And how do they become a part of your process, the program that you run?

Christine Olson:
Well we have a website which is azgopforwomen.org. They can go to that website and download the application, fill out the application and get it into us. And just even go to the website to see whether or not it's something they're interested in. But I'm anxious to find women from all over Arizona who want to take an interest in the political process. It's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
And what happens after they've gone through the course and then they decide to run for office?

Christine Olson:
Well, we'll support them. Our network will help them move forward. We do not -- we do not go against endorsed candidates. We do not go against incumbents. But once they're through that part of the process, that network comes to them and supports them in every way. I have this straight story of a woman who wanted to run for city council in a town in Pennsylvania. And the good old boys decided, well, we don't want a woman. So when they sent out their mailer they had two republicans and one democrat. This is the county Republican party. And there were three guys. Our network of alums found out about it. 40 of our alums went in and door knocked for this woman for four days before the election. We raised an additional $20,000 for cable media buy. This young lady was the highest vote getter, even higher than the mayor who is very popular. And she is now positioning herself to run for the state house. And it was all because of this network of women who have come together to understand that we need to support each other.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, we've got a little less than a minute left. Your final thoughts on the program and the kind of people who should be involved and why.

Christine Olson:
We need people from every walk of life. And the program, it's about training women. But it's about engaging men and women in the process. We need -- we need mentors. We need role models, whether they're female or male. And so anyone that really wants to get involved and help advance women within the republican party, please go to our website and see what it's all about, because it's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, thank you for joining us on Horizon to talk about this important program.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
to watch video of tonight's program, read transcripts and get information about upcoming Horizon stories please visit our website at azpbs.org.

Larry Lemmons:
He went to a segregated school in phoenix and later made it all the way phoenix city council. As we celebrate black history month on horizon we look at the amazing life of Calvin Goode. What challenges did he face in a segregated society and what's he up to now? Calvin Goode Wednesday at 7:00 on horizon.

Jose Cardenas:
That's Horizon for this Tuesday evening. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you for watching.

Domestic Violence


  • Domestic violence is a big issue right now at the State Legislature. Chris Groninger, Systems Advocate, AZ Coalition Against Domestic Violence, joins us to update the progress of several domestic violence-related bills as they come up for key votes at capitol.
Guests:
  • Chris Groninger - Systems advocate, Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence
  • Christine Olson - Founder, Dodie London Excellence in Public Service Series
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on Horizon, domestic violence is a big issue right now at the state legislature. We update the progress of several domestic violence-related bills as they come up for key votes at the capitol. And we continue our series honoring black history month with the remarkable tale of an African American woman who played a significant role in Arizona's history in the early 1900s, as she faced the cruelty of racism. Plus we look at a group that works to help get more Republican women involved in politics and public service. Those stories coming up on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by the contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to Horizon. Law enforcement officials are calling it "a tragic domestic violence incident." A grandfather shot and killed two of his grandchildren and a family friend in north Phoenix yesterday. The grandfather was then shot and killed by police. The motive for this violent incident is not known, but the heartbreaking consequences represent what domestic violence can bring. Domestic violence policy and funding issues are at the center of several bills now active at the state legislature. Here to talk about some of those bills is Chris Groninger, systems advocate from the Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence.

José Cárdenas:
Chris thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
There are several bills out there. And some of them are really funding issues. Let's talk about the key ones. I know we've got one providing money for emergency beds. What can you tell us about that one?

Chris Groninger:
That bill today passed out of appropriations. It's a bill that would allot $3 million toward the expansion so the new beds added to domestic violence shelters. The goal with that is to end turn aways. So right now in Arizona we have a problem where more people are turned away from service than actually receive it.

José Cárdenas:
And then you've also got a funding proposal, one that would derive moneys from interest on escrow accounts. How does that work?

Chris Groninger:
Well, it's a little bit complicated, at least for me. But what it would do is move escrow accounts that operate kind of like checking accounts into a federal trust account. The interest from that would help support grant programs that provide legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and it would also go towards homeownership incentives with the department of housing.

José Cárdenas:
What would be the split between those two kinds of programs?

Chris Groninger:
It would go 50-50. 50\% of that percentage point toward legal services and then 50\% toward the housing.

José Cárdenas:
Any idea how much money we're talking about?

Chris Groninger:
It's tough to say. There's been some very generous estimates of $1 million all the way to $3 million.

