Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fighting for Equality - Martha Coffin Wright 1806-1875

Martha Coffin Wright (1806-75) was the youngest of 8 children; her sister Lucretia Coffin Mott was the second oldest. Throughout her life Martha worked in reform alongside her sister Lucretia Mott. Martha preferred to take a supportive role, frequently serving as secretary, while her more outgoing sister Lucretia was frequently the keynote speaker at public meetings.

In 1848, Wright was living with her husband David & 4 children in Auburn, New York, 10 miles to the east of Seneca Falls. Martha Wright was several months pregnant that summer, while Lucretia & James Mott were staying with Martha & her growing family. On July 19, 1848, the 1st day of the Seneca Falls First Women’s Rights Convention, Lucretia Mott & Martha Wright arrived by train from Auburn accepting Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s invitation to stay the night at her home before attending the 2nd day’s activities. At the afternoon session on the 1st day, the Report noted that “Lucretia Mott read a humorous article from a newspaper, written by Martha C. Wright.”

After helping organize the First Women’s Rights Convention, Martha Wright participated in many state & national women’s rights conventions in various capacities. She was secretary at the 1852 & 1856 National Women’s Rights Conventions, served as an officer at the 1853 & 1854 National Women’s Rights Conventions & presided over the National Women’s Rights Convention in 1855 in Ohio & the New York State Women’s Rights Convention held in Saratoga that year.

Martha C. Wright was also an ardent abolitionist & ran her home in Auburn as a station on the Underground Railroad, frequently allowing fugitive slaves to sleep in the kitchen. In a letter to her sister from Auburn, New York on December 30, 1860, Martha C. Wright wrote:  …We have been expending our sympathies, as well as congratulations, on seven newly arrived slaves that Harriet Tubman has just pioneered safely from the Southern Part of Maryland.--One woman carried a baby all the way and bro’t [sic] two other chld’n that Harriet and the men helped along. They bro’t a piece of old comfort and a blanket, in a basket with a little kindling, a little bread for the baby with some laudanum to keep it from crying during the day. They walked all night carrying the little ones, and spread the old comfort on the frozen ground, in some dense thicket where they all hid, while Harriet went out foraging, and sometimes cd not get back till dark, fearing she wd be followed. Then, if they had crept further in, and she couldn’t find them, she wd whistle, or sing certain hymns and they wd answer.

National Park Service