Betty Ford will long be remembered for her active support of the Equal Rights Amendment, her fights with breast cancer and substance abuse, and her later involvement with the addiction treatment center that bears her name.
But perhaps even more than these struggles, she is remembered as a paragon of candor and courage, an outspoken woman whose public positions did not always conform with those of her husband.
For confronting her personal demons Betty Ford also became a symbol of courage for women throughout the nation. Her inspiring story will be told by historian John Robert Greene on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
An independent free spirit who regularly ranks among the most-admired first ladies, Ford is considered by many to be the most outspoken since Eleanor Roosevelt. She said what she thought, speaking her mind publicly and frequently, sometimes sending the president's political advisors running for cover.
Though only in the White House for two and a half years, her candor, her successes and failures, and the overall impact of her personality on the country and especially American women should not be underestimated.
John Robert Greene is the Schupf Professor of History and Humanities at Cazenovia College. Among his many books are Betty Ford, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford, The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Ford Administrations, and America in the Sixties. An expert on the presidency, he has often appeared as a commentator in television documentaries like Betty Ford, American Experience: George W. Bush, and To the Best of My Ability: The American Presidency.
The program is part of the 2013 Beyond the Gowns series on American first ladies and is made possible by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Legacy Fund grants to the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.