Lucretia Coffin Mott (January 3, 1793 – November 11, 1880)
In an age when most women were not expected to think about issues of the day, Lucretia Mott not only contemplated them, but also spoke out on them. She was raised in a Quaker community in Massachusetts and married James Mott. By 1818 she was living in Philadelphia, serving as a Public Friend visiting and speaking to other Quaker communities. As a follower of Elias Hicks, she emphasized the divinity within every individual.
Her early sermons spoke of the necessity of the Anti-Slavery movement and advocated the use of Free Produce. By the early 1830s she had become a familiar sight on the abolitionist podium, and was elected as an American Representative to the 1840 General (or World’s) Anti-Slavery Convention, held in London, England. Before the conference began, a majority of the men in attendance voted to exclude women from participating, and the female delegates were required to sit in a segregated area. In 1848, while still devoted to the abolitionist cause, Mrs. Mott joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton calling together the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY.
Her strength and intelligence combined with a natural gentle manner disarmed her critics. Her messages are timeless. The words and lessons of Lucretia Mott continue to open minds and hearts to a simple truth: If we embrace the inner light within ourselves, we fan the flame in others, and in time mankind will come to the full understanding that all people are created divine and equal.
“I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.” Lucretia Mott to the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society, 1860
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