Woman Making History #69: Lucretia Mott


mott.jpgAnd we're back!

Lucretia Mott was born in a Quaker community in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1793. Mott attended a co-ed Quaker boarding school, Nine Partners, as a teenager and became a teacher at the school as a young woman. In 1811, Mott married a fellow teacher. In the next 17 years, she had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.

While her children were young, Mott began to devote herself to the Quaker church, becoming a minister by 1821. In the "Great Separation" of the Church in 1827, Mott and her husband followed Elias Hicks in the less evangelical and orthodox branch of the church.

After the separation, Mott began to travel, speaking against slavery. She then began to organize women's abolitionist societies, since existing societies would not usually accept women as members. When Mott attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840, she found that as a woman she was not allowed to speak and that seating was segregated by gender. At this convention, Mott met Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

In 1847, Cady Stanton and Mott, together with others, hosted a women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Mott presided over this meeting and was the first woman to sign the Women's Declaration of Sentiments that came out of it. The first convention was followed by another convention in 1850 in Rochester.

After the Civil War, Mott was elected the first president of the American Equal Rights Convention, where she worked to reconcile factions that prioritized women's rights and those that prioritized black male suffrage.

Mott continued her involvement with peace and justice and equality causes until her death in 1880.

About: Women's History
Mott Project (Pomona College)
National Women's Hall of Fame

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