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She is a former faculty member of the Humanist Institute. our editorial process Jone Johnson Lewis Updated March 05, 2019 Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a 19th-century feminist and abolitionist who is known for keeping her own name after marriage. She married into the Blackwell family; her husband's sisters included pioneer physicians Elizabeth Blackwell and Emily Blackwell. Another Blackwell brother was married to Lucy Stone's close confidant, pioneer woman minister Antoinette Brown Blackwell. On Equal Rights "The idea of equal rights was in the air." "I think, with never-ending gratitude, that the young women of today do not and can never know at what price their right to free speech and to speak at all in public has been earned." (From her speech, "The Progress of Fifty Years") "'We, the people of the United States.' Which 'We, the people'? The women were not included." "We want rights. The flour-merchant, the house-builder, and the postman charge us no less on account of our sex; but when we endeavor to earn money to pay all these, then, indeed, we find the difference." "I expect to plead not for the slave only, but for suffering humanity everywhere. Especially do I mean to labor for the elevation of my sex." "I was a woman before I was an abolitionist. I must speak for the women." "We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power..." On the Right to Education "Whatever the reason, the idea was born that women could and should be educated. It lifted a mountain load from woman. It shattered the idea, everywhere pervasive as the atmosphere, that women were incapable of education, and would be less womanly, less desirable in every way, if they had it. However much it may have been resented, women accepted the idea of their intellectual inequality. I asked my brother: 'Can girls learn Greek?'" "The right to education and to free speech having been gained for woman, in the long run every other good thing was sure to be obtained." "Henceforth the leaves of the tree of knowledge were for women, and for the healing of the nations." On the Right to Vote "You may talk about Free Love, if you please, but we are to have the right to vote. Today we are fined, imprisoned, and hanged, without a jury trial by our peers. You shall not cheat us by getting us off to talk about something else. When we get the suffrage, then you may taunt us with anything you please, and we will then talk about it as long as you please." On Occupations and a Woman's Sphere "If a woman earned a dollar by scrubbing, her husband had a right to take the dollar and go and get drunk with it and beat her afterwards. It was his dollar." "Women are in bondage; their clothes are a great hindrance to their engaging in any business which will make them pecuniarily independent, and since the soul of womanhood never can be queenly and noble so long as it must beg bread for its body, is it not better, even at the expense of a vast deal of annoyance, that they whose lives deserve respect and are greater than their garments should give an example by which woman may more easily work out her own emancipation?" "Too much has already been said and written about women's sphere. Leave women, then, to find their sphere." "Half a century ago women were at an infinite disadvantage in regard to their occupations. The idea that their sphere was at home, and only at home, was like a band of steel on society. But the spinning-wheel and the loom, which had given employment to women, had been superseded by machinery, and something else had to take their places. The taking care of the house and children, and the family sewing, and teaching the little summer school at a dollar per week, could not supply the needs nor fill the aspirations of women. But every departure from these conceded things was met with the cry, 'You want to get out of your sphere,' or, 'To take women out of their sphere;' and that was to fly in the face of Providence, to unsex yourself in short, to be monstrous women, women who, while they orated in public, wanted men to rock the cradle and wash the dishes. We pleaded that whatever was fit to be done at all might with propriety be done by anybody who did it well; that the tools belonged to those who could use them; that the possession of a power presupposed a right to its use." "I know, Mother, you feel badly and that you would prefer to have me take some other course, if I could in conscience. Yet, Mother, I know you too well to suppose that you would wish me to turn away from what I think is my duty. I surely would not be a public speaker if I sought a life of ease, for it will be a most laborious one; nor would I do it for the sake of honor, for I know that I shall be disesteemed, even hated, by some who are now my friends, or who profess to be. Neither would I do it if I sought wealth, because I could secure it with far more ease and worldly honor by being a teacher. If I would be true to myself, true to my Heavenly Father, I must pursue that course of conduct which, to me, appears best calculated to promote the highest good of the world." "The first woman minister, Antoinette Brown, had to meet ridicule and opposition that can hardly be conceived to-day. Now there are women ministers, east and west, all over the country." "... for these years I can only be a mother—no trivial thing, either." "But I do believe that a woman's truest place is in a home, with a husband and with children, and with large freedom, pecuniary freedom, personal freedom, and the right to vote." (Lucy Stone to her adult daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell) "I know not what you believe of God, but I believe He gave yearnings and longings to be filled, and that He did not mean all our time should be devoted to feeding and clothing the body." On Slavery "If, while I hear the shriek of the slave mother robbed of her little ones, I do not open my mouth for the dumb, am I not guilty? Or should I go from house to house to do it, when I could tell so many more in less time, if they should be gathered in one place? You would not object or think it wrong, for a man to plead the cause of the suffering and the outcast; and surely the moral character of the act is not changed because it is done by a woman." "The anti-slavery cause had come to break stronger fetters than those that held the slave. The idea of equal rights was in the air. The wail of the slave, his clanking fetters, his utter need, appealed to everybody. Women heard. Angelina and Sara Grimki and Abby Kelly went out to speak for the slaves. Such a thing had never been heard of. An earthquake shock could hardly have startled the community more. Some of the abolitionists forgot the slave in their efforts to silence the women. The Anti-Slavery Society rent itself in twain over the subject. The Church was moved to its very foundation in opposition." On Identity and Courage "A wife should no more take her husband's name than he should hers. My name is my identity and must not be lost." "I believe that the influence of woman will save the country before every other power." "Now all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly, and we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things." "In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything disappointment is the lot of women. It shall be the business of my life to deepen that disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer." "Make the world better." Source Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis.