Lucy Stone, 1818-1893

  • Lucy-Stone-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism and MediaWoman Tags: 19th Amendment Centennial Anniversary, Abolitionist, Greater Boston Women, Journalist, and Suffragist

  • HerStory

    A prominent US orator, abolitionist, and suffragist. Leader and advocate to promote women’s rights, and a co-founder of Woman’s Journal.

    Lucy Stone grew up in a rural household that practiced patriarchy, and so she devoted her life to women’s liberation. She saved money for nine years, by working as a teacher and a housekeeper, to fund her higher education. Stone enrolled in Oberlin Collegiate Institute, Ohio – the first college in the US where female and black students could study together. She co-founded a secret debating society for women, who met in the woods.
    At the age of 29, she became the first woman from Massachusetts to graduate with a Bachelor degree. Her talent for public speaking took her touring the country, advocating for women’s rights and speaking against slavery.
    In 1850 she took part in organizing the first National Woman’s Rights Convention, attended by more than 1,000 participants. The convention attracted international attention when advocating for the rights of black women. She took her politics home as well, and when marrying Henry Brown Blackwell, she decided to keep her last name. She was the first married woman in the US to keep her maiden name, and those who followed her used the term “Lucy Stoner,” popular for married women who didn’t change their family names after their husbands.’ The couple established and edited the Woman’s Journal, the newspaper of the “American Woman Suffrage Association.” She was the first person cremated in Massachusetts.

    “Lucy Stone was the first speaker who really stirred the nation’s heart on the subject of woman’s wrongs” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

    “Lucy Stone was the first speaker who really stirred the nation’s heart on the subject of woman’s wrongs” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • She married her husband at the age of 37; he was seven years younger than her.
    • In their wedding, the two read a protest document stating their partnership is based on equality.
    • She gave her first public address on woman’s rights from the pulpit of her brother’s church.
    • She refused to pay her property tax bill as a protest for women’s lack of representation.
    • She studied Greek and Hebrew to be able to read the holy scripts and argue that woman’s inferiority in the religion was a result of a wrong translation.


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  • Lucy Stone

    Text from "101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History," Edited by Michele Bollinger and Dao X. Tran, "#11: Lucy Stone," Written by Sarah Grey

  • Photo credit - Library of Congress.