José Cárdenas:
Now, the cost for the first piece of legislation you mentioned, the domestic beds, we're talking there what, about $3 million?

Chris Groninger:
Mm-hmm.

José Cárdenas:
And the funds, the governor's budget, how much does she have for the whole subject area?

Chris Groninger:
She has $3.3 million in the executive budget for the same thing. So the bill that's moving through the senate right now is a -- it kind of mirrors that -- it has the same intention. And it's part of that incremental approach to ending turn aways. So rather than give all these programs funding all at one time, it's been a step-by-step approach so that programs can build and adjust to the growth at the same time.

José Cárdenas:
How big of a problem is it right now, the lack of available beds?

Chris Groninger:
Oh it's terrible. I think the last place that people often turn is when they have no other choice, pick up the phone and call for shelter. The fact that anybody would pick up the phone and fear for their lives and looking for a safe place for they or their children to be, that they would receive an answer such as "we don't have space for you, I'm really sorry. Try again later or try something else." I think -- that keeps me up at night. I feel like that's a horrible message that we send.

José Cárdenas:
Any sense of how many more beds we need to deal with that adequately?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I know that there has been studies in Maricopa alone. We need double the amount of beds that currently exist to meet the demand that exists now. Some of the other programs don't have as great of a need in more of the rural areas or outlying areas but they also don't have the same kind of resources within the community to support the programs that they do have. So where someone in the metropolitan area such as Phoenix has the ability to raise funds to involve the community in that effort, it's a little bit different for a smaller town that doesn't have the same kind of corporations or resources or the same kind of charitable giving that happens in larger areas.

José Cárdenas:
Now there's are another piece of legislation that deals with the situation of getting people out of bad living circumstances, a lease termination bill. What can you tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well this has been a partnership, what started out as a partnership with the multi-housing association and their interested parties who represent landlords. In an effort to address something that we've been trying to do for about five to six years, which is help people that are in violent situations when they need to leave and flee for their safety, help them be able to break their lease without incurring judgments against them or outrageous penalties and fees for doing so.

José Cárdenas:
What would somebody have to show in order to qualify for this kind of relief from their landlord?

Chris Groninger:
Right now what the bill requires is a police report or an order of protection. And that's kind of a general statement that indicates that somebody's been involved in the criminal process that way.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, there's a lot of other legislation out there. But before we get to it I want to make sure we talk about the events tomorrow. Valentine's Day there'll be a stop violence against women event going on. Tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well we're going to be down at the house lawn, the State Capitol from 10:00 until 2:00. We have guest speaker Denise Brown who's going to speak to the crowd that comes. We have Radmilla Cody who will be performing. We also award the legislator of the year award that we give out and we also do a recognition of somebody in the state in the field of domestic violence that goes above and beyond.

José Cárdenas:
And how would somebody make arrangements to get there?

Chris Groninger:
To the Capitol?

José Cárdenas:
Yea. Is it by invitation only?

Chris Groninger:
Oh, no. It's open to the public. It's free. We'll have performances. There's all kinds of making valentines displays, lots of fun things to do.

José Cárdenas:
And That's from 10:00 to 2:00?

Chris Groninger:
Yes, it is.

José Cárdenas:
Now Going back to the legislation, there are several bills that are focused on the criminal aspects of this and criminal penalties. What can you tell us about those?

Chris Groninger,
Well we have a couple right now. One that just had a final read, or a third read in the senate is our strangulation and suffocation bill. It's something that we've been trying to do. This is our second year attempting that. That would increase the penalties and more clearly define strangulation and suffocation as a felony assault charge rather than simple assault which is often charged as a misdemeanor. That's one that we've been working on. There's another one sponsored by Senator Bee that would increase the amount of time that someone had to have three misdemeanor charges before they were charged with a felony. And that one's also moving through the process.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, last question. What in your mind or your organization's view are the key pieces of legislation that really need to get passed this legislative session?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I'd say all of them just because I've been so intimately involved in all of them. The funding is always a priority, just because of the serious nature of what people face when they're turned away from shelter. And then legal assistance, our highest legal priorities for victims of domestic violence have indicated to us that it's difficulties within the civil legal system. So representing themselves in divorce or child custody cases seems to be their greatest need.

José Cárdenas:
Chris Groninger, Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you for having me.

