Voices of Women continues Moonstone’s exploration of Hidden History in Philadelphia and America, looking at the struggle for freedom and equality. Three of the major aspects of this is the struggle against:
- chattel slavery (the Anti-Slavery Movement and Black Liberation)
- domestic slavery (Women’s Suffrage and Woman’s Liberation) and
- wage slavery (the Labor Movement)
These three movements find common ground and merge, come into conflict and separate time and again. Voices of Women looks at the mid nineteenth century: as Women’s Suffrage emerges from the Anti-Slavery movement (as women realized that they were, legally, no more than slaves to their husbands); and touches on some of the amazing women who have continued the struggle over the last 150. Women have been central to most of the social movements in America, they have been the great silent army, with an amazing number of smart and brave individuals leading the struggles. Our goal is to deepen the interest in women as the driving force leading social progress. The Women’s Movement grew out of the Anti-Slavery Movement when Philadelphia Quaker Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were not allowed to participate in the World Anti-Slavery Convention (London, 1840). Regulated to the balcony, they began to discuss the need for a Women’s Convention to confront the lack of legal rights for women. The Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 is considered the beginning of the modern American Women’s Movement, The Declaration of Sentiments, issued by that convention, the foundational document and Lucretia Mott, as mother. Moonstone’s programs will center around:
- Lucretia Mott (born January 3, 1793; this is her 220th birthday) was a women’s rights activist, abolitionist, and religious reformer. Mott was strongly opposed to slavery and a supporter of William Lloyd Garrison and his American Anti-Slavery Society. She was dedicated to women’s rights, publishing her influential Discourse on Woman and is a founder of Swarthmore College.
- Margaret Fuller (born May 23, 1810; this is her 203rd birthday) was a great American heroine: Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, first female war correspondent, first full-time American female book reviewer, passionate advocate of personal liberty and author of Woman in the Nineteenth Century, considered the first major feminist work in the United States and a major influence on many women activists.
- Harriet Ann Jacobs (born February 11, 1813; this is her 200th birthday) was an African-American writer who escaped from slavery and became an abolitionist speaker and reformer. Jacobs’ single work, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent, was one of the first autobiographical narratives about the struggle for freedom by female slaves and an account of the sexual harassment and abuse they endured.
Programing will include:
- Film & Dialogue Programs – We will do a number of programs at public libraries and high schools, universities and community organizations using film clips from “One Woman, One Vote,” “Lucretia Mott,” and “Iron Jawed Angles,” a film on Alice Paul . These will be used to stimulate a discussion on how the women’s suffrage movement emerged from the anti-slavery movement, the journey to the 19th amendment and the state of the women today. These include programs at the Kensington International Business High School, Joseph E. Coleman NW Regional Library, Girl’s High School, David Cohen Ogontz Branch Library, Constitution High School, Walnut Street West Branch Library.
- Programs on Lucretia Mott will feature a panel discussion with Christopher Densmore, Curator, Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College; Carol Faulkner, author of Lucretia Mott’s Heresy, the newest biography of Lucretia Mott; and Beverly Wilson Palmer, editor of Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott. They will do two programs, one at Swarthmore College and one at a center city location, probably the New Century Trust (pending. We will also have programs on Lucretia Mott at Cherry Street Meeting House and Friends Select School, both of which she helped found.
- Programs on Margaret Fuller will feature presentations by biographer Megan Marshall, author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Michael Barnett, who has taught the Transcendentalists for twelve years and has an ode to Margaret Fuller, at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia.
Programs on Harriet Jacobs will feature presentations by Jean Fagan Yellin, author of Harriet Jacobs: A Life and Farah Griffin, Columbia University Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies; Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies discussing Jacobs importance in the anti-slavery and women’s movements.