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|Lucretia Coffin Mott
abolitionist and advocate for women's rights
Lucretia Coffin was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on January 3, 1793, into a family of Quakers. She was educated at Nine Partners, a Quaker boarding school near Poughkeepsie, New York, and taught there