José Cárdenas:
Tonight we continue our four-part series honoring black history month. Later this week we look at the contributions of notable Arizona figures such as Lincoln Ragsdale and Calvin Goode. Tonight we bring you the story of another historic Arizonan. This one a woman. Elizabeth Hudson Smith was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900's but she also faced a heavy hand at discrimination. Mike Sauceda and Videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

Mike Sauceda:
Just some 40-years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. And he was a slave who ran away two times and was caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation following the civil war. He told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter Opera House she owned, one of several business ventures by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson smith spoke fluent French, and actually women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for girls which was established after the French Indian Wars. But one of the prerequisites for graduation from their school was that the girl speak fluent French.

Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

Dennis Freeman:
But when Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she left, she and Bill left the employ of the George Pullman family. And she came to the Baxter hotel. And she began to cook, and her husband William served, worked as a valet at the hotel. And because he had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined. And their reputation began to really grow.

Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Sante Fe railroad which needed a hotel and restaurant for its passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. And of course, here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman, working with her husband as employees of the Baxter hotel. And they said, where in the world would we ever get the money? But William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed, and maybe the Sante Fe railroad also contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. And the hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves. And she was a very astute businesswoman.

Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta named after William Smith's mother was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at 1 Apache Street.

Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta Hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist and loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything. She was highly-educated, and she could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. And so she really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta Hotel.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian and this is a model in the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. But how did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American at the time she arrived.

Dennis Freeman:
But they took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her. And there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman says that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg.

Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her to be too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian Church that she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together for whist games. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured even into this century. It was in approximately in 2001 that a mannequin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of the display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site, this plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935. Her death shrouded in mystery.

Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view about how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who is an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long-suffering with a long-lingering illness. Because Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm.

Dennis Freeman:
When I spoke to Doc Garcia who was the grandson of Ygnacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith was she was walking by the house and she told us she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold. And the next day she was dead. So there is the opinion that she either had a long-lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned, because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found, and her beloved Vernetta Hotel, her other properties and $50,000 in cash never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. However, her story was revived at the play Freeman wrote in 1998 titled "The Wickenburg Way". The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. That was brought home by the actions of the then oldest man in Wickenburg who had been a friend of Smith's.

Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly. His face was wet with tears. And he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth, it's me, Tony and put his arms around her. And for a 20-foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexic clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by a businessman who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone but her legacy is just starting to bloom again.

Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

José Cárdenas:
Tomorrow we continue to celebrate black history month with a profile of another African-American woman who was significant in Arizona's history. The Dodie London excellence in public service series recently got underway, the program named after the only female past chairman of the Arizona Republican Party recruits women who are interested in participating in public service in some capacity. Its founder Christine Olson is a former committee woman for the republican national committee in Pennsylvania and C.E.O. Of a natural gas drilling company. She joins us now to talk about the program. Ms. Olson welcome to horizon.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
Now The current status of this program, what is it?

Christine Olson: Well we actually just announced it two weeks ago. And we are now gathering our applicant pool. We're looking for women all over the state of Arizona, republican women who want to increase their level of activity in public service.

Jose Cardenas:
And the principal purpose of the program is increasing activity but in what way? How do you do that?

Christine Olson:
Well if you want to run for public office, if you want to position yourself for a board or commission, or you just want to be a great party worker. All we're asking is that- you know we'll invest in you for a year and we want you to make a commitment to invest in your in your community for the rest of your life at some level.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would make the best candidates for this kind of program?

Christine Olson:
Oh Jose, it goes from stay-at-home moms to corporate C.E.O's. What I found in Pennsylvania where I started the program five years ago was that women are -- we're wired a little differently. And I was trying to recruit women to run for political office. They said, oh, well, I don't have a Ph.D. in political science. And you go to a man, if he voted once he feels like he's qualified to run for president. And it's not a knock on gender, it's just the reality.

Jose Cardenas:
If he thinks if he has an opinion then he wants to share it.

Christine Olson:
You've got it. So we want to do, is we want to create- give women the tools that they need to feel comfortable in participating in the process. So what we created was a curriculum that goes soup to nuts, everything that you ever wanted to know about being involved in public service, and we do that over a nine month period. The first class will start in October and it will finish in early June. And when we finish the class in early June we want women to feel that they've got every tool that they need to participate in the process, whatever that part of the process is.

