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Black Women Abolition and Women's Rights

From Abolition to Women’s Rights

  • Many women who were involved in abolition began to turn attention to their own needs as women.
  • The work that women did for abolition helped them gain experience in organizing, networking, lecturing, and fundraising.
    • These were skills that they used to push the Women’s Rights Movement forward.
  • White women have been historically centered in this movement, but Black women were involved in working for abolition and women’s rights.
  • They will demand many things including
    • property rights, equal protection under the law, equal education, and in time they will demand the vote


Harriet Tubman, 1822- 1913

  • Abolitionist, women’s rights advocate, and suffragist
  • Escaped slavery then helped enslaved people to escape
  • Helped enslaved people escape through the Underground Railroad
    • Helped over 300 slaves escape to freedom
    • Worked for women’s suffrage


Underground Railroad

  • Was neither a railroad nor underground
  • A series of safe houses and routes created to assist runaway slaves
  • Local groups helped fugitive slaves escape to freedom


Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883

  • Abolitionists, suffragists
  • Lived as a slave in NY
  • Escaped from slavery in 1826
  • Traveled and gave speeches on the condition of slaves and the lack of rights for women


Sarah Mapps Douglass, 1808 – 1882

  • Abolitionist (from an abolitionist family)
    • Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society  ‘
    • Grimke sisters worked with her and were friends
    • Archives have letters between the friends
  • Teacher
    • Promoted education for girls as well as boys
    • Taught science and math (to girls too)
  • Female Literacy Association
    • Co-founder
    • Secretary for the association


Maria W. Stewart, 1803-1879

  • Abolitionist
  • Taught herself to read and write
  • Massachusetts General Colored Association
  • Her work was published in The Liberator
  • Became a public speaker
    • Spoke in front of women and men
  • Was not in favor of Black Americans leaving for Africa
    • American Colonization Society



Lucretia Mott, 1793-1880

  • Quaker
  • Leading abolitionist in Philadelphia
  • Helped establish the American Anti-Slavery Society
  •  Also helped to create the Female Anti-Slavery Society


Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815 – 1902

  • Abolitionist and suffragist
  • Believed religion was leading cause of women’s oppression
    • Published The Woman’s Bible
    • Reinterpreted scripture to show that women were not meant to be submissive to men
  • Wrote “The Declaration of Sentiments” with a few other women at the Seneca Falls Convention
  • Married an abolitionist and had seven children


Seneca Falls Convention, 1848

  • First convention of its kind in the U.S. (focused on women’s rights)
    • 200 women attended
    • Organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
    • Historians have used this as the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement


Women’s Suffrage Begins, 1848

  • Declaration of Sentiments”
    • Written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and co-authors
    • Written at the Seneca Falls Convention
    • Detailed the injustices endured by women in the U.S.
    • Included the demand for the right to vote
  • Suffrage: the right to vote in political elections


The Declaration of Sentiments

  • Example of some of the demands:
  • He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
  • He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
  • He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners.
  • Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.


Suffrage Movement

  • Began in 1848
    • Women gain the vote 72 years later
    • 19th Amendment – 1920
  • Black women and men are prohibited from voting by local and state practices. Violence and racism.
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 will help black men and women exercise their right to vote.


Susan B. Anthony , 1820-1906

  • Abolitionist and suffragist
  • A leader in promoting women’s rights in general
  • Born into a Quaker family
  • Never married
  • “Failure is Impossible”



  • Met in 1851 at a convention
  • (Susan B. Anthony was not at the Seneca Falls Convention)
  • Revolution – weekly newspaper
  • Established the: Women’s New York State Temperance Society
  • Formed the: National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869
  • Focused on the Vote after the Civil War
  • Most of their work was in educating people about the importance of women gaining more rights as equal beings.



Stanton and Anthony

  • Worked to expand New York’s Women’s Property Law of 1848.
  • New York’s Property Law of 1860:
  • Married women gained new rights:
    • Right to own property
    • Engage in business
    • Manage their finances
    • To sue and be sued
    • Joint custody of their children



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History 111