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Mothers That Made A Difference
Mother's And Women's Rights
Many women don't know that their right to vote and get equal pay is a gift from women who came before them. In the recent Academy Award winning movie Abraham Lincoln there is a scene where men stand and proclaim in defiance when a woman's vote is suggested. The women's rights movement began in the mid-1800s and was polarized when black men were freed and allowed to vote. Soon afterwards brave women marched and protested and created public disturbance until the American government was forced to allow them to vote. These were courageous and determined ladies who devoted their lives to the cause of women in America and the rest of the world. Here are some of the mothers who were highly responsible for the changes that lead to women's role in politics and business in America today.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Social Activist And Abolitionist
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in the early 1800s and spent most of her life championing the rights of women. She was an outspoken advocate of the Abolition movement to free slaves and has been credited with starting the the first women's rights and suffrage movements in the U.S.. Stanton's father was an attorney, congressman and then a Supreme Court Justice. Because of her exposure to the law she became aware that married women had no claims to employment, income or property rights and she devoted her life to changing the injustice. She was the mother of seven children, the last being born when she was 44. While on her honeymoon with her husband, Henry Stanton she became acquainted with Lucretia Mott. They both had attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London and were barred from participating in the proceedings because they were women. This association helped to solidify her commitment to advocating women's rights and in 1848 she helped Mott's sister and others organize the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. She drafted and read her "Declaration of Sentiments" and soon thereafter began her role as a women's activist and social reformer. Stanton was introduced to Susan B. Anthony in Seneca Falls in 1851 and they became close friends. Together they formed the Women's Temperance Movement and started,The Revolution a women's rights journal. Both women opposed the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. They contended that the right to vote should not be passed in an amendment that did not include the rights of women. Both were active and influential in the movement to secure women's right to vote and be treated as equals in the eyes of the law. Stanton died in 1902 and it would be another 18 years before Congress would grant women the right to vote. She is remembered for her role in shaping the view of women's rights as a whole and was commemorated in a sculpture at the United States Capitol. The original was unveiled in 1921 and included Susan B Anthony and Lucretia Mott. In 1997 the scupture was moved to the rotunda of the US capitol where it is on display as of this day.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton - Women's Right To Vote
A true pioneer of Women's Rights!
Abolitionist, suffragist and woment's rights activist
Lucy Stone was born August 13, 1818 and grew up in a family of many children in West Brookfield Massachusetts. It is said that her father drank too much and ruled the household as a master. Her early days were defined by a stern upbringing in a household where women were considered subordinate to men. She got a job as a teacher at the age of 16 and asked for equal pay, but was given less than half the pay of male teachers. At 19 she enrolled in Mount Holyoke Seminary and in 1847, Stone became the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She was influenced by the writings of Sarah and Angelina GrimkÃ© who were educators and women's rights advocates. Lucy was a member of a Congregationalist church in West Brookfield and witnessed a speech by Abby Kelly about slavery. The event helped to solidify her decision to begin a journey of public speaking and acitivism in the cause of women's rights. At a time when women were not allowed to speak in public, she was forced to practice debates with other women in the woods with watchers to maintain privacy. Though chastised by family and friends she began to stand for the cause of women in a public platform and became recognized for her powerful speaking ability. In 1850 she became involved in the planning of the first National Women's Rights Convention and her name was at the top of the list sent to major newspapers about the convention. She became a public figure and even influenced other great women activists of the time like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that "Lucy Stone was the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question." Blackwell, 1930, p. 94.Together, Anthony, Stanton, and Stone have been called the 19th century "triumvirate" of women's suffrage and feminism. Library of Congress. American Memory.
Henry Blackwell's first sight of Stone was in 1851 where she addressed the Massachusetts legislature in support of an amendment which proposed giving full civil rights to women. In late 1854, Stone agreed to marry Blackwell and the two set the date for May 1, 1855. They set up house in Orange, New Jersey, and Stone bore her first child in September 1857: Alice Stone Blackwell. Stone represented herself initially as Lucy Stone Blackwell but decided a year later that she should be known as Lucy Stone. She is the first known American woman to retain her own name after marriage. The U.S. Postal Service issued a 50Â¢ stamp honoring Lucy Stone's contribution to the American suffrage movement.
Lucy Stone - Speaking Out For Equality
A great story about Women's Rights!
Abby Kelley Foster
Abolitionist and Social Reformer
Abby Kelley Foster was born January 15, 1811 and was known as an abolitionist and radical social reformer. She was active as an organizer and fundraiser for the American Anti-Slavery Society and became a fervent public speaker dedicated to the cause of equal rights for all and especially women. She married Stephen Foster, who was also and abolitionist, in 1845 after a long courtship and they both worked for equal rights for women. In 1847, she and her husband purchased a farm near Worcester, Massachusetts and named it "Liberty Farm". She gave birth to their only daughter in 1847. Kelley became known as an "ultra" radical for her stand on civil equality, even for blacks, and was speaking on women's rights in Seneca Falls, New York five years before the Seneca Falls convention would be held there. She influenced future suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone by encouraging them to take on a role in political activism. The first National Women's Rights Convention was held 1850 in Worcester, Massachusetts and Abby Kelley Foster was a key speaker. Her support of the 15th Amendment caused a split between her views and those of Anthony and Stanton because the two believed that the Amendment should not be passed without including women. After 1850 Kelley reduced her public exposure and travel due to declining health. The "Liberty Farm" continued to be a stopover for like-minded reformers and as a refuge for those on the Underground railroad. The farm has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
This is the story of Abby Kelley a pioneer of social rights. She inspired many women to stand for equal rights in America.
