Lucy Stone (August 13, 1818 - October 19, 1893) was a prominent American orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone became the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She spoke out for women’s rights and against slavery at a time when women were discouraged and prevented from public speaking. Stone was known for using her maiden name after marriage, as the custom was for women to take their husband’s surname.
Stone’s organizational activities for the cause of women’s rights yielded tangible gains in the difficult political environment of the 19th century. Stone helped initiate the first National Women’s Rights Convention and she supported and sustained it annually, along with a number of other local, state and regional activist conventions. Stone spoke in front of a number of legislative bodies to promote laws giving more rights to women. She assisted in establishing the Woman’s National Loyal League to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment and thereby abolish slavery, after which she helped form the American Woman Suffrage Association, which built support for a woman suffrage Constitutional amendment by winning woman suffrage at the state and local levels.
Stone wrote extensively about a wide range of women’s rights, publishing and distributing speeches by herself and others, and convention proceedings. In the long-running and influential Woman’s Journal, a weekly periodical that she founded and promoted, Stone aired both her own and differing views about women’s rights. Called “the orator”, the “morning star” and the “heart and soul” of the women’s rights movement, Stone influenced Susan B. Anthony to take up the cause of women’s suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote that “Lucy Stone was the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question.” Together, Anthony, Stanton, and Stone have been called the 19th-century “triumvirate” of women’s suffrage and feminism.
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