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Lucretia Mott
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Lucretia Mott: An Inspiration To Future Activists

SmartGirl Search is proud to have chosen Lucretia Mott as one of our top SmartGirls as she was an early advocate for women’s rights, campaigning for equal educational opportunities and calling for an end to discrimination against women in the workplace. However, Lucretia’s advocacy extended beyond gender equality; she was also a strong opponent of slavery.

Lucretia Coffin Mott was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1793. Her father was a Quaker minister, and Lucretia was raised in the Quaker tradition of equality and social justice.

Lucretia worked tirelessly to promote the abolitionist cause, and her work served as an inspiration to many future activists. Lucretia’s lifelong commitment to equality and social justice inspired generations of activists to fight for change.

Early Life

Lucretia was the second oldest of five children, born in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her father was a whaling master, and her mother ran a store out of their home. She had a seemingly regular family home life until 1800, when her father mysteriously went missing. After two years, it was eventually learned that his ship had been seized and confiscated off the coast of Chile. He eventually returned home in 1804, no longer wanting to work on the ocean, so he moved the family to Boston.

Lucretia attended a boarding school in Upstate New York founded by Elias Hicks, who opposed slavery. It was these views that helped to formulate the Hicksite Branch of Quakerism and which greatly influenced Lucretia’s views on slavery.

A Husband And Partner

In 1811, Lucretia married James Mott, her father’s business partner. Together, they would have six children. Throughout the 1830s, Lucretia and James (who was very supportive of her) would argue against slavery, being part of The American Anti-Slavery Society, created by William Lloyd Garrison. Garrison appreciated Lucretia’s determination to the abolitionist cause and supported/encouraged women to participate in the movement. But not everyone did. Many people would often criticize her for not acting “appropriately” or “acceptable” for her gender, but they did not discourage her.

A Hindered Involvement

Lucretia had a hindered involvement in the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840 in London, but that only led her to meet Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with whom she would have a life-long collaboration and friendship. It also introduced her to the cause of Women’s Rights. Being women, they were not allowed to participate in the convention. This angered them to the point that they promised to hold a convention when they returned to the United States. In 1848, 8 years later, they organized the Seneca Falls Convention, one of the most notable Women’s Rights conventions in history, with hundreds of people attending, including Frederick Douglass, a famous abolitionist.

Commitment To Abolitionism

Her commitment to women’s rights did not put off her devotion to abolitionism. She and James protested the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and she even helped a slave escape to freedom a few years later. She became the American Equal Rights Association’s first president in 1866. She, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, condemned the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution for giving black men the right to vote, but not to women.

Adding to her achievements in women’s rights, Lucretia also helped establish Swarthmore College and was fundamental in making sure that it was co-educational. Although Lucretia may be remembered for her women’s rights, it is important to note that she was dedicated to all forms of human freedom. Lucretia argued for black rights, including voting, education, and economic aid.

Lucretia Coffin Mott died in 1880 at the age of 87. A true inspiration, her legacy continues to inspire activists around the world.

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This blog post was co-written by Hannah and Sarah, a contributing writer to SGS.

Hannah

Hannah

Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights

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