Jose Cardenas:
And When you're trying to encourage women to get involved, what do you tell them as to why it's important that more women to be involved in politics?

Christine Olson:
Well, you know, politics affect every aspect of our life. And I was recruited originally then Governor Ridge to serve on the national committee and I told him I didn't have time. I was a corporate C.E.O. And I had made my second acquisition. I had three kids, 8, 6 and 3, and I was recently divorced. And I said, "I don't have time." and he said, "Christine, I see what you're doing." I had created a retreat for female C.E.O.s from all over the world. He said, "I see what you're doing to support and advance women. If you believe that women should have a voice in the political process and in policy in our country, you can't say no. You have to be involved in this." and he was right. If we want to be represented and the laws that are enacted affect all of us, and we need to have a voice in that, and that's why women need to be a part of the process.

Jose Cardenas:
And how do they become a part of your process, the program that you run?

Christine Olson:
Well we have a website which is azgopforwomen.org. They can go to that website and download the application, fill out the application and get it into us. And just even go to the website to see whether or not it's something they're interested in. But I'm anxious to find women from all over Arizona who want to take an interest in the political process. It's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
And what happens after they've gone through the course and then they decide to run for office?

Christine Olson:
Well, we'll support them. Our network will help them move forward. We do not -- we do not go against endorsed candidates. We do not go against incumbents. But once they're through that part of the process, that network comes to them and supports them in every way. I have this straight story of a woman who wanted to run for city council in a town in Pennsylvania. And the good old boys decided, well, we don't want a woman. So when they sent out their mailer they had two republicans and one democrat. This is the county Republican party. And there were three guys. Our network of alums found out about it. 40 of our alums went in and door knocked for this woman for four days before the election. We raised an additional $20,000 for cable media buy. This young lady was the highest vote getter, even higher than the mayor who is very popular. And she is now positioning herself to run for the state house. And it was all because of this network of women who have come together to understand that we need to support each other.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, we've got a little less than a minute left. Your final thoughts on the program and the kind of people who should be involved and why.

Christine Olson:
We need people from every walk of life. And the program, it's about training women. But it's about engaging men and women in the process. We need -- we need mentors. We need role models, whether they're female or male. And so anyone that really wants to get involved and help advance women within the republican party, please go to our website and see what it's all about, because it's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, thank you for joining us on Horizon to talk about this important program.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
to watch video of tonight's program, read transcripts and get information about upcoming Horizon stories please visit our website at azpbs.org.

Larry Lemmons:
He went to a segregated school in phoenix and later made it all the way phoenix city council. As we celebrate black history month on horizon we look at the amazing life of Calvin Goode. What challenges did he face in a segregated society and what's he up to now? Calvin Goode Wednesday at 7:00 on horizon.

Jose Cardenas:
That's Horizon for this Tuesday evening. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you for watching.

Women in Politics


  • The founder of The Dodie Londen Excellence in Public Service Series, Christine Olson, talks about getting women involved in public service.
Guests:
  • Chris Groninger - Systems advocate, Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence
  • Christine Olson - Founder, Dodie London Excellence in Public Service Series
Category: Elections

View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on Horizon, domestic violence is a big issue right now at the state legislature. We update the progress of several domestic violence-related bills as they come up for key votes at the capitol. And we continue our series honoring black history month with the remarkable tale of an African American woman who played a significant role in Arizona's history in the early 1900s, as she faced the cruelty of racism. Plus we look at a group that works to help get more Republican women involved in politics and public service. Those stories coming up on Horizon.

Announcer:
Horizon is made possible by the contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to Horizon. Law enforcement officials are calling it "a tragic domestic violence incident." A grandfather shot and killed two of his grandchildren and a family friend in north Phoenix yesterday. The grandfather was then shot and killed by police. The motive for this violent incident is not known, but the heartbreaking consequences represent what domestic violence can bring. Domestic violence policy and funding issues are at the center of several bills now active at the state legislature. Here to talk about some of those bills is Chris Groninger, systems advocate from the Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence.

José Cárdenas:
Chris thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
There are several bills out there. And some of them are really funding issues. Let's talk about the key ones. I know we've got one providing money for emergency beds. What can you tell us about that one?

Chris Groninger:
That bill today passed out of appropriations. It's a bill that would allot $3 million toward the expansion so the new beds added to domestic violence shelters. The goal with that is to end turn aways. So right now in Arizona we have a problem where more people are turned away from service than actually receive it.

