Friday, December 9, 2016

Ex-Slave Angie Garrett's Christmas Memories



Angie Garrett was a slave on a boat owned by Capt Mooring running between Mobile, Alabama, and Aberdeen, Mississippi. On land, they lived in Dekalb:


"Us didn't git no presents at Christmas. Sometimes us had a cornshuckin'."




Photos & quotes from The Slave Narratives, a collection of over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a 10-year period. In 1929, both Fisk University in Tennessee & Southern University in Louisiana began to document the life stories of former American slaves. Kentucky State College continued the work in 1934. In the midst of the Depression between 1936-1939, these narratives continued to be collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. They were assembled & microfilmed in 1941, as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. The collection includes photos of the interviewees taken in the 1930s as well as their full interviews. Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from 1 to 50 at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than 2/3 were over 80 when they were interviewed.

The obvious problem is the language as reported by the interviewers. The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed...The interviewers were writers, not professionals trained in the phonetic transcription of speech...by the 1930s, when the interviews took place, white representations of black speech already had an ugly history of entrenched stereotype dating back at least to the early nineteenth century." What most white interviewers assumed to be "the usual" patterns of their informants' speech was unavoidably influenced by the 1930s preconceptions & stereotypes of the interviewers themselves. "The result, as the historian Lawrence W. Levine has written, "is a mélange of accuracy & fantasy, of sensitivity & stereotype, of empathy & racism" that may sometimes be offensive to today's readers. Yet whatever else they may be, the representations of speech in the narratives are a pervasive & forceful reminder that these documents are not only a record of a time that was already history when they were created: they are themselves irreducibly historical, the products of a particular time & particular places..."
.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Confederate Civil War Christmas Memories of Anita Dwyers Withers in Virginia



DIARY OF ANITA DWYER WITHERS 1860-1865

A devout Roman Catholic, Anita Dwyer Withers, wife of a United States and Confederate army officer, lived at her home in San Antonio, Texas, and briefly in Washington, D.C., before the Civil War, and in Richmond, Virginia, during the war, before returning to Texas in 1865. The diary, 4 May 1860-18 June 1865, mainly records her life in the Confederate capital, her concerns for her husband, John (d. 1892) and children, social visits, the Catholic Church, news from battles, rumors and threats of approaching federal troops, and temporary visits away from the city. See Documenting the American South (DocSouth.unc.edu), a digital publishing initiative of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Christmas Day 25th. [Dec.] Wednesday. [1861]
We went to Church at 10 O'clock. Father McMullen preached a very good sermon. After Church we all went to Mr. John Purcell's and took a glass of egg-nog, and from there we went to see the Sisters, Mrs. Randolph took us ladies in her carriage. (The Stable of Bethlehem was beautiful.) The little Orphans sang for us. About five we walked up to Mr. Menard's to dine--we returned about nine..."

1862
"Christmas day I went to Church at half past ten. My Husband was busy and could not go--he had to attend to every thing for Mrs. Whiting, her husband had to be buried the same afternoon--It was the saddest Christmas I ever spent--no person dined out, though many were invited. We were to have dined at Mr. John Purcell's."

1863
"On Christmas day Col. Williams & his family, Capt. Wade & Capt. Myers & wife dined with us. We had a mighty nice dinner--cake, Jelly, Blanc Mange and many nice things."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ex-Slave Alice Houston's Christmas Memories



Alice Houston was born October 22, 1859. She was a slave of Judge Jim Watkins on his small plantation in Hays County, near San Marcos, Texas and served as house girl to his wife, Mrs. Lillie Watkins for many years after the Civil War. At Mrs. Watkins' death she moved with her husband, Jim Houston, to San Angelo, Texas, where she continued her services as mid wife and nurse:

"On Christmas and New Year we would have all de good things old marster and ole missus had and when any of de white folks marry or die dey sho' carry on big. Weddin's and funerals, dem was de biggest times."

Photos & quotes from The Slave Narratives, a collection of over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a 10-year period. In 1929, both Fisk University in Tennessee & Southern University in Louisiana began to document the life stories of former American slaves. Kentucky State College continued the work in 1934. In the midst of the Depression between 1936-1939, these narratives continued to be collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. They were assembled & microfilmed in 1941, as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. The collection includes photos of the interviewees taken in the 1930s as well as their full interviews. Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from 1 to 50 at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than 2/3 were over 80 when they were interviewed.


The obvious problem is the language as reported by the interviewers. The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed...The interviewers were writers, not professionals trained in the phonetic transcription of speech...by the 1930s, when the interviews took place, white representations of black speech already had an ugly history of entrenched stereotype dating back at least to the early nineteenth century." What most white interviewers assumed to be "the usual" patterns of their informants' speech was unavoidably influenced by the 1930s preconceptions & stereotypes of the interviewers themselves. "The result, as the historian Lawrence W. Levine has written, "is a mélange of accuracy & fantasy, of sensitivity & stereotype, of empathy & racism" that may sometimes be offensive to today's readers. Yet whatever else they may be, the representations of speech in the narratives are a pervasive & forceful reminder that these documents are not only a record of a time that was already history when they were created: they are themselves irreducibly historical, the products of a particular time & particular places...".

