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“If a Door Opens, A Journey With Frances Perkins.” written by Taos playwright Charlotte Keefe will be 7:30 p.m., July 26 at the Toolshed in Dixon, for a one night only showing.
The play is a one-woman show starring Keefe and is a tribute to one of the most important and influential women in the United States.
“If A Door Opens” gives insight through a series of stories that informs the audience of Frances Perkins’ life and all she did as the first woman to be secretary of labor.
Perkins came from a New England middle-class family, but became acutely aware of the poverty that was pervasive among immigrants who worked long hours for little pay in unsafe factories.
As a young woman she volunteered at settlement houses and lobbied for labor laws. Her work caught the attention of two New York governors, Al Smith who appointed her to the industrial commission and Franklin Roosevelt who appointed her as head of the New York Labor Department.
As President, Roosevelt appointed her as Secretary of Labor. She was the first woman in the history of the United States to be appointed to the Presidential Cabinet. In this position, she became an architect of the New Deal programs. Perkins established maximum work hours and minimum wage laws, the abolishment of child labor and the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively. Because of her persistence and leadership the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935.
At the time of her death, then-Secretary of Labor William Wirtz said, “Every man and woman who works for a living wage, under safe conditions, for reasonable hours, or is protected by unemployment compensation or Social Security, is her debtor.”
This is the first play written by Keefe. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, she now lives in Taos.
A retired professor of special education, she watched a presentation about Perkins and was in awe of the accomplishments this little known woman. “I think she has been forgotten and I hope people walk away educated on what a great woman she was,” Keefe said.
After about nine months of research on the life of Perkins, Keefe wrote the play as a one-woman show.
“If A Door Opens” has been performed several times in Taos, Lubbock, Texas and Santa Fe. “While the play is a history lesson, it is one that is full of drama, humor and passion,” Keefe said.
For reservations for the one night show, email email@example.com or call 575-751-7015.