José Cárdenas:
And then you've also got a funding proposal, one that would derive moneys from interest on escrow accounts. How does that work?

Chris Groninger:
Well, it's a little bit complicated, at least for me. But what it would do is move escrow accounts that operate kind of like checking accounts into a federal trust account. The interest from that would help support grant programs that provide legal services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and it would also go towards homeownership incentives with the department of housing.

José Cárdenas:
What would be the split between those two kinds of programs?

Chris Groninger:
It would go 50-50. 50\% of that percentage point toward legal services and then 50\% toward the housing.

José Cárdenas:
Any idea how much money we're talking about?

Chris Groninger:
It's tough to say. There's been some very generous estimates of $1 million all the way to $3 million.

José Cárdenas:
Now, the cost for the first piece of legislation you mentioned, the domestic beds, we're talking there what, about $3 million?

Chris Groninger:
Mm-hmm.

José Cárdenas:
And the funds, the governor's budget, how much does she have for the whole subject area?

Chris Groninger:
She has $3.3 million in the executive budget for the same thing. So the bill that's moving through the senate right now is a -- it kind of mirrors that -- it has the same intention. And it's part of that incremental approach to ending turn aways. So rather than give all these programs funding all at one time, it's been a step-by-step approach so that programs can build and adjust to the growth at the same time.

José Cárdenas:
How big of a problem is it right now, the lack of available beds?

Chris Groninger:
Oh it's terrible. I think the last place that people often turn is when they have no other choice, pick up the phone and call for shelter. The fact that anybody would pick up the phone and fear for their lives and looking for a safe place for they or their children to be, that they would receive an answer such as "we don't have space for you, I'm really sorry. Try again later or try something else." I think -- that keeps me up at night. I feel like that's a horrible message that we send.

José Cárdenas:
Any sense of how many more beds we need to deal with that adequately?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I know that there has been studies in Maricopa alone. We need double the amount of beds that currently exist to meet the demand that exists now. Some of the other programs don't have as great of a need in more of the rural areas or outlying areas but they also don't have the same kind of resources within the community to support the programs that they do have. So where someone in the metropolitan area such as Phoenix has the ability to raise funds to involve the community in that effort, it's a little bit different for a smaller town that doesn't have the same kind of corporations or resources or the same kind of charitable giving that happens in larger areas.

José Cárdenas:
Now there's are another piece of legislation that deals with the situation of getting people out of bad living circumstances, a lease termination bill. What can you tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well this has been a partnership, what started out as a partnership with the multi-housing association and their interested parties who represent landlords. In an effort to address something that we've been trying to do for about five to six years, which is help people that are in violent situations when they need to leave and flee for their safety, help them be able to break their lease without incurring judgments against them or outrageous penalties and fees for doing so.

José Cárdenas:
What would somebody have to show in order to qualify for this kind of relief from their landlord?

Chris Groninger:
Right now what the bill requires is a police report or an order of protection. And that's kind of a general statement that indicates that somebody's been involved in the criminal process that way.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, there's a lot of other legislation out there. But before we get to it I want to make sure we talk about the events tomorrow. Valentine's Day there'll be a stop violence against women event going on. Tell us about that?

Chris Groninger:
Well we're going to be down at the house lawn, the State Capitol from 10:00 until 2:00. We have guest speaker Denise Brown who's going to speak to the crowd that comes. We have Radmilla Cody who will be performing. We also award the legislator of the year award that we give out and we also do a recognition of somebody in the state in the field of domestic violence that goes above and beyond.

José Cárdenas:
And how would somebody make arrangements to get there?

Chris Groninger:
To the Capitol?

José Cárdenas:
Yea. Is it by invitation only?

Chris Groninger:
Oh, no. It's open to the public. It's free. We'll have performances. There's all kinds of making valentines displays, lots of fun things to do.

José Cárdenas:
And That's from 10:00 to 2:00?

Chris Groninger:
Yes, it is.

José Cárdenas:
Now Going back to the legislation, there are several bills that are focused on the criminal aspects of this and criminal penalties. What can you tell us about those?