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Confederate Civil War Christmas Memories of Mary Chestnut 1863-64 in South Carolina

Mary Chestnut's A Diary From Dixie:

Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut, 1823-1886, was born in Stateburg, South Carolina, in the High Hills of Santee, to Mary Boykin and her husband, Stephen Decatur Miller. Her father had served as a U.S. Representative (1817-19). He later became the governor of South Carolina (1829-30) and a U.S. Senator (1831-31). She was educated in Charleston at Mme. Talvande's French School for Young Ladies, where she became fluent in French and German and received a strong education. On April 23, 1840, Mary Boykin Miller married James Chesnut, Jr., a lawyer and politician eight years her senior. Like her father, he became a U.S. Senator from South Carolina and served from 1858 until South Carolina's secession from the Union in 1860. Once the Civil War broke out, James Chesnut, Jr. became an aide to President Jefferson Davis and a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. Mary Boykin Chestnut began her diary on February 15, 1861, and ended it on August 2, 1865. During much of that time she lived at Mulberry Plantation in Camden, South Carolina, in the midst of thousands of acres of plantation and woodland but with many visitors. The diary was of her impression of events as they unfolded during the Civil War. She analyzed the changing political fortunes of the South and its various classes. She also portrayed southern society and the mixed roles of men and women, and complex situations related to slavery. See Documenting the American South (DocSouth.unc.edu), a digital publishing initiative of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Christmas Day, 1863.
Yesterday dined with the Prestons. Wore one of my handsomest Paris dresses (from Paris before the war). Three magnificent Kentucky generals were present, with Senator Orr from South Carolina, and Mr. Miles...Others dropped in after dinner; some without arms, some without legs; von Borcke, who can not speak because of a wound in his throat...Poor fellows, they laugh at wounds. "And they yet can show many a scar." We had for dinner oyster soup, besides roast mutton, ham, boned turkey, wild duck, partridge, plum pudding, sauterne, burgundy, sherry, and Madeira. There is life in the old land yet!


1864 December 27th.
Oh, why did we go to Camden? The very dismalest Christmas overtook us there. Miss Rhett went with us - a brilliant woman and very agreeable. "The world, you know, is composed," said she, "of men, women, and Rhetts" (see Lady Montagu). Now, we feel that if we are to lose our negroes, we would as soon see Sherman free them as the Confederate Government; freeing negroes is the last Confederate Government craze. We are a little too slow about it; that is all.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ex-Slave Eda Rains' Christmas Memories


Eda Rains was born a slave in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1853. In 1860 Eda, her brothers and mother, were bought by a Mr. Carter and brought to Texas:


"Now, I mus' tell you all 'bout Christmas. Our bigges' time was at Christmas. Marster'd give us maybe fo'-bits to spend as we wanted and maybe we'd buy a string of beads or some sech notion. On Christmas Eve we played games. 'Young Gel Loves Candy,' or 'Hide and Whoop.' Didn' know nothin' 'bout Santa Claus, never was larned that. But we allus knowed what we'd git on Christmas mornin'. Old Marster allus call us togedder and give us new clothes, shoes too. He allus wen' to town on the Eve and brung back our things in a cotton sack. That ole sack'd be crammed full of things and we knowed it was clothes and shoes, 'cause Marster didn' 'lieve in no foolishness. We got one pair shoes a year, at Christmas. Most times they was red and I'd allus paint mine black. I's one nigger didn' like red. I'd skin grease off dishwater, mix it with soot from the chimney and paint my shoes. In winter we wore woolen clothes and got 'em at Christmas, too."

Photos & quotes from The Slave Narratives, a collection of over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a 10-year period. In 1929, both Fisk University in Tennessee & Southern University in Louisiana began to document the life stories of former American slaves. Kentucky State College continued the work in 1934. In the midst of the Depression between 1936-1939, these narratives continued to be collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. They were assembled & microfilmed in 1941, as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. The collection includes photos of the interviewees taken in the 1930s as well as their full interviews. Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from 1 to 50 at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than 2/3 were over 80 when they were interviewed.

The obvious problem is the language as reported by the interviewers. The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed...The interviewers were writers, not professionals trained in the phonetic transcription of speech...by the 1930s, when the interviews took place, white representations of black speech already had an ugly history of entrenched stereotype dating back at least to the early nineteenth century." What most white interviewers assumed to be "the usual" patterns of their informants' speech was unavoidably influenced by the 1930s preconceptions & stereotypes of the interviewers themselves. "The result, as the historian Lawrence W. Levine has written, "is a mélange of accuracy & fantasy, of sensitivity & stereotype, of empathy & racism" that may sometimes be offensive to today's readers. Yet whatever else they may be, the representations of speech in the narratives are a pervasive & forceful reminder that these documents are not only a record of a time that was already history when they were created: they are themselves irreducibly historical, the products of a particular time & particular places..."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Confederate Civil War Christmas Memories of Mary Jeffreys Bethell 1861-1862 in North Carolina


Diary of Mary Jeffreys Bethell, January 1st 1861 - Dec. 1865:

Mary Jeffreys Bethell, born in 1821, was the daughter of Phereba Hinton Jeffreys and farmer and Methodist preacher George Washington Jeffreys (1794-1849). She married William D. Bethell in 1840 and spent most of her life in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Mary Jeffreys Bethell's diary has infrequent entries beginning on 1 January 1853 and ending 6 January 1873. Diary entries discuss Bethell's home and neighbors; her religious activities; the activities of her children, several of whom died young, and children in the Torrien family, whom Bethell referred to as nieces and nephews and who lived in the Bethell household for many years. There are frequent mention of Bethell's journeys with her husband to Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and thoughts of moving the family out of North Carolina. During the Civil War, the diary also includes the activities of sons Willie and George in the Confederate Army, including George's adventures with the 44th North Carolina Regiment and his capture and imprisonment at Johnson Island. Bethell's husband joined the Army in 1864, after which Bethell wrote of the difficulties she endured in her husband's absence, including the departure of their slaves. See Documenting the American South (DocSouth.unc.edu), a digital publishing initiative of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

December 25, 1861
This is Christmas day, a beautiful day but very cold, how different this Christmas from last, now our Country is filled with armies to defend our country from the Northern army, many bloody battles have been fought, hundreds have been killed on both sides, and a great many soldiers have died in the camp from disease and want of attention while sick, it is sad to contemplate, perhaps the Lord is chastising his church, I believe he permits it for our good.I have two sons in the army, they have enjoyed fine health, the Lord has blessed them, I thank and praise him for it. I hope and pray that they may get home safe to my arms.

