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Important leaders of

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15th, 1820. She was raised as a Quaker, and taught that everyone was equal under God, an idea which strongly influenced her life. After moving to New York, Anthony met William Lloyd Garrison, a supporter of abolition and women’s suffrage, and Frederick Douglass, an advocate for abolition and racial equality. They inspired Anthony to help end slavery, and she became an abolition activist, giving speeches against slavery.

Anthony met suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851 and they became good friends. Together, they fought for women’s rights for over 50 years. Anthony gave speeches demanding the right to vote for women. She also became known for her leadership and organization skills. With Stanton, Anthony founded the American Equal Rights Association, and in 1868 they became editors of the Association’s newspaper, The Revolution. Anthony raised money to publish the newspaper, which spread ideas of rights for women, and to support the women’s suffrage movement.

When Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments in 1868 and 1870, giving the right to vote to African American men, Anthony and Stanton were upset and opposed the amendments because they did not give women the right to vote. This view separated them from other suffragists. They formed the National Woman Suffrage Association to fight for an amendment giving women the right to vote.

In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting. Her arrest brought national attention to the suffrage movement. Anthony led the National American Women’s Suffrage Association until 1900, and continued traveling, giving speeches, and lobbying Congress for women’s rights. She died in 1906, just 14 years before the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, giving women the right to vote.

Ida Bell Wells was born into slavery during the Civil War on July 16th, 1862. Her parents became politically active after the war, and emphasized the importance of education. Wells enrolled in Rust College but was expelled after she started a dispute with the university president. In 1878, yellow fever hit her hometown and her parents and infant brother died. Wells took a job as a teacher so she could raise her surviving brothers and sister.

Wells filed a lawsuit against a train company in 1884 after she was thrown off a first-class train despite having a ticket. She won the case in local court, but the federal courts overturned the ruling. Then, after one of her friends was lynched, Wells focused on white mob violence. Suspicious about why black men were lynched, she investigated several cases. She published her findings and wrote in local newspapers, but a piece she wrote in 1892 about lynchings enraged the locals in Memphis. She was forced to move to Chicago after threats against her escalated.

Wells joined other Black leaders in 1893 in calling for a boycott of the World’s Columbian Exposition. The boycotters accused the exposition committee of excluding Black Americans and negatively portraying the Black community. Wells married well-known lawyer Ferdinand Barnett in 1895, and they had four children together.

Wells-Barnett traveled internationally and spoke about lynching to foreign audiences. She openly confronted white women in the women’s suffrage movement who ignored lynching, and as a result she was often ostracized. However, she remained involved in the women’s rights movement. Wells-Barnett was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club which dealt with issues of civil rights and women’s suffrage. She was present in Niagara Falls for the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) but unfortunately she is not listed as an official founder. Wells-Barnett died in March of 1931.

Lucy Stone was born on August 13th, 1818 and was one of nine children in her family. She was more intelligent than her brothers, and was frustrated that they were encouraged to attend college while she was not. She worked as a teacher at age 16 to save money for college, but was able to spend just a semester at Mount Holyoke in 1839 before she was forced to return home due to her sister falling ill. In 1843, she attended Oberlin College, but was not allowed to pursue public speaking because she was a woman.

Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison hired Stone to work at his American Anti-Slavery Society. She wrote and gave abolitionist speeches, and became active in women’s rights. She became so popular that she started out-earning some male lecturers. In 1850, Stone organized the first national Woman's Rights Convention in Massachusetts. She traveled for 5 years giving lectures, and continued to attend the annual women’s rights conventions.

A man named Henry Blackwell convinced Stone to marry him by promising they could create an egalitarian, or equal, marriage together. Their vows omitted the section that was common back then about wives being obedient. Furthermore, Stone went against gender norms by keeping her maiden name. Stone and Blackwell had a daughter, Alice, who became a feminist and abolitionist.

Stone broke with suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in 1869 when they disagreed over the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments, which granted voting rights to black men but not women. Stone accepted the amendments as a step forward for abolitionist goals while continuing to work for women’s suffrage, while Stanton and Anthony were against the amendments.

Anthony and Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, while Stone and others formed the American Woman Suffrage Association. Stone edited the association’s publication, the Woman’s Journal. Stone lived to see the two suffrage associations merged in 1890 when they became the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. Her daughter Alice and Stanton’s daughter Harriet helped the two sides unite. Stanton died in 1893 at age 75.

Stone died in 1893 at age 75.

Carrie Clinton Lane Chapman Catt was born on January 9th, 1859 in Wisconsin, but her family later located to Iowa. Catt became the only woman in her graduating class at what is now Iowa State University. She began working as a teacher and advanced to superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa. Her first husband, Leo Chapman, died a year after they married in 1885 from typhoid fever. She got remarried to engineer George Catt in 1890.

Catt joined the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association in the late 1880s, and also became involved with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She was a great speaker, and was soon chosen to give speeches nationwide. She was elected president of NAWSA in 1900 and took over the seat that an aging Susan B. Anthony had left. Catt also founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in 1902. She retired briefly to care for her ailing husband, and after he passed, she spent a few years traveling abroad and serving as president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

Catt consolidated suffrage groups in New York City into the Woman Suffrage Party, a move which contributed to the New York state suffrage victory in 1917. She continued her position as NAWSA president from 1915 to 1920. The 19th Amendment was passed during her time as president, thanks in part to her “Winning Plan” which coordinated suffrage campaigns across the states to fight for a constitutional amendment.

After the 29th Amendment was ratified, Catt founded the League of Women Voters to educate women on political issues. She served as the honorary president until her death. During her lifetime, Catt also worked on other issues such as child labor and world peace, even winning the American Hebrew Medal in 1933 for her work on behalf of German Jewish refugees.