Chris Groninger,
Well we have a couple right now. One that just had a final read, or a third read in the senate is our strangulation and suffocation bill. It's something that we've been trying to do. This is our second year attempting that. That would increase the penalties and more clearly define strangulation and suffocation as a felony assault charge rather than simple assault which is often charged as a misdemeanor. That's one that we've been working on. There's another one sponsored by Senator Bee that would increase the amount of time that someone had to have three misdemeanor charges before they were charged with a felony. And that one's also moving through the process.

José Cárdenas:
Chris, last question. What in your mind or your organization's view are the key pieces of legislation that really need to get passed this legislative session?

Chris Groninger:
Well, I'd say all of them just because I've been so intimately involved in all of them. The funding is always a priority, just because of the serious nature of what people face when they're turned away from shelter. And then legal assistance, our highest legal priorities for victims of domestic violence have indicated to us that it's difficulties within the civil legal system. So representing themselves in divorce or child custody cases seems to be their greatest need.

José Cárdenas:
Chris Groninger, Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, thanks for joining us on Horizon.

Chris Groninger:
Thank you for having me.

José Cárdenas:
Tonight we continue our four-part series honoring black history month. Later this week we look at the contributions of notable Arizona figures such as Lincoln Ragsdale and Calvin Goode. Tonight we bring you the story of another historic Arizonan. This one a woman. Elizabeth Hudson Smith was an African-American woman who owned several properties in Wickenburg in the early 1900's but she also faced a heavy hand at discrimination. Mike Sauceda and Videographer Scot Olson tell us her story.

Mike Sauceda:
Just some 40-years after the emancipation proclamation freed the slaves, a young African-American woman arrived in Wickenburg. Her name, Elizabeth Hudson Smith.

Dennis Freeman:
She was born in Alabama in 1869. Her father's name was Sales Hudson. And he was a slave who ran away two times and was caught two times, but was emancipated after the emancipation proclamation following the civil war. He told his daughter to go out and see what freedom there was.

Mike Sauceda:
This is one of only two images known to exist of Smith. This photo was taken at the Baxter Opera House she owned, one of several business ventures by Smith in Wickenburg. It's a manifestation that she put the advice of her father into action by obtaining an education.

Dennis Freeman:
Because Elizabeth Hudson smith spoke fluent French, and actually women from Phoenix would come on the Santa Fe railroad for French lessons in Elizabeth's hotel parlor, we have surmised that she possibly attended the Ursuline Nuns School for girls which was established after the French Indian Wars. But one of the prerequisites for graduation from their school was that the girl speak fluent French.

Mike Sauceda:
George Pullman the inventor of the Pullman sleeping car was responsible for bringing Smith and her husband to Wickenburg when he came to vacation nearby. The couple were employed to care for Pullman and his family.

Dennis Freeman:
But when Elizabeth saw this land and saw the beauty of the Sonoran desert, she left, she and Bill left the employ of the George Pullman family. And she came to the Baxter hotel. And she began to cook, and her husband William served, worked as a valet at the hotel. And because he had been working for George Pullman, his sense of taking care of people was highly refined. And their reputation began to really grow.

Mike Sauceda:
That reputation caught the attention of the Sante Fe railroad which needed a hotel and restaurant for its passengers on their way to Los Angeles.

Dennis Freeman:
They came to Elizabeth and William and said, we want you to build a hotel, comparable to the Harvey houses, a place where our passengers can be pampered, a place where they will have fine meals and enjoy staying before they get on the train for Los Angeles. And of course, here was Elizabeth, a young African-American woman, working with her husband as employees of the Baxter hotel. And they said, where in the world would we ever get the money? But William Smith's mother sold her house in Springfield, Illinois. It was reputed that George Pullman also contributed, and maybe the Sante Fe railroad also contributed. Elizabeth went to James Creighton, the leading young architect in the territory, who designed her hotel. And the hotel was built and opened in 1906. Elizabeth Hudson Smith had a golden age. She dressed in velvet dresses, she wore hats, she wore arm-length gloves. And she was a very astute businesswoman.

Mike Sauceda:
The Hotel Vernetta named after William Smith's mother was the first brick building in Wickenburg. This is one other known picture that may include Smith. It shows her in front of the hotel. The hotel still stands at 1 Apache Street.

