Americana: Parlare, Parlare in Maryland

The great seal of Maryland bears the Italian aphorism Fatti maschii, parole femine, which comes from Colony Founder Lord Baltimore's coat of arms and is stamped on all official documents. One translation is "Deeds are manly, words are womanly," though a looser rendering is "Let women talk and men act." The motto has irritated feminists, who have been trying for years but have failed to get it changed. Now Republican Senator Howard A. Denis of Montgomery County has taken up the women's cause, urging that a special commission search for a nonsexist alternative.

At the risk of provoking a head-on battle with...

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