March is celebrated as Women’s History Month. There are many Unitarian and Universalist women worth celebrating. Here are a few of the most famous Unitarians in the fight for women’s rights.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851 and worked with her for the rest of her life to win women’s rights including the right to vote. Anthony was unmarried and free to travel and give speeches. Stanton had seven children and could not travel. Stanton reserved a room for Anthony in every home she had, and Anthony sometimes supervised her children while Stanton wrote Together they founded the national Women’s League to fight to end slavery. They founded the National Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1869. Stanton was arrested in 1872 for voting in her hometown of Rochester, NY. She was tried and convicted but refused to pay the fine and no further action was taken.
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) grew up on a farm. She taught school before attending Oberlin College. When appointed as a lecturer for the Anti Slavery Society she agreed to lecture on weekends, reserving weekdays to lecture on women’s rights, noting she was a woman before she was an abolitionist. She kept her own name when she married. Her household goods were seized after she refused to pay taxes to an government in which she could not participate. She was a founder of the American Equal Rights Association which worked for voting rights irrespective of race and sex. A few months after Anthony, Stanton and others formed the National Woman’s Suffrage association, Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and others formed the competing American Woman’s suffrage Association.
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) is best known for writing the Battle Hymn of the Republic but was also a social reformer advocating for abolition of slavery and for women’s rights. She was the editor and longtime contributor to the Woman’s Journal, a suffragist magazine founded by Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell. Howe was also a pacifist and anti-war activist and tried to promote the creation of Mother’s Day as a day when women would join together to support world peace.
Sources include Harvard Square Library, Wikipedia
Thank you to Vicki Clabaugh and Kate O’Hare for putting this together for us each week!