Dennis Freeman:
The hotel also became a gathering place. It was a place for people to come and have a wonderful meal. It was considered at the top of the line to come to the Vernetta Hotel for a family dinner. People came and they congregated here. Elizabeth was always circulating among the guests. She was a fine conversationalist and loved to talk to the people. She was interested in everything. She was highly-educated, and she could carry on, hold her own in any discussion. And so she really enjoyed being the grand dame of the Vernetta Hotel.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith was a devout Presbyterian and this is a model in the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg of the church she helped found. But how did an African-American woman become so successful in Wickenburg just four decades after slavery? Freeman says it was because the town was largely Mexican-American at the time she arrived.

Dennis Freeman:
But they took Elizabeth in as an equal. There was no color line. She loved them, they loved her. And there was a willingness and a vision that everybody had to build this town.

Mike Sauceda:
After Arizona statehood, Freeman says that changed when white southerners began moving into Wickenburg.

Dennis Freeman:
When people came from the outside who were not familiar with her history, suddenly she became just an African-American person and she was subject to the prejudice that the people brought with them. And she had to go underground. She had to go underground. She had to take off those velvet dresses, take off those fancy hats and those beautiful gloves. She had to dress in the clothes of a maid in her hotel just because they didn't want her to be too uppity. She was no longer allowed to attend the Presbyterian Church that she helped to found. You can go there and look at their founding charter. There's Elizabeth's name right on it. She was no longer allowed to attend the social gatherings of women who would get together for whist games. And even people that she had helped financially get their own businesses started would cross the street when they saw her coming the other way.

Mike Sauceda:
The lingering effects of that racism endured even into this century. It was in approximately in 2001 that a mannequin of a prostitute was removed from the upper window of the display at the Desert Caballeros exhibit left over from the days of attempts to label the Vernetta Hotel as a brothel.

Dennis Freeman:
This is Elizabeth Hudson Smith's site, this plain bronze plaque was put there by an uncle who was a dentist from the Midwest for her.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story ended when she died in 1935. Her death shrouded in mystery.

Dennis Freeman:
There are two points of view about how Elizabeth Hudson Smith died. When I spoke to Tony O'Brien, who is an Anglo man, he told me that Elizabeth Hudson Smith had been long-suffering with a long-lingering illness. Because Tony had gone to her farm and she had given Tony O'Brien her cattle to take care of because she was not physically strong enough to take care of matters of her farm.

Dennis Freeman:
When I spoke to Doc Garcia who was the grandson of Ygnacio Garcia, Doc said, well, what I remember about Mrs. Smith was she was walking by the house and she told us she was going to the doctor because she had a little head cold. And the next day she was dead. So there is the opinion that she either had a long-lingering illness or possibly she was poisoned, because all of her land disappeared. But those are, as you know, those are very sensitive issues in this town.

Mike Sauceda:
Freeman says a will was never found, and her beloved Vernetta Hotel, her other properties and $50,000 in cash never went to her nieces and nephews. She never had children of her own.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's story was largely forgotten as the state and Wickenburg moved forward. However, her story was revived at the play Freeman wrote in 1998 titled "The Wickenburg Way". The play featured an act about Smith and it led to healing for the town. That was brought home by the actions of the then oldest man in Wickenburg who had been a friend of Smith's.

Dennis Freeman:
Tony O'Brien walked up to the actress, Mary Kelly. His face was wet with tears. And he stood in front of Mary and said, Elizabeth, it's me, Tony and put his arms around her. And for a 20-foot circle around those two, everybody burst into tears.

Mike Sauceda:
Smith's ghost is said to haunt the stairwell and other parts of the old Vernetta Hotel which is now the administrative offices of a Christian bulimia and anorexic clinic. One story says she even made a pot of coffee after a request by a businessman who had an office in the old hotel. Smith's heyday is long gone but her legacy is just starting to bloom again.

Dennis Freeman:
I would like history once and for all to reveal Elizabeth Hudson Smith as the deeply responsible, wonderful flower of a human being that she was.

José Cárdenas:
Tomorrow we continue to celebrate black history month with a profile of another African-American woman who was significant in Arizona's history. The Dodie London excellence in public service series recently got underway, the program named after the only female past chairman of the Arizona Republican Party recruits women who are interested in participating in public service in some capacity. Its founder Christine Olson is a former committee woman for the republican national committee in Pennsylvania and C.E.O. Of a natural gas drilling company. She joins us now to talk about the program. Ms. Olson welcome to horizon.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
Now The current status of this program, what is it?

