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Lucy Stone (1818 – 1893)


American social activist and suffragette.
Lucy Stone
The last speaker alluded to this movement as being that of a few disappointed women. From the first years to which my memory stretches, I have been a disappointed woman... I was disappointed when I came to seek a profession worthy an immortal beingóevery employment was closed to me, except those of the teacher, the seamstress, and the housekeeper. In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.
Stone quotes
In 1833, Oberlin College, in Ohio, was founded. Its charter declared its grand object, - "To give the most useful education at the least expense of health, time, and money, and to extend the benefits of such education to both sexes and to all classes; and the elevation of the female character by bringing within the reach of the misjudged and neglected sex all the instructive privileges which have hitherto unreasonably distinguished the leading sex from theirs." These were the words of Father Shippen, which, if not heard in form, were heard in fact as widely as the world. The opening of Oberlin to women marked an epoch.
Stone
I know not what you believe of God, but I believe He gave yearnings and longings to be filled, and that He did not mean all our time should be devoted to feeding and clothing the body.




Stone Lucy quotes
In Massachusetts, where properly qualified "persons" were allowed to practice law, the Supreme Court decided that a woman was not a "person," and a special act of the legislature had to be passed before Miss Lelia Robinson could be admitted to the bar. But today women are lawyers.
Stone Lucy
The first woman minister, Antoinette Brown, had to meet ridicule and opposition that can hardly be conceived to-day. Now there are women ministers, east and west, all over the country.
Lucy Stone quotes
I think, with never-ending gratitude, that the young women of today do not and can never know at what price their right to free speech and to speak at all in public has been earned.
Lucy Stone
I know, Mother, you feel badly and that you would prefer to have me take some other course, if I could in conscience. Yet, Mother, I know you too well to suppose that you would wish me to turn away from what I think is my duty. I surely would not be a public speaker if I sought a life of ease, for it will be a most laborious one; nor would I do it for the sake of honor, for I know that I shall be disesteemed, even hated, by some who are now my friends, or who profess to be. Neither would I do it if I sought wealth, because I could secure it with far more ease and worldly honor by being a teacher. If I would be true to myself, true to my Heavenly Father, I must pursue that course of conduct which, to me, appears best calculated to promote the highest good of the world.
Stone Lucy quotes
A few of the young women, led by Lucy, organized the first debating society ever formed among college girls. At first they held their meetings secretly in the woods, with sentinels on the watch to give warming of intruders. When the weather grew colder, Lucy asked an old colored woman who owned a small house, the mother of one of her colored pupils, to let them have the use of her parlor. At first she was doubtful, fearing that the meetings might be a cover for flirtation; but when she found that the debating society was made up of girls only, she decided that it must be an innocent affair, and gave her consent. Her house was on the outskirts of the town, and the girls came one or two at a time, so as not to attract attention. Lucy opened the first formal meeting with the following statement:
"We shall leave this college with the reputation of a thorough collegiate course, yet not one of us has received any rhetorical or elocutionary training. Not one of us could state a question or argue it in successful debate. For this reason I have proposed the formation of this association."
Stone
If you think you have got brass enough, and can do more good by giving public lectures than any other way, I say go to it. But Mother doesnít like the idea.
Stone Lucy
Get but a truth once uttered, and 'tis like
A star new born that drops into its place;
And which, once circling in its placid round,
Not all the tumult of the earth can shake.
Henceforth the leaves of the tree of knowledge were for women, and for the healing of the nations.
Lucy Stone
The young men had to hold debates as part of their work in rhetoric, and the young women were required to be present, for an hour and a half every week, in order to hlep form an audience for the boys, but were not allowed to take part.




Lucy Stone quotes
Whatever the reason, the idea was born that women could and should be educated. It lifted a mountain load from woman. It shattered the idea, everywhere pervasive as the atmosphere, that women were incapable of education, and would be less womanly, less desirable in every way, if they had it. However much it may have been resented, women accepted the idea of their intellectual inequality. I asked my brother: "Can girls learn Greek?"
Lucy Stone
You may talk about Free Love, if you please, but we are to have the right to vote. Today we are fined, imprisoned, and hanged, without a jury trial by our peers. You shall not cheat us by getting us off to talk about something else. When we get the suffrage, then you may taunt us with anything you please, and we will then talk about it as long as you please.
Stone quotes
Too much has already been said and written about "women's sphere". Leave women, then, to find their sphere.
Stone Lucy
While acknowledging our mutual affection by publicly assuming the relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and a great principle, we deem it a duty to declare that this act on our part implies no sanction of, nor promise of voluntary obedience to such of the present laws of marriage, as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority, investing him with legal powers which no honorable man would exercise, and which no man should possess.
Stone Lucy quotes
If, while I hear the shriek of the slave mother robbed of her little ones, I do not open my mouth for the dumb, am I not guilty? Or should I go from house to house to do it, when I could tell so many more in less time, if they should be gathered in one place? You would not object or think it wrong, for a man to plead the cause of the suffering and the outcast; and surely the moral character of the act is not changed because it is done by a woman. I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex. I only ask that you will not withhold your consent from my doing anything that I think is my duty to do.
Lucy Stone
We have every reason to rejoice when there are so many gains and when favorable conditions abound on every hand. The end is not yet in sight, but it can not be far away. The road before us is shorter than the road behind.
Lucy Stone quotes
The commencement of the last fifty years is about the beginning of that great change and improvement in the condition of women which exceeds all the gains of hundreds of years before.
Lucy Stone
Now Miss Lucy, you will hear what Mother thinks about your Public Speaking. Mother said she had rather you would marry and have a pair [of] twin babies every year. She did not say how many years. Mother cannot bear to think of your Preaching or Lecturing. She thinks it is a wrong course for you to take, says if you go to Lecturing you will fix it so you canít keep school. Mother wants you should Teach, she thinks you would do the most good that way. You will want to know [my] mind. I donít know what to tell you. You know it will make much talk in our quarter of the World. You will do that which seems right in your own eyes. I suppose, to be honest, I like motherís plan better than yours. You are of age to [do] that which you think is your duty. Mother says she cannot find no place where Christ ever sent Women to Preach. We shall want to hear from you as soon as you get this, you will write what you think about Motherís plan.
Stone Lucy
I have half-believed for a long time that you were preparing for a public speaker, though I hoped I might be mistaken. Not that I think I wrong in itself, but because I think it an employment a great many grades below, what I believe my only and dearly loved sister qualified to engage in. I don't hardly know what you mean by "laboring for the restoration and salvation of our sex" but I conclude you mean a salvation from some thralldom imposed by man. Now my sister I don't believe woman is groaning under half so heavy a yoke of bondage as you imagine. I am sure I do not feel burdened by anything man has laid upon me, be sure I can't vote, but what care I for that, I would not if I could. I know there is a distinction made in the wages of males and females when they perform the same labor, this I think is unjust, and it is the only thing in which woman is oppressed, that I know of, but women have no one to blame, but themselves in this matter. If as a general thing they had qualified themselves, as men have they would command the same price, but they have not, and the few who have are obliged to suffer on that account. I think my sister if you would spend the remainder of your life in educating our sex, you would do afar greater good than you will if you spend your noble energies in forever hurling "back the insults and indignities that men heap upon us." This I am sure you can never do "by the grace of God" for it is entirely contrary to his spirit and teachings. My sister commit your ways unto the Lord, and he will direct your steps.


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