Seneca Falls, New York is known as the birthplace of the women’s civil rights movement back in 1848. It is near the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Hundreds of women and their male supporters attended what is now known as the First Women’s Rights Convention at Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on a warm’s summer’s day. It is also known as the Seneca Falls Convention. Leaders of the suffragette movements such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were in attendance. Fredrick Douglass was also there arguing passionately for the cause and the women’s right to vote. Together with the multitude present they drew up the Declaration of Sentiments going into detail comprehensive grievances and specific resolutions. About 100 people, or about a third of the convention signed the document.
If I recall correctly, one of my female ancestors from my father’s side of the family attended the convention! Do not quote me on that, however. I shall have to dreg up the files and email the family historian again to confirm, but still the prospect there was a staunch feminist in the family is a point of pride. I recall visiting the Finger Lakes once for a big family reunion when I was very young, but my immediate family never made it over to Seneca Falls.
Women’s Rights or the feminist movement did not start in the 1960s nor is it just a “celebrity cause” of Meryl Streep, Patricia Arquette, and Emma Watson. It has deep, deep roots. It is not even a 19th century institution but the Seneca Falls Convention was the first American version on a national scale.
Huzzah to great women everywhere!
More can be found at the Women’s Hall of Fame at www.greatwomen.org