December 25, 1862
This is Christmas day, a most lovely day for the season, it is almost like Spring. I hope 'tis a token of good, that the Lord is going to bless us if it is his will. I hope the war will soon close and that we may have peace..

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ex-Slave Molly Ammond's Christmas Memories


Ex Alabama Slave Molly Ammond:

"Us was treated fine. Our folks was quality. We had plenty somp'n t'eat, but dem slaves hadda work powerful hard though. Atter dey come home fum de fields dey was so tired dat dey go right to sleep, except when de massa had barbecues. Christmas was de big time; dere was several days to res' an' make merryin'..."


Photos & quotes from The Slave Narratives, a collection of over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a 10-year period. In 1929, both Fisk University in Tennessee & Southern University in Louisiana began to document the life stories of former American slaves. Kentucky State College continued the work in 1934. In the midst of the Depression between 1936-1939, these narratives continued to be collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. They were assembled & microfilmed in 1941, as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. The collection includes photos of the interviewees taken in the 1930s as well as their full interviews. Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from 1 to 50 at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than 2/3 were over 80 when they were interviewed.

The obvious problem is the language as reported by the interviewers. The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed...The interviewers were writers, not professionals trained in the phonetic transcription of speech...by the 1930s, when the interviews took place, white representations of black speech already had an ugly history of entrenched stereotype dating back at least to the early nineteenth century." What most white interviewers assumed to be "the usual" patterns of their informants' speech was unavoidably influenced by the 1930s preconceptions & stereotypes of the interviewers themselves. "The result, as the historian Lawrence W. Levine has written, "is a mélange of accuracy & fantasy, of sensitivity & stereotype, of empathy & racism" that may sometimes be offensive to today's readers. Yet whatever else they may be, the representations of speech in the narratives are a pervasive & forceful reminder that these documents are not only a record of a time that was already history when they were created: they are themselves irreducibly historical, the products of a particular time & particular places..."
.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Confederate Civil War Christmas Memories of Dolly Sumner Lunt 1864 in Georgia


A Woman's Wartime Journal: an Account of the Passage over Georgia's Plantationof Sherman's Army on the March to the Sea, as Recorded in the Diary of Dolly Sumner Lunt (Mrs. Thomas Burge) :

Dolly Lunt Burge, 1817-1891, was born in Maine in 1817. As a young woman, moved from Maine to Georgia with her physician husband in the 1840s. By the time she began her diary at age thirty, Dolly had lost her husband and her only living child to illness. A devout and self-sufficient schoolteacher, she soon married again, to Thomas Burge, a planter and widowed father of four. In 1855, she gave birth to their daughter, Sarah, called Sadai. Upon her second husband's death in 1858, Dolly independently ran the plantation, located in Mansfield. She remained there during the Civil War, witnessing Sherman's march through the area. Dolly married a final time, in 1866, to Rev. William Parks, a prominent Methodist minister. Dolly's diary is filled with news about her daughter, her struggles, and her slaves. See Documenting the American South (DocSouth.unc.edu), a digital publishing initiative of the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

DECEMBER 24, 1864.
This has usually been a very busy day with me, preparing for Christmas not only for my own tables, but for gifts for my servants. Now how changed! No confectionery, cakes, or pies can I have. We are all sad; no loud, jovial laugh from our boys is heard. Christmas Eve, which has ever been gaily celebrated here, which has witnessed the popping of fire-crackers [the Southern custom of celebrating Christmas with fireworks] and the hanging up of stockings, is an occasion now of sadness and gloom. I have nothing even to put in Sadai's stocking, which hangs so invitingly for Santa Claus. How disappointed she will be in the morning, though I have explained to her why he cannot come. Poor children! Why must the innocent suffer with the guilty?


DECEMBER 25, 1864.
Sadai jumped out of bed very early this morning to feel in her stocking. She could not believe but that there would be something in it. Finding nothing, she crept back into bed, pulled the cover over her face, and I soon heard her sobbing. The little negroes all came in: "Christmas gift, mist'ess! Christmas gift, mist'ess!" I pulled the cover over my face and was soon mingling my tears with Sadai's.
.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ex-slave Teshan Young, about 86, Christmas Memories


Teshan remembered, "When do chores am done on Sunday or Christmas, we'uns can have de music, dance and singin'. We'uns have some good ole times. De songs am de ole timers, sich as Swanee River, Ole Black Joe and dere am de fiddles and banjos dat dey play. We'uns sho' celebrate on Christmas. De women all cooks cakes and cookies and sich. De men saves all de bladders from de hawgs dey kill, blows 'em full of air and lots 'em dry. De young'uns puts dem on sticks and holds 'em over a fire in de yard. Dat makes 'em bust and dey goes 'bang' jus' like a gun. Dat was de fireworks."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Women on the North American Canadian Frontier in 19C - by Dutch-born Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872

Cornelius Krieghoff (Dutch-born Canadian painter, 1815-1872) Crossing the Saint Lawrence from Levis to Quebec on a Sleigh

Cornelius Krieghoff 1815-1872 was born in Amsterdam, spent his formative years in Bavaria, & studied in Rotterdam & Dusseldorf. He traveled to the United States in the 1830s, where he served in the Army for a few years. He married a young woman from Quebec & moved to the Montreal area, where he painted genre paintings of the people & countryside of Canada. According to Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery, "Krieghoff was the first Canadian artist to interpret in oils... the splendour of our waterfalls, & the hardships & daily life of people living on the edge of new frontiers" Krieghoff moved to Quebec from 1854-1863, before he came to Chicago to live with his daughter.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ex-slave Mariah Snyder, about 89, Remembers 19C America


Mariah related, "Master Sam had a colored man on the place that give us our A B C's. I'se still got mine, but warn't ever able to get any farther. There was a big pine arbor on the place where we 'tended preaching. A white preacher, Rollin, preached to us and the white fo'ks too...There was no funeral services for the Negroes when they died."

