Feb 242010
 

“Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion”

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)

Julia Ward Howe (1819 -1910)  Poet, Writer, Activist and Mother of six, was the recipient of many awesome honors including being on a postage stamp.  Raised religiously to fight against slavery and for women’s rights, this busy, busy mom was the very first woman elected in 1908 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.  Yes, she wrote a pretty famous song – well a poem actually – written in 1861, that was set to the tune of “John Brown’s Body”.  Inspired by an invitation from President Lincoln to visit an army camp, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (you know it…”Mine eyes have seen the glory of the…”) was the poem for which was paid a whopping five dollars by The Atlanta Monthly.  Mothers For Peace was a movement she started – and personally funded – issuing in 1870 the “Mother’s Days Proclamation”, an annual celebration that fizzled out when she stopped funding it.  Some confuse this with Mother’s Day, which is credited to Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker.  Julia Ward Howe’s activism and writings inspired many fans. Her husband was not one of them.  According to her diary she “had never known her husband to approve of any of the activities that she herself valued”.  Yikes!  Her diary also said her dear hubby was a violent, controlling and adulterous man who mismanaged HER paternal inheritance. Sounds like she had her hands full with him. In those days, divorce resulted in mothers losing their children, so she hung in there continuing to defy tradition by studying languages and philosophy, writing and enjoying a very public life while raising her four children (two died) who led successful professional lives, preserving their mother’s legacy.  A beloved American, social reformer, and Queen Victoria look-a-like, Julia had 4,000 people attend her funeral.

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Feb 242010
 

“We do not mean to discourse with those of your sex”

ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON (1591-1643)

Mother Of The First Amendment

ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON (1591-1643) Nurse, Midwife, Pioneer, Mother – of twelve or fifteen with nine or eleven surviving – (sources differ)

was not your average, quiet, submissive housewife and mother of the Colonial period. The daughter of a minister and Cambridge scholar, the family, and others, followed the preaching of John Cotton, a Protestant minister. They had issues with the Catholic Church, corruption being one, and disillusioned, embraced a new kind of “puritanical” religion. When she shared her dissenting views on religion with other people – specifically female people – she inadvertently inspired one of the most important conflicts of the entire seventeenth century – known as the Antinomian Controversy. Preaching – just to women – was a big no-no. It started out innocently enough.  She went to church and afterwards, she liked discussing the sermons.  Everyone did.  Thing was, the women were excluded from “certain meetings of religious discourse”. Being excluded from “certain meetings of religious discourse” that only the MEN could attend, Anne felt left out.  Who wouldn’t?  So she started what could be called the first “Girl’s Night Out” with weekly women only meetings.  No one minded at first, but then she got a little carried away, starting her OWN religious sect and got into a LOT of trouble.  She certainly endured one of the most famous (and god-awful – pun intended) trials in American history. She was convicted of heresy (an opinion or belief that contradicts established religious teachings) and sedition (actions or words intended to provoke or incite rebellion against government authority) and banished!  From the colony!  To Rhode Island!  Like Ralph Kramden’s Alice, Anne Hutchinson had a BIIIIIG mouth.  Her steadfast desire for freedom of speech and freedom to assemble absolutely contributed to the foundation for The First Amendment..

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Feb 242010
 

Seneca Falls Convention - 1848

Waterloo, New York – A sleepy little suburb in upstate New York where timing, geography and a tea party brought a bunch of ovary acting mamas together to make history. Hostess Jane Hunt, MaryAnn McClintock, Martha Coffin Wright – sister of the visiting Lucretia Mott – considered the Mother of the women’s movement – whose impending visit served as the catalyst for the fateful tea party. Also attending – another key mama – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who lived nearby in dusty secluded Seneca Falls.  Stanton and Mott had met in 1840 when they were booted out of the world antislavery meeting in London to which Mott was invited.  Why the boot?  Those darned ovaries!  Banished in sisterhood, they walked around London “arm in arm” as Stanton told it, bemoaning their banishment and vowing to form their very own movement. Which they did.   Eight years later at that tea party.  Stanton’s impassioned speech confessing to being worn out by domestic drudgery, exhausted from mothering and nursing three little boys through bouts of malaria and suffering from what she called mental hunger, struck a collective chord and a meeting was planned. Her desire not to schlep her three little boys inspired the Seneca Falls locale.  So like any smart and tired mama, Stanton had them come to her. A sign was posted in the local paper; “Women’s Right’s Convention – A convention to discuss the social, civil and religious condition and rights of woman will be held….in the Wesleyan Church in Seneca Falls.” Modeled on The Declaration of Independence, and like the founding fathers eighteen grievances against King George, THE DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS – with its eighteen grievances starting with “all men AND WOMEN are created equal – was born.

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