Betty Trapp Chapman – Author Interview

Rough Road to Justice by Betty Trapp Chapman

Rough Road to Justice by Betty Trapp Chapman.

What inspired you to write Rough Road to Justice:The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas?

So little has been written about Texas women’s entry into the workplace, especially the professions. I felt that this omission kept our history from being complete. When I was asked to work on this project, I was thrilled to be able to put the spotlight on women, not only their difficult experiences but also on their successes in the legal arena.

What did you find most rewarding about the experience of writing Rough Road to Justice?

It was so rewarding to uncover the many stories about these women–face to face, through e-mails, or just by reading about them. Each truly became alive to me, even those I never met and those who lived years ago. Their determination and dedication to their pursuit was so very real to me that at times I felt as though I was sharing in their experiences.

What was your most interesting experience when researching Rough Road to Justice?

When you are researching, it is always a high point when you find a piece of information that confirms what you have read as fact. I was able to find the newspaper article in a 1902 issue of the El Paso newspaper that told about Edith Locke (the state’s first licensed female attorney) passing her bar examination. A librarian at the El Paso Public Library sent me a copy of the article. Holding that in my hand was like finding a buried treasure on my hunt for information. And, of course, there were many experiences like this one.

State one compelling reason why attorneys should have this book on their shelves.

Rough Road to Justice is a valuable piece of women’s history in that it recounts what was happening in the lives of females who aspired to become attorneys. It is also, I think, an important piece of American history because our Texas women were having the same experiences as women across the country in gaining equal rights – in this case, to practice law. Young women today may not be able to imagine this kind of discrimination and it, hopefully, makes all of us appreciate where we are today. It certainly, I hope deepens our appreciation for those pioneering women who made today possible.

What are you reading now?

I tend to have several books going at any one time. Right now I am reading: a biography of Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in a U.S. president’s cabinet; a collection of John Cheever’s short stories; and a fascinating book titled, Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History.

To order Rough Road to Justice: The Journey of Women Lawyers in Texas, call the State Bar Sales Desk at 800.204.2222, ext. 411 or follow this link.

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