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
Photo from 20th century.

Monday, November 28, 2016

19C Southern Emancipated Slave Woman by William Aiken Walker 1839-1921

Freed Female Slave by William Aiken Walker (American genre artist, 1839-1921 best known for depicting poor black emancipated slaves in the post-Reconstruction American South.) 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Slave Narratives: Process & Problems

Twenty-Eight Fugitives Escaping from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  From Still, William, The Underground Rail Road... (Philadelphia, 1883).

Photos and quotes of former slaves used in these blog posts come from the Slave Narratives. This collection contains over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected over a ten-year period. In 1929, both Fisk University in Tennessee and Southern University in Louisiana began to document the life stories of former American slaves. Kentucky State College continued the work in 1934. In the midst of the Depression between 1936 and 1939, these narratives continued to be collected as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the WPA, the Works Progress Administration. They were assembled and microfilmed in 1941, as the 17-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. The collection includes photos of the interviewees taken in the 1930s as well as their full interviews. Those whose voices are included in the collection ranged in age from one to fifty at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than two-thirds were over eighty when they were interviewed.

The problem that I have with these interviews is the language as reported by the interviewers, but I do not retranscribe it into "correct" English, no matter how much it tempts me.The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed...The interviewers were writers, not professionals trained in the phonetic transcription of speech...by the 1930s, when the interviews took place, white representations of black speech already had an ugly history of entrenched stereotype dating back at least to the early nineteenth century." What most white interviewers assumed to be "the usual" patterns of their informants' speech was unavoidably influenced by the 1930s preconceptions and stereotypes of the interviewers themselves. The result, as the historian Lawrence W. Levine has written, "is a mélange of accuracy and fantasy, of sensitivity and stereotype, of empathy and racism" that may sometimes be offensive to today's readers. Yet whatever else they may be, the representations of speech in the narratives are a pervasive and forceful reminder that these documents are not only a record of a time that was already history when they were created: they are themselves irreducibly historical, the products of a particular time and particular places..."

Friday, November 25, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - Abby Kelley Foster 1811-1887

“Go where least wanted, for there you are most needed.”  A major figure in the national anti-slavery and women’s rights movements, she spent more than twenty years traveling the country as a tireless crusader for social justice and equality for all.

Foster was born into a Quaker family in Pelham, Massachusetts in 1811, and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts at a time when society demanded that women be silent, submissive and obedient.  After attending boarding school, she held teaching positions in Worcester, Millbury and Lynn, Massachusetts.

In Lynn, she joined the Female Anti-Slavery Society, where she became corresponding secretary and later, a national delegate to the first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in 1837.  The following year, Foster made her first public speech against slavery, and was so well received that she abandoned her teaching career and returned to Millbury.  There, she founded the Millbury Anti-Slavery Society and began lecturing for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

During the next two decades, Foster served as a lecturer, fundraiser, recruiter and organizer in the fight for abolition and suffrage.  In 1850, she helped develop plans for the National Women’s Rights Convention in Massachusetts.  There, she gave one of her most well-known speeches, in which she challenged women to demand the responsibilities as well as the privileges of equality, noting “Bloody feet, sisters, have worn smooth the path by which you come hither.”

In 1854, Foster became the chief fundraiser for the American Anti-Slavery Society, and by 1857, she was its general agent.  Through the American Anti-Slavery Society, Foster continued to work for the ratification of the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments.

In her later years, once slavery was abolished and the rights of freedmen were guaranteed, Foster focused her activism primarily on women’s rights.  She held meetings, arranged lectures, and called for ‘severe language’ in any resolutions that were adopted.  In 1868, she was among the organizers of the founding convention of the New England Woman Suffrage Association, the first regional association advocating woman suffrage.  Foster’s efforts were among those that helped lay the groundwork for the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - Women's Rights Convention 1848 Seneca Falls, New York

Report of the Woman's Rights Convention 1848



A Convention to discuss the SOCIAL, CIVIL, AND RELIGIOUS CONDITION OF WOMAN, was called by the Women of Seneca County, N.Y., and held at the village of Seneca Falls, in the Wesleyan Chapel, on the 19th and 20th of July, 1848...

Whereas, the great precept of nature is conceded to be; "that man shall pursue his own true and substantial happiness." Blackstone, in his Commentaries, remarks, that this law of Nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times; not human laws are of any validity if contrary to this, and such of them as are valid, derive all their force, and all their validity, and all their authority, mediately and immediately, from this original; Therefore,


Resolved, That such laws as conflict, in any way, with the true and substantial happiness of woman, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and of no validity; for this is "superior in obligation to any other."


Resolved, That all laws which prevent woman from occupying such a station in society as her conscience shall dictate, or which place her in a position inferior to that of man, are contrary to the great precept of nature, and therefore of no force or authority.


Resolved, That woman is man's equal--was intended to be so by the Creator, and the highest good of the race demands that she should be recognized as such.


Resolved, That the women of this country ought to be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer publish their degradation, by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, not their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.


Resolved, That inasmuch as man, while claiming for himself intellectual superiority, does accord to woman moral superiority, it is pre-eminently his duty to encourage her to speak, and teach as she has an opportunity, in all religious assemblies.


Resolved, That the same amount of virtue, delicacy, and refinement of behavior, that is required of woman in the social state, should also be required of man, and the same transgressions should be visited with equal severity on both man and woman.


Resolved, That the objection of indelicacy and impropriety, which is so often brought against woman when she addresses a public audience, comes with a very ill grace from those who encourage, by their attendance, her appearance on the stage, in the concert, or in the feats of the circus.


Resolved, That woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.


Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.


Resolved, That the equality of human rights results necessarily from the fact of the identity of the race in capabilities and responsibilities.


