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Lucy Stone was born on August 13, 1818, in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Much brighter than her brothers, Stone was frustrated by the inequality that encouraged them to attend college. Lucy Stone lived her adult life as an Abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She did not agree with her father that men were more important than women. She supported the Women’s National Loyal League. She gave her first speech on women’s rights in Gardner, Massachusetts in December of 1847. In 1848 she was hired to be an agent for the Garrisonian Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society Lucy Stone was born on August 13, 1818, in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. One of Francis Stone and Hannah Matthews’s nine children, Lucy Stone was steeped early on in life the virtues of fighting against slavery from her parents, both committed abolitionists. Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe organized a tea party at Faneuil Hall. Women protested taxation without representation in 1873. Sadly, she did not live long enough to see women get the right to vote. Stone died thirty years before women won the right to vote.
Stone was also unafraid to rebel against her parents’ wishes. Having watched her older brothers attend college, the 16-year-old Stone defied her parents and pursued a higher education. In 1855, Stone married Henry Blackwell, a committed abolitionist who’d spent two long years trying to convince his fellow activist to marry him. Though initially taking on her husband’s surname, she opted to go back to her maiden name a year after their marriage. “A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers,” she explained in a letter to her spouse. A both she and Henry also protested the idea via signed document that a husband has legal dominion over his wife. For the next few years, Stone, who was paid well for her speeches, kept up a relentless schedule, traveling throughout North America to lecture about women’s rights while continuing to hold her annual convention.
The couple eventually moved to Orange, New Jersey and became the parents of a daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell. Stone began to chafe at the restrictions placed on the female sex while she was still a girl. Her determination to attend college derived in part from her general desire to better herself and in part from a specific resolve, made as a child, to learn Hebrew and Greek in order to determine if those passages in the Bible that seemed to give man dominion over woman had been properly translated. After graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1847, she became a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, which soon granted her permission to devote part of each week to speaking on her own for women’s rights. She helped organize the first truly national women’s rights convention in 1850 and was instrumental in organizing several other women’s rights conventions as well.
Almost thirty when she completed her education, Stone’s career prospects seemed dim since few professions were open to women. Renowned abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, however, hired her for his American Anti-Slavery Society. She wrote and delivered abolitionist speeches, while also becoming active in women’s rights. Like other female abolitionists, Stone was often heckled and at least once was physically attacked by a mob. Nevertheless, she proved so popular that soon she was out-earning many male lecturers.
Stone lived to see the reunification of the two suffrage associations in 1890; both her daughter and Stanton’s daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, played important roles in healing their mothers’ wounds. Stone gave her last speech in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition, and died later that year at age seventy-five. In 1869, Stone broke with suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and others over passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, which granted voting rights to black men but not to women. Stone was willing to accept this measure for her abolitionist goals while continuing to work for women’s suffrage. Anthony and Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and others formed the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA). Stone edited the AWSA publication, the Woman’s Journal. In 1879, Stone registered to vote in Massachusetts, since the state allowed women’s suffrage in some local elections, but she was removed from the rolls because she did not use her husband’s surname.
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