Produced in Massachusetts in 1818, Lucy Stone dedicated her life to enhancing the rights of American girls. Stone died 30 years before girls were ultimately allowed to vote (August 1920), on October 18, 1893, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Among Francis Stone and Hannah Matthews’s nine kids, Lucy Stone was steeped early on in life the merits of fighting against captivity from her parents, both dedicated abolitionists. Bright and certainly driven, Stone was also unafraid to rebel against her parents’ wishes. Having observed her older brothers attend school, the 16-year old Stone defied her parents and pursued a higher education.
In 1839, Stone attended Mount Holyoke Seminary for only one period. Four years later, she registered at Oberlin College in Ohio. While Oberlin touted itself as a progressive association, the school failed to provide a level playing field for girls. Consequently, the school refused Jewel the chance to pursue women’s fire in public speaking. Undeterred, Stone, who paid her way through school, graduated in 1847 with honours, becoming the very first girl from Massachusetts to earn a bachelor’s degree. Beneath the direction of William Lloyd Garrison, whom she had met while at Oberlin, Stone soon found work together with the American Anti-Slavery Society. WilliamLloyd work together with the organization delegated into her sustained and heightened fire to eradicate slavery. In addition, it started her career as a public speaker.
While William was often heckled by adversaries (she was even excommunicated by the Congregational Church, the faith of her parents), Stone appeared as an outspoken voice in the anti-slavery movement as well as the women’s rights cause. In 1850, the initiating Stone convened the very first national Women’s Rights Convention. Held in Worcester, Massachusetts, the occasion was hailed as an important moment for American girls, and Stone proved to be a famous leader. The pioneering Stone address in the convention was reprinted in papers nationwide.
For the the next couple of years, Jewel, who was paid nicely for the first national women’s addresses, kept up a constant schedule, traveling throughout North America to lecture about women’s rights while continuing to hold her yearly convention.
In 1855, Stone married Henry Blackwell, a committed abolitionist who had spent two long years attempting to convince Stone to wed him. In typical Jewel style, the first national women used the wedding ceremony to express her protest against married law by not choosing her husband’s last name. “My name is my identity and can not be lost.” Both the women and Henry also protested the notion via signed record that the husband has legal dominion over his wife.
Just like any high profile political movement, fissures emerged. Following the Civil War, Stone found the couple odds with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, both former allies who greatly opposed Stone’s support for the 15th Change. While the change merely promised black men the right to vote, Stone backed it, reasoning that it could finally result in the women’s vote at the same time. Anthony and Stanton firmly differed; they believed the change was a half measure, and resented what they perceived as Stone’s treachery of the women’s rights movement.
While Stone did live to find the ending of captivity, the daughter died 30 years before girls were eventually allowed to vote (August 1920), on October 18, 1893, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The daughter’s ashes were entombed at Boston’s Forest Hill Cemetery.