Updated: Jan 29, 2021
Dedicated to the memory and passion of Lily Gabrielle Wilkinson Thompson,
my Grandmother, born in Mississippi in1868 and an untiring advocate for the
Suffrage Movement and Social Justice in her home state until her death in 1942.
1840 Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are barred from attending the World Anti-Slavery Convention held in London. This prompts them to hold a Women's Convention in the US.
1848 Seneca Falls, New York is the location for the first Women's Rights Convention. Elizabeth Cady Stanton writes "The Declaration of Sentiments" creating the agenda of women's activism for decades to come.
1849 The first state constitution in California extends property rights to women.
1850 Worcester, Massachusetts, is the site of the first National Women's Rights Convention. Frederick Douglass, Paulina Wright Davis, Abby Kelley Foster, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth are in attendance. A strong alliance is formed with the Abolitionist Movement. 1851 Worcester, Massachusetts is the site of the second National Women's Rights Convention. Participants included Horace Mann, New York Tribune columnist Elizabeth Oaks Smith, and Reverend Harry Ward Beecher, one of the nation's most popular preachers. At a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth, a former slave, delivers her now memorable speech, "Ain't I a woman?" 1852 The issue of women's property rights is presented to the Vermont Senate by Clara Howard Nichols. This is a major issue for the Suffragists. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, is published and quickly becomes a bestseller.
1853 Women delegates, Antoinette Brown and Susan B. Anthony, are not allowed to speak at The World's Temperance Convention held in New York City.
1861-1865 During the Civil War, efforts for the suffrage movement come to a halt. Women put their energies toward the war effort.
1866 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, an organization dedicated to the goal of suffrage for all regardless of gender or race.
1868 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Parker Pillsbury publish the first edition of The Revolution. This periodical carries the motto “Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!” Caroline Seymour Severance establishes the New England Woman’s Club. The “Mother of Clubs” sparked the club movement which became popular by the late nineteenth century. In Vineland, New Jersey, 172 women cast ballots in a separate box during the presidential election. Senator S.C. Pomeroy of Kansas introduces the federal woman’s suffrage amendment in Congress. Many early suffrage supporters, including Susan B. Anthony, remained single because in the mid-1800s, married women could not own property in their own rights and could not make legal contracts on their own behalf. The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified. "Citizens" and "voters" are defined exclusively as male.
The American Equal Rights Association is wrecked by disagreements over the Fourteenth Amendment and the question of whether to support the proposed Fifteenth Amendment which would enfranchise Black American males while avoiding the question of woman suffrage entirely.