Alice Paul was born on January 11th, 1885. She was raised in a Quaker family, and her parents supported gender equality and education for women. Her mother was a suffragist, and brought Alice with her to women’s suffrage meetings. She attended Swarthmore College, and graduated with a biology degree in 1905. She then attended what is now Columbia University, and received a Master of Arts in sociology in 1907. She studied social work in England, and then returned and got her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1910.

While in England, Paul met Lucy Burns, another American suffragist. They joined the women’s suffrage effort there and learned protest tactics. In 1912, Paul and Burns joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Paul led the Washington, DC chapter. However, NAWSA focused on state campaigns, while Paul wanted to lobby Congress for an Amendment to the Constitution. This led Paul to split with NAWSA and begin the National Woman’s Party.

Paul organized parades and pickets in support of women’s suffrage. On the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in 1913, she organized a march of eight thousand women down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Paul later met with Wilson, but he said it was not time for an amendment. On April 7th, she organized a demonstration and founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage.

In January of 1917, Paul and over 1,000 supporters began 18 months of picketing the White House. Police arrested the women for “obstructing traffic” rather than defending their right to free speech. Paul was sentenced to 7 months in jail, and she organized a hunger strike in protest. Stories of her treatment in jail got public sympathy and support for women’s suffrage, and in 1918 Wilson announced his support of suffrage. However, it took two more years for the Senate, House, and the required 36 states to approve the 19th Amendment. The 19th Amendment was finally ratified on August 18th, 1920.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born on November 12, 1815. She was well educated, attending school at the Johnstown Academy and Troy Female Seminary (now called The Emma Willard School). She married abolitionist Henry Stanton in 1840, and became active in the anti-slavery movement herself. While attending a World’s Anti-Slavery convention, Stanton met Lucrecia Mott, an abolitionist who, like her, was upset that women were excluded at the event. They vowed to hold a women’s rights convention, and in 1848 they held the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in the United States. Stanton wrote the “Declaration of Sentiments," a document which expanded on the Declaration of Independence, calling for social and legal changes to make women more equal in society.

Although interest in abolition and gaining property rights for married women, suffrage became her priority. After Staton met Susan B. Anthony in 1951, the two began working together on speeches and books, and they shared a partnership that lasted nearly half a century.

In 1862, Stanton and her family moved to New York City where she became involved in. Civil War efforts and advocated for the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery. She began traveling more and became a well-known women’s rights activist. However, she and Anthony opposed the 14th and 15th amendments because they gave voting rights to black men, but overlooked women. Their views on this issue separated them from other women’s suffragists.

Stanton and Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, and Stanton served as president. She also edited and wrote for the association’s journal, The Revolution. Towards the end of her life, Stanton began writing more and authored many books including three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage, Woman’s Bible, and an autobiography, Eighty Years and More. She died in 1902, just 18 years before women gained the right to vote.

Lucy Burns was born in New York to an Irish Catholic family. She attended Vassar College and Yale University, as well as the University of Berlin in Germany and Oxford College in Cambridge, England. While in England, Burns witnessed the “militancy” of the British suffrage movement.

Burns became an activist for the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). She was arrested many times and imprisoned four times. She worked as a suffrage organizer from 1910 to 1912 in Scotland. Burns met Alice Paul in a police station in London when they were arrested during a suffrage demonstration outside Parliament, and they formed a long-lasting partnership. When they returned to the US, both women worked with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) as leaders of its Congressional Committee. They founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage in 1913, an organization which evolved into the National Woman’s Party (NWP).

Burns was an important leader in the picketing of the White House during the Wilson administration in 1917. She was arrested for “obstructing traffic” while displaying banners outside the White House. The administration was upset by the banners declaring that America was not a free democracy while women were denied the vote, and the administration’s response escalated as a response. Burns was arrested and imprisoned six times.

Burns was one of the suffragists who instigated hunger strikes. She was jailed again when protesting the treatment of imprisoned Alice Paul, and she then joined Paul in another round of hunger strikes. Burns was in the Occoquan Workhouse jail during the “Night of Terror” in November 1917. Barns was beaten, her arms were handcuffed above her head, and she was brutally force-fed. She began nationwide speaking tours after being released, but she retired from public campaigns after the 19th Amendment was ratified.

Suffrage is defined as the right to vote in political elections. The women’s suffrage movement refers to the decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States.

Lucretia Mott was born on January 3rd, 1793, and raised a Quaker, a religion that stresses that all people are equal under God. Mott, supported by her husband, served as a member of William Lloyd Garrison’s American Anti-Slavery Society and argued for abolition in the 1830s. Garrison encouraged women’s participation and speakers and writers in the movement, and embraced Mott. Mott was one of the founders of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery society in 1833.

Mott was not allowed to participate in the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840, which brought her into contact with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They were blocked from participating in the proceedings, but they vowed to hold a women’s rights convention when they returned to the US. They organized the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, an event attended by hundreds of people. Stanton presented her “Declaration of Sentiments,” a document which expanded on the Declaration of Independence, calling for social and legal changes to make women more equal in society. The Declaration included a list of 18 demands including divorce and the right to vote.

Mott continued to fight for women’s equality after the convention by speaking at annual women’s rights conventions and publishing an account of the history of women’s repression, Discourse of Women. Mott’s devotion to women’s rights did not stop her abolitionist activism. With her husband, she protested the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and later helped a slave escape. Mott became the first president of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866. She agreed with Stanton and Anthony, however, denouncing the 14th and 15th. Amendments for giving black men the right to vote but not women. Throughout her life, Mott argued for women’s rights, black rights including suffrage, education, and economic aid.