Resolved, Therefore, That, being invested by the Creator with the same capabilities, and the same consciousness of responsibility for their exercise, it is demonstrably the right and duty of woman, equally with man, to promote every righteous cause, by every righteous means; and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion, it is self-evidently her right to participate with her brother in teaching them, both in private and in public, by writing and by speaking, by any instrumentalities proper to be used, and in any assemblies proper to be held; and this being a self-evident truth, growing out of the divinely implanted principles of human nature, and custom or authority adverse to it, whether modern or wearing the hoary sanction of antiquity, is to be regarded as self-evident falsehood, and at war with the interests of mankind...


Declaration of Sentiments


When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.


We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves, by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.


The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.


He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.


He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.


He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men - both natives and foreigners.


Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.


He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.


He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.


He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes, with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master - the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.


He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women - the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.


After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.


He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.


He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.


He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education - all colleges being closed against her.


He allows her in Church as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.


He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.


He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.


He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.


Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation, - in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.


In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.


Firmly relying upon the final triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.



The text of this report is from the original tract produced after the Convention in the North Star Printing Office owned by Frederick Douglass, Rochester, New York. It was reprinted several times and circulated as a sales item at local and national women's rights conventions.

Held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19th and 20th, 1848. Rochester: Printed by John Dick at the North Star Office

Monday, November 21, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - Lucretia Coffin Mott 1793-1880

One of 8 children born to Quaker parents on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880) dedicated her life to the goal of human equality. As a child Mott attended Nine Partners, a Quaker boarding school located in New York, where she learned of the horrors of slavery from her readings & from visiting lecturers such as Elias Hicks, a well-known Quaker abolitionist. She also saw that women & men were not treated equally, even among the Quakers, when she discovered that female teachers at Nine Partners earned less than males. At a young age Lucretia Coffin Mott became determined to put an end to such social injustices.
Lucretia Mott (1793 - 1880), by Joseph Kyle (1815 - 1863)

In 1833 Mott, along with Mary Ann M’Clintock & nearly 30 other female abolitionists, organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1840 she was one of several American women chosen as delegates to the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London by the American Anti-Slavery Society & by other abolitionist groups. 

Arriving in England with her husband, she found the convention controlled by the rival American & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society -known to Garrisonians as the “New Organization” & its opposite number, the British & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, both opposed to public activity by women.  Despite vigorous protests by Wendell Phillips & others, the American women delegates were refused recognition & assigned seats “behind the bar.”  Though Lucretia Mott was deprived of a voice in the proceedings, she was nevertheless described by a journalist as “the lioness of the Convention” (Liberator, Oct. 23, 1840, p. 170).  

It was there, that she 1st met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was attending the convention with her husband Henry, a delegate from New York. Mott & Stanton were indignant at the fact that women were excluded from participating in the convention simply because of their gender, & that indignation would result in a discussion about holding a woman’s rights convention. Stanton later recalled this conversation in the History of Woman Suffrage:  As Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wended their way arm in arm down Great Queen Street that night, reviewing the exciting scenes of the day, they agreed to hold a woman’s rights convention on their return to America, as the men to whom they had just listened had manifested their great need of some education on that question. Thus a missionary work for the emancipation of woman…was then and there inaugurated.

Eight years later, on July 19 & 20, 1848, Mott, Stanton, Mary Ann M’Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright, & Jane Hunt acted on this idea; when they organized the First Woman’s Rights Convention.


Two weeks after Seneca Falls,  a 2nd convention was held in the Unitarian Chapel at Rochester, N.Y.  From this time on, woman’s rights claimed as much of Lucretia Mott’s attention as any of the other reforms with which she associated herself.  In a closely reasoned Discourse of Woman (1850) she attributed the alleged inferiority of women to the repressions under which her sex had always labored -unequal educational opportunities, a lower standard of wages, restricted employment, & denial of political rights.  

Throughout her life Mott remained active in both the abolition & women’s rights movements. She continued to speak out against slavery; & in 1866, she became the first president of the American Equal Rights Association, an organization formed to achieve equality for both African Americans & women.


For nearly 20 years the Motts lived & reared their children in a red brick house at 136 North Ninth Street in Philadelphia.  In 1850, they moved to 338 Arch Street, a spacious house; where they entertained on a simple but generous scale during the Quaker Yearly Meeting & the annual sessions of the reform societies & where they sometimes harbored runaway slaves. Unlike some “strong-minded” female reformers, Mott was a conscientious housekeeper who never laid herself open to the charge, that she neglected her domestic duties.  In 1857 she & her husband, now retired from business, moved to Roadside, a plain, rambling country house on the Old York Road, north of Philadelphia, where Lucretia continued her efficient housewife concerns: sewing carpet rags, cooking Nantucket blackberry pudding, raising vegetables in her kitchen garden.

Always a strong believe in the Quaker peace testimony, she regularly attended meetings of the Pennsylvania Peace Society, of which she was vice-president.  She seldom missed a woman’s rights or suffrage convention & seldom failed to be called upon for an address.  At the 1st convention of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, she was named president at the insistence of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  When in 1869, the movement split into rival factions, one led by Mrs. Stanton & Susan B Anthony, the other by Lucy Stone, Mary Livermore, & Julia Ward Howe, she sought earnestly but unsuccessfully to overcome the division.

During her last 12 years she was without the faithful support of her husband, for James Mott died on Jan. 26, 1868.  She herself lived to the age of 87,  active to the end, publicly & privately, in good causes.  

National Park Service

Saturday, November 19, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality & Bloomers - Amelia Jenks Bloomer 1818-1894

Amelia Bloomer edited the first American newspaper for women, The Lily. It was issued from 1849 until 1853. The newspaper began as a temperance journal. Bloomer felt that as women lecturers were considered unseemly, writing was the best way for women to work for reform. Originally, The Lily was to be for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society, which had formed in 1848. 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s cousin Elizabeth Smith Miller introduced the outfit and editor Amelia Bloomer publicized it in The Lily.

