Few people in the 19th-century inspired change more than Lucretia (Coffin) Mott. At the time of her death in 1880 she was called “the most venerated woman in America” for her work as a leader in the women’s rights and anti-slavery movements. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was named for her and her statue today stands in the crypt at the US capitol along with statues of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Lucretia Mott was also a mother to six children, a wife deeply devoted to her husband James and a travelling Quaker minister. She also played host to countless visitors, many of them noted activists of the time.
From Margaret Hope Bacon’s Valiant Friend – the life of Lucretia Mott: “(Abolitionist) William Lloyd Garrison was Lucretia’s close and admiring friend. She brought Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Abby Kelley Foster into the struggle for woman’s rights, and inspired the young Susan B. Anthony. She led the historic Seneca Falls Convention on woman’s rights, helped to found and support he first woman’s medical college, and persuaded President Grant to grant a partial amnesty to some Modoc Indians condemned to die for resisting resettlement. In hundreds of way, she fought for equality for blacks, women, native Americans, immigrants and the poor.”
In honour of International Women’s Month I am dedicating the next ten blogs to this woman who features prominently in Emma Field, Books Two and Three.
I have been thinking a great deal about the injustices so many aboriginal people face and wonder why more of us who are concerned do little about it. I also think a great deal about our changing climate and why it’s so easy to “fiddle while Rome burns”.
Perhaps my desire to hold on to the privileges I have, and the fear that if I let them go, I’ll be bereft of everything I value keeps me from doing more. That takes me to William King and Lucretia Mott, two 19th century reformers who feature prominently in the Emma Field series. Neither one, seemed to let fear govern their lives. Nantucket Island-born, Quaker Lucretia Mott played a key role in the anti-slavery, women’s and native rights movements of her day. On the north shore of Lake Erie, Irish-born William King established an exemplary community of some 1,200 free Blacks and fugitives from the Underground Railroad.
I think I still have a lot to learn from them. So in honour of Black History Month, I will post passages from Williams King’s autobiography of 1892. And using the “Circle of Trust” approach of author Parker Palmer, I invite you to contribute your own musings about your own experiences.