Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Lucretia Mott

Lucretia Mott was a mother of the women's rights movement.

On January 3, 1793, Lucretia Coffin Mott was born. She was a Quaker, and back in those days, men and women treated each other far more equally than they did in the larger culture. Lucretia's leadings brought her to forefront of the anti-slavery movement. In that capacity she traveled to England for an anti-slavery convention. But she could not sit with the rest of the delegates because she was a woman!!! This made quite a stir, but that is another story.

It was here she met another Quaker lady, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The women decided they would have a women's rights convention along the lines of the anti-slavery convention, and in 1848 it materialized in Seneca Falls, NY. There she and others penned a "declaration of sentiments" based quite directly on the Declaration of Independence. This is considered the birth of the women's rights movement. But the Civil War loomed, and the larger issue of ending slavery took precedent.

Suffrage for women took a back seat to suffrage for blacks. Suffragists suppressed their pursuit of the vote to pursue basic freedoms for blacks. The fifteenth amendment gave black men the right to vote.

Then suffragists pursued the vote for women. Quaker ladies - Mott, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul--led these efforts. In college I attended Meeting in Gainesville Fl. The meeting had an old, old man named Roy Anthony. And when he was a boy, he spent time with his cousin (or aunt) Susan B. So I am one person removed from this other great Quaker lady.

I am proud (uh oh! grateful, grateful) of the Quakers of the past. Quakers found the truth of the evils of slavery much sooner than other Americans. They led the anti-slavery movement. They led the suffrage movement. What next?

What can any of us do if we have righteous passion? Then link up with others of the same nature. And move mountains? At least move part of the universe along in the right direction.

Peace, y'all


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