Like most local endeavors, the paper encountered several obstacles early on, and the Society’s enthusiasm died out. Bloomer felt a commitment to publish and assumed full responsibility for editing and publishing the paper. Originally, the title page had the legend “Published by a committee of ladies.” But after 1850 – only Bloomer’s name appeared on the masthead.
1851 Currier and Ives

Although women’s exclusion from membership in temperance societies and other reform activities was the main force that moved the Ladies Temperance Society to publish The Lily, it was not at first a radical paper. Its editorial stance conformed to the emerging stereotype of women as “defenders of the home.” 


Photo c 1855

In the first issue, Bloomer wrote:  It is woman that speaks through The Lily…Intemperance is the great foe to her peace and happiness. It is that above all that has made her Home desolate and beggared her offspring…. Surely, she has the right to wield her pen for its Suppression. Surely, she may without throwing aside the modest refinements which so much become her sex, use her influence to lead her fellow mortals from the destroyer’s path. The Lily always maintained its focus on temperance. Fillers often told horror stories about the effects of alcohol. For example, the May 1849 issue noted, “A man when drunk fell into a kettle of boiling brine at Liverpool, Onondaga Co. and was scaled to death.” But gradually, the newspaper began to include articles about other subjects of interest to women. Many were from the pen of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, writing under the pseudonym “sunflower.” The earliest Stanton’s articles dealt with the temperance, child-bearing, and education, but she soon turned to the issue of women’s rights. She wrote about laws unfair to women and demanded change.
Bloomer was greatly influenced by Stanton and gradually became a convert to the cause of women’s rights. Recalling the case of an elderly friend who was turned out of her home when her husband died without a will she wrote:  Later, other similar cases coming to my knowledge made me familiar with cruelty of the laws towards women; and when the women rights convention put forth its Declaration of Sentiments. I was ready to join with that party in demanding for women such change in laws as would give her a right to her earnings, and her children a right to wider fields of employment and a better education, and also a right to protect her interest at the ballot box.  



Bloomer became interested in dress reform, advocating that women wear the outfit that came to be known as the “Bloomer costume.”  Actually the reform of clothing for women began in the 1850s, as a result of the need for a more practical way of dressing . The reform started in New England where the social activist Elizabeth Smith Miller (1822-1911), called Libby Miller. Mrs Miller  was the daughter of abolitionists Gerrit Smith and his second wife, Ann Carroll Fitzhugh. She was a lifelong of the women's rights movement. She  became famous when she  adopted what she considered a more rational costume: Turk trousers - loose trousers gathered at the ankles like the trousers worn by Middle Eastern and Central Asian women – worn under a short dress or knee length skirt. The outfits were similar to the clothing worn by the women in the Oneida Community, a religious commune founded  by John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York in 1848.

This new fashion was soon supported by Bloomer, by then a women's rights and temperance advocate. Bloomer popularized Mr Miller’s idea in her bi-weekly publication The Lily. And this women's clothing reform soon was named bloomers. The rebellion against the voluminous and constraining fashion of the Victorian period was both a practical necessity and a focal point of social reform. Stanton and others copied a knee-length dress with pants worn by Elizabeth Smith Miller of Geneva, New York. 



For some time the "Bloomer" outfit was worn by many of the leaders in the women's rights movement, then it was abandoned because of the heavy criticism in the popular press. In 1859, Amelia Bloomer herself said that a new invention, the crinoline, was a sufficient reform.  The bloomer costume returned later, adapted and modified, as a women's athletic costume in the 1890s and early 1900s.
 1864 Godey's Lady's Book

Although Bloomer refused to take any credit for inventing the pants-and-tunic outfit, her name became associated with it because she wrote articles about the unusual dress, printed illustrations in The Lily, and wore the costume herself. In reference to her advocacy of the costume, she once wrote, “I stood amazed at the furor I had unwittingly caused.” But people certainly were interested in the new fashion. She remembered: “As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress, letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns – showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts.”  In May of 1851 Amelia Bloomer introduced Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton said, "I liked her immediately and why I did not invite her home to dinner with me I do not know."

The circulation of The Lily rose from 500 per month to 4000 per month because of the dress reform controversy. At the end of 1853, the Bloomers moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio, where Amelia Bloomer continued to edit The Lily, which by then had a national circulation of over 6000. Bloomer sold The Lily in 1854 to Mary Birdsall, because she and her husband Dexter were moving again this time to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where no facilities for publishing the paper were available. She remained a contributing editor for the two years The Lily survived after she sold it.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - Lucy Stone 1818-1893

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was an early advocate of antislavery and women’s rights. She was born in Massachusetts. After she graduated from Oberlin College in 1847, she began lecturing for the antislavery movement as a paid agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. She said in 1847, “I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex.”



Lucy Stone did not participate in the First Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, but she was an organizer of the 1850 Worcester First National Woman’s Rights Convention. She also participated in the convention and addressed the audience. It is her 1852 speech at the National Woman's Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York, which is credited for converting Susan B. Anthony to the cause of women’s rights. Lucy Stone participated in the 1852, 1853, and 1855 national woman’s rights conventions, and was president of the 1856 National Woman’s Rights Convention held in New York, New York.

In 1855 Stone married Henry Blackwell. At the ceremony the minister read a statement from the bride and groom, announcing that Stone would keep her own name. The statement said that current marriage laws “refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer on the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority, investing him with legal powers which no honorable man would exercise, and which no man should possess.” Women who followed her example called themselves "Lucy Stoners."

