abolition, equality, History, Lucy Stone, marriage, Ohio, public speaking, suffragettes, Women
August 13, 1818 – October 19, 1893 (Leo and an Artemis Archetype)
Lucy Stone was born and died in Massachusetts but what is important about putting her on an Ohio Women’s History page is her contribution to women which began to surface during her time at Oberlin College, in Oberlin, Ohio. While she was the next to the last of nine children, this did not distract her from becoming a leader and a survivor (you often see this amongst the eldest children). Observing how women were left to the mercy of men, as a young child and seeing that it was not to protect them but to take power over them, she decided she would never marry and would take care of herself. She was also distraught over the fact that the Bible included passages that re-enforced misogyny and this gave her reason to be spiritual frustrated. Naturally this was the sign of the times and so I am not putting down men of this time period, only showing how a woman from this time period made a name for herself and survived the obstacles of the period.
As a teenager she began her road to independence by teaching and soon learned that she was being paid less than what men received. Back then, it was a dollar a day! And people complain now about trying to make a living. Over the years, Lucy began to research women’s issues since the topic of women’s issues were just starting to appear in local newspapers. She attended abolitionist rallies and conferences and was impacted by the “Letters on the Province of Woman”, which would later change its name to “Letters on the Equality of the Sexes.”
Her education began at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary at the age of 21 but she left as quickly as she arrived when she learned that the Dean was in favor of slavery and not to keen on women’s rights. She then went on to Wesleyan Academy. It was here that she began to find solidarity amongst women and would follow the lead of a young woman, Abbey Kelley, an anti-slavery agent who tried in vain to speak up and make her voice heard. At the age of 25, after hearing that Oberlin College was one of the first of its kind to admit women and African-Americans, she hopped on a train and began her journey west to Ohio.
At Oberlin, she had a lot of high expectations for women on campus, a natural assumption. Unfortunately, she was wrong. She again was paid half what the male students were being paid for school type positions meant to pay expenses. She was having to do double the work of male colleagues and her health began to wane. She fought with the school on this and after a number of students supported her on this, she won.
At the same time, she was fighting to be a public speaker, which was not allowed for women at this time. What Lucy wanted to do was begin by approaching women’s issues on the platform. Amazingly, the men in her family supported her but the women did not.
She graduated Oberlin at the age of 30 and went on to continue speaking and petitioning about women’s issues and anti-slavery. Other items of interest were that she kept her name after she did eventually marry and she wore pants (under her dresses).
To learn more, the only book I was able to find about her was “Lucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life“by Sally G. McMillen