Christine Olson: Well we actually just announced it two weeks ago. And we are now gathering our applicant pool. We're looking for women all over the state of Arizona, republican women who want to increase their level of activity in public service.

Jose Cardenas:
And the principal purpose of the program is increasing activity but in what way? How do you do that?

Christine Olson:
Well if you want to run for public office, if you want to position yourself for a board or commission, or you just want to be a great party worker. All we're asking is that- you know we'll invest in you for a year and we want you to make a commitment to invest in your in your community for the rest of your life at some level.

Jose Cardenas:
Who would make the best candidates for this kind of program?

Christine Olson:
Oh Jose, it goes from stay-at-home moms to corporate C.E.O's. What I found in Pennsylvania where I started the program five years ago was that women are -- we're wired a little differently. And I was trying to recruit women to run for political office. They said, oh, well, I don't have a Ph.D. in political science. And you go to a man, if he voted once he feels like he's qualified to run for president. And it's not a knock on gender, it's just the reality.

Jose Cardenas:
If he thinks if he has an opinion then he wants to share it.

Christine Olson:
You've got it. So we want to do, is we want to create- give women the tools that they need to feel comfortable in participating in the process. So what we created was a curriculum that goes soup to nuts, everything that you ever wanted to know about being involved in public service, and we do that over a nine month period. The first class will start in October and it will finish in early June. And when we finish the class in early June we want women to feel that they've got every tool that they need to participate in the process, whatever that part of the process is.

Jose Cardenas:
And When you're trying to encourage women to get involved, what do you tell them as to why it's important that more women to be involved in politics?

Christine Olson:
Well, you know, politics affect every aspect of our life. And I was recruited originally then Governor Ridge to serve on the national committee and I told him I didn't have time. I was a corporate C.E.O. And I had made my second acquisition. I had three kids, 8, 6 and 3, and I was recently divorced. And I said, "I don't have time." and he said, "Christine, I see what you're doing." I had created a retreat for female C.E.O.s from all over the world. He said, "I see what you're doing to support and advance women. If you believe that women should have a voice in the political process and in policy in our country, you can't say no. You have to be involved in this." and he was right. If we want to be represented and the laws that are enacted affect all of us, and we need to have a voice in that, and that's why women need to be a part of the process.

Jose Cardenas:
And how do they become a part of your process, the program that you run?

Christine Olson:
Well we have a website which is azgopforwomen.org. They can go to that website and download the application, fill out the application and get it into us. And just even go to the website to see whether or not it's something they're interested in. But I'm anxious to find women from all over Arizona who want to take an interest in the political process. It's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
And what happens after they've gone through the course and then they decide to run for office?

Christine Olson:
Well, we'll support them. Our network will help them move forward. We do not -- we do not go against endorsed candidates. We do not go against incumbents. But once they're through that part of the process, that network comes to them and supports them in every way. I have this straight story of a woman who wanted to run for city council in a town in Pennsylvania. And the good old boys decided, well, we don't want a woman. So when they sent out their mailer they had two republicans and one democrat. This is the county Republican party. And there were three guys. Our network of alums found out about it. 40 of our alums went in and door knocked for this woman for four days before the election. We raised an additional $20,000 for cable media buy. This young lady was the highest vote getter, even higher than the mayor who is very popular. And she is now positioning herself to run for the state house. And it was all because of this network of women who have come together to understand that we need to support each other.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, we've got a little less than a minute left. Your final thoughts on the program and the kind of people who should be involved and why.

Christine Olson:
We need people from every walk of life. And the program, it's about training women. But it's about engaging men and women in the process. We need -- we need mentors. We need role models, whether they're female or male. And so anyone that really wants to get involved and help advance women within the republican party, please go to our website and see what it's all about, because it's very important.

Jose Cardenas:
Christine Olson, thank you for joining us on Horizon to talk about this important program.

Christine Olson:
Thank you, Jose.

Jose Cardenas:
to watch video of tonight's program, read transcripts and get information about upcoming Horizon stories please visit our website at azpbs.org.

Larry Lemmons:
He went to a segregated school in phoenix and later made it all the way phoenix city council. As we celebrate black history month on horizon we look at the amazing life of Calvin Goode. What challenges did he face in a segregated society and what's he up to now? Calvin Goode Wednesday at 7:00 on horizon.

Jose Cardenas:
That's Horizon for this Tuesday evening. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thank you for watching.

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