After the Civil War, Lucy Stone joined Frederick Douglass and others who supported the Fifteenth Amendment as a partial gain, as they continued to work for women’s rights. The passage of the Fifteenth Amendment outraged most women’s rights leaders’ because the word “male” was included for the first time in the Constitution. This debate divided the women’s rights movement. By 1869 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association and focused their efforts on a federal woman’s suffrage amendment. Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe led others to form the American Woman Suffrage Association, which chose to focus on state suffrage amendments.

By 1871 Stone had helped organize the publication of The Woman’s Journal and was co-editing the newspaper with her husband Henry Blackwell.

National Park Service

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - The Women's Rights movement & the Anti-Slavery movement

Neither Ballots nor Bullets: The Contest for Civil Rights

"Women can neither take the Ballot nor the Bullet . . .therefore to us, the right to petition is the one sacred right which we ought not to neglect." Susan B. Anthony, Address to the American Anti-Slavery Society,1863


Susan B Anthony 1820-1906

"It is, perhaps, too late to bring slavery to an end by peaceable means, -- too late to vote it down. For many years I have feared, and published my fears, that it would go out in blood. These fears have grown into a belief." Gerrit Smith, Utica Daily Observer,1859


Gerrit Smith 1797-1874

Two great early 19th-century social movements sought to end slavery and secure equal rights for women. Gerrit Smith and Susan B. Anthony helped shape these two movements. The anti-slavery movement grew from peaceful origins after the American Revolution to a Civil War, or War Between the States, that effectively ended slavery while severely damaging the women's rights movement. Wielding the ballot and the bullet as well as the petition to win the legal, political, and military contest of the Civil War, abolitionists decided the fate of slavery with the 1865 passage of the 13th Amendment. Seeking their own rights, women used more peaceful tactics but suffered long delays. Not until 1920 did women add the ballot to their arsenal of political tools.

The women's rights movement was the offspring of abolition. Many people actively supported both reforms. Several participants in the 1848 Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls had already labored in the anti-slavery movement. The organizers and their families - the Motts, Wrights, Stantons, M'Clintocks and Hunts - were active abolitionists to a greater or lesser degree. Noted abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass attended and addressed the 1848 Convention.

Both movements promoted the expansion of the American promise of liberty and equality - to African Americans and to women. How did these two movements develop and how were they related to each other? How did each develop strategies and deal with the contradiction of violence and war that results from the advocacy of peaceful change?


"...the flagrant injustice and deep sin of slavery" Preamble to the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Constitution, 1833


After the American Revolution, northern states began to abolish slavery. Many slaveholders in the upper South also freed slaves. In 1817, the American Colonization Society formed to resettle freed slaves in Africa. However, the South depended on slave labor as cotton production expanded after the 1793 invention of the cotton gin. Repressive laws and public justification of slavery followed southern slave revolts in the 1820s and 1830s.

Religious revivals during the Second Great Awakening intensified anti-slavery activity after 1830. Seeking to perfect society, adherents targeted slavery as an evil that destroyed individual free will as moral beings. Abolitionists began to demand immediate, uncompensated emancipation of slaves. In 1833, William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, Quaker Lucretia Mott, and several others formed the American Anti-Slavery Society. Women were a large part of the general membership and formed separate, local female anti-slavery branches. Mott also helped found the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1833, an organization, noted for its promotion of racial and gender equality, that included African American and white women as leaders and members. Many anti-slavery reformers, like the Quakers, came from pacifist backgrounds or espoused nonviolent social reform. They shaped public opinion by distributing newspapers and tracts, sending out organizers and lecturers, and hosting fundraising fairs. Garrison, who saw the U.S. Constitution and federal government as pro-slavery forces, observed Independence Day as a day of mourning. Lucretia Mott and Thomas M'Clintock helped form the Philadelphia Free Produce Society, which boycotted slave-made products.

Between 1838 and 1840, the American Anti-Slavery Society split into three segments, in part over the issue of women's leadership, specifically Abby Kelley's appointment to the business committee. Radical abolitionists and women's rights supporters, known as "Garrisonian" abolitionists, remained in the American Anti-Slavery Society. The newly formed American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society restricted membership to males, with auxiliaries for females. The politically minded formed the Liberty Party, limiting women's participation to fundraising. The discrimination of women in abolition and other reform movements led them to advocate for women's rights.


Timbuctoo: Gerrit Smith’s Experiment.  From 1846 through 1853, Gerrit Smith developed a plan to give away 120,000 acres of Essex and Franklin County New York, farmland to 3,000 free black men. He hoped to qualify the men to vote. Although Smith's supporters promoted the project in churches and conventions, the plan eventually failed due to poor soil, harsh Adirondack winters, and the inexperience of the farmers themselves.


"Justice and Equality:" Antislavery and Women's Rights 


"…this is the only organization on God's footstool where the humanity of woman is recognized, and these are the only men who have ever echoed back her cries for justice and equality…. All time will not be long enough to pay the debt of gratitude we owe these noble men…who roused us to a sense of our own rights, to the dignity of our high calling." Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Address to the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1860.

At the 1848 First Women's Rights Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Elizabeth and Mary Ann M'Clintock, was read and signed by 100 men and women. Claiming that "all Men and Women are created equal," the signers called for extending to women the right to vote, control property, sign legal documents, serve on juries, and enjoy equal access to education and the professions. Arguments for women's rights came from experiences in the anti-slavery movement. Angelina and Sarah Grimké of South Carolina were Quakers and effective anti-slavery speakers, although it was considered improper for women to speak before "promiscuous" audiences composed of both men and women. During a petition drive in Massachusetts in 1837, male listeners thronged to female-only lectures. While condemning slavery, the Grimkés upheld "the cause of woman as a moral being." "Sister Sarah does preach up woman's rights most nobly and fearlessly," reported Angelina to a friend. Rebuked by Congregational ministers and others for speaking to promiscuous audiences, they held their ground. To do otherwise would have been "…a violation of our fundamental principle that man & woman are created equal, & have the same duties & the same responsibilities as moral beings." As reformers, women developed organizational skills necessary for a successful social movement. They learned to write persuasively, raise funds, organize supporters and events, and speak to large groups of men and women about important political and social issues. In the service of anti-slavery, women found their voices. Between 1850 and 1860, women's rights advocates held state and national conventions and campaigned for legal changes.