Leader of the British Suffragette Movement
Emmeline Pankhurst was born on 15 July 1858 as Emmeline Goulden. She was born in Moss Side, Manchester, England and became interested in the women's rights movement at a young age. Both of her parents were politically active and it was through her mother's interest in women's suffrage that Emmeline was first introduced to the subject. She read her mother's copies of the Women's Suffrage Journal, and became enamored by the author Lydia Becker. When she was 14 she attended a meeting on women's rights where Becker was speaking and decided that from then on, she was a suffragist. In 1878, at the age of 20, she married Richard Pankhurst, a man 24 years her senior. She became a mother and they eventually had five children. She soon became involved with the Women's Franchise League, an organization that stood for women's rights. The League was short lived and she went on to become involved in the Women's Suffrage Society. The Pankhurst's moved to London and in 1889 Emmeline and her husband started the Women's Franchise League as a group that stood for all women's rights, married or unmarried. The group was thought to be too radical, advocating rights for women in divorce and inheritance and soon disbanded. The family moved back to Manchester after financial difficulties and Richard Pankhurst died of complications in 1898. In 1903 Emmeline and colleagues started the Women's Social and Political Union. She had decided that speaking out was not enough and that political action was required to make changes for women. In 1905 members of the WSPU protested outside a parliment building and were dispersed by the police. Pankhurst considered it a success because the organization had gained recognition. She and three of her daughters were involved in protesting women's rights to the point that all were arrested for their efforts. Emmeline served six weeks in prison in 1908 when she tried to enter parliament to protest for women's right to vote. She was arrested seven times before parliament decided to grant women the right. In the following years Pankhurst and other brave women protested and resorted to hunger strikes in their effort to bring about changes in the political system of England and other countries of Europe. The women in her circles and others became increasingly militant and even engaged in arson and window smashing to achieve their objectives. Still her efforts, those of her daughters and others eventually achieved the results that they had worked for. In 1999 she was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. It stated: "she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back." History disagrees about the effectiveness of the militant efforts but Emmeline's work is recognized as a major contribution to the cause of women's suffrage in Britain. After a long life of championing women's rights, Emmeline died of ill health in 1928 at the age of 69. After the funeral funds were raised for a memorial statue and In the spring 1930 a statue of her was unveiled in Victoria Tower Gardens.
Emmeline Pankhurst - British Suffragette
A great Woman's Rights leader in Britain
Mary Harris Jones
Mary Harris Jones, known as "Mother Jones" was born in July 1837. She was born in Ireland as Mary Harris, the daughter of a tenant farmer. The family immigrated to Canada when she was a teenager and she studied to be a teacher, garnering a Catholic education. When the family moved to Monroe, Michigan she was hired to teach in a convent but soon tired of her profession. She moved to Chicago and then to Memphis where she met George Jones, her future husband. They were married in 1861 and she became the mother of four children. She suffered a tragic loss when her husband and children all died of yellow fever in 1867 and returned to Chicago to run a dressmaking business. Her shop was then destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire and she soon turned her attention to the plight of the labor movement. After joining the short lived Knights Of Labour, she became affiliated with the United Mine Workers union where she encouraged workers to strike and picket for better wages and working conditions.
Jones did not join in the women's suffrage movement, believing that a woman's place was in the home taking care of children. Her focus was the rights of men workers being able to earn enough money to allow the wives to take a major role in raising the family's kids. She became active as an educator and organized strikes throughout the country, gaining recognition for organizing the wives and children of workers to demonstrate for their cause. She was put on trial for leading a meeting of striking workers when a ban was put in place. During the trial in 1902, the District Attorney, Reese Blizzard labeled her "the most dangerous woman in America". In 1903 she organized a group of children being forced to work in mines and mills and marched to the hometown of President Theodore Roosevelt demanding the children be allowed to go to school instead of being forced into labor.
She became more militant in her labor organizing and was instrumental in a strike in 1912 that started a shooting war. The United Mine Workers in West Virginia fought a private army of mine owners and Martial Law had to be declared. Jones was arrested and brought before a military court where she was sentenced to twenty years in state prison. Indiana Senator John Worth Kern began a Senate investigation into the mine worker conditions and she was released after 85 days of confinement. She was arrested again in Colorada for helping to organize coal miners there and was ejected from the state after serving time in prison. The strike there caused skirmishes between the Colorado National Guard and mine workers which resulted in the deaths of 2 women and 11 children. The mine was owned by John D. Rockefeller who then met with Mary Jones and soon initiated reforms of the mine conditions. She continued to speak out on the conditions of workers throughout her life and died at the age of 93 in 1930. She was nicknamed "Mother Jones" and was called the "Miner's Angel" by the workers of the many coal mines in the country. The magazine Mother Jones established in 1970 was named in her honor and their are numerous books about her life and efforts on behalf of workers unions. She penned her own autobiography, The Autobiography of Mother Jones in 1925.
Mother Jones - The Most Dangerous Woman In America
A great story about a courageous woman!
Iron Jawed Angels - Womens Right
This movie gives a great view of the struggles that some of these women endured to secure the rights of all American women. It's an uplifting story of two women who refused to be silenced and went on to victory in their quest to win the right for women to vote.
This is a true story about Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, two women who led the modern feminist movement.