The Emergence of Violence


By 1848, the Liberty Party, which had earlier split from the American Anti-Slavery Society, joined a coalition to create the Free Soil Party. Free Soilers sought to limit slavery by denying it to new territories entering the union. In July, 1848, a Free Soil Convention was held in Seneca Falls, just before the Women's Rights Convention. Some male village residents attended both conventions. Jacob P. Chamberlain and Saron Phillips, who signed the Declaration of Sentiments, were chosen as delegates to the Free Soil Party's national convention. The 1850 passage of the Fugitive Slave Law authorized federal marshals to seize and return fugitive slaves. Northern free blacks had little protection against false claims by southern slaveholders. While many free blacks fled to Canada, previously neutral northerners were enraged at the injustice.

As the U.S. expanded, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, allowing each new area to decide whether it would allow slavery. Slavery and anti-slavery supporters rushed into Kansas to claim it for their side. In 1856, after anti-slavery settlers died during an attack in Lawrence, Kansas, John Brown led a raid against pro-slavery homes along Pottawatomie Creek, killing five men in retaliation. With a warrant out for his arrest, John Brown returned east to plan a daring raid. He hoped to create a large slave insurrection in Virginia. Brown sought support among prominent abolitionists like Frederick Douglass. Elizabeth Cady Stanton's cousin, Gerrit Smith, provided financial support. A decade earlier, he had sold Brown a parcel of land in a settlement for free blacks in the Adirondacks. Now, Brown asked Smith to help finance his scheme. Smith agreed, becoming one of the "Secret Six" financiers of John Brown's raid. On October 16, 1859, John Brown and twenty-one followers launched an attack on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. When the anticipated slave revolt failed to materialize, the raid ended in dismal failure. Brown and his men were tried, convicted, and hanged. A letter in Brown's possession incriminated Smith, who went insane as a result of the publicity and threat of prosecution. A martyr in the eyes of non-violent abolitionists, Brown became a symbol of escalating violence in pursuit of emancipation.


"How Glass Our House Is" An Uneasy Truce with the War


"The death of my father, the worse than death of my dear cousin Gerrit, the martyrdom of that great and glorious John Brown, all conspire to make me regret more than ever my dwarfed womanhood.…in times like these, everyone should do the work of a full grown man." Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony, 1859

Many nonviolent reformers, concluding that slavery could only be purged by war, welcomed the outbreak of the Civil War in April, 1861. Even Quaker pacifists reluctantly supported the war if it would bring an end to slavery. David Wright's support of the war brought no criticism from sister-in-law Lucretia Mott, considering, "how glass our house is." She hoped the war "would be prosecuted with energy and faith since it was founded on so good a cause." When Horace Greeley and others pointed out that these hardly seemed the words of a pacifist, she responded, "…as the natural result of our wrong-doings and our atrocious cruelties, terrible as war must ever be, let us hope it will not be stayed by any compromise which shall continue the unequal, cruel war on the rights and liberties of millions of our unoffending fellow beings.…"

Meanwhile, the national conventions for women's rights ended. In 1864, the National Woman's Loyal League, headed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, gathered 400,000 signatures on a petition for an immediate end to slavery. Having neither access to the vote nor military service, women used the petition to support the 13th Amendment. The Civil War ended in 1865, followed by passage of the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery. In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave African-American men the right to vote. Stanton and others fought, and lost, the battle to include women in expanded suffrage. In victory over slavery, decades-long alliances were broken. The women's rights movement split and old friends in the abolition and women's rights movements parted company. Just as anti-slavery forces had divided, so too did organizations struggling for women's suffrage.
National Park Service

Monday, November 14, 2016

US Women Fighting for Equality - Mary Ann M’Clintock 1800-1884

Mary Ann M’Clintock (1800-1884) was born to Quaker parents. She married Thomas M’Clintock, a druggist and fellow Quaker, in 1820, and they lived in Philadelphia for seventeen years. During that time Mary Ann gave birth to four daughters, Elizabeth, Mary Ann, Sarah, and Julia and a son, Charles. She was recognized by her fellow Quakers as a minister and leader. By 1833 M’Clintock was a social activist when she along with Lucretia Mott and others, became founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1836 the family moved to Waterloo, New York, where they would join a network of Quaker abolitionists that included Richard and Jane Hunt and George and Margaret Pryor, Mary Ann’s half-sister. They lived in a house owned and built by Richard Hunt at 14 East Williams Street, and ran a drugstore and school in one of Hunt’s commercial buildings behind their house on Main Street in Waterloo. In 1842, at an annual convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society held in Rochester, New York, Thomas and Mary Ann became founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and helped write its constitution. They were joined by Frederick Douglass, Jane and Richard Hunt, Isaac and Amy Post, George and Margaret Pryor. Mary Ann became an organizer of the First Woman’s Rights Convention when she joined a group of friends on July 9, 1848, in the front parlor of the Hunts’ home. She hosted a second planning meeting at her house on July 16, where she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and possibly several others drafted the Declaration of Sentiments that was read, discussed, and ratified in the Wesleyan Chapel. While living in Waterloo, Mary Ann and Thomas M’Clintock became very active in the local Hicksite Quaker community, the Junius Monthly Meeting. In October of 1848, they led several hundred members of the Hicksite community to form the new Progressive Friends or Friends of Human Progress. Thomas and Mary Ann served as clerk and associate clerk at nearly every yearly meeting while they lived in Waterloo. They returned to Philadelphia in 1876. Mary Ann remained active, until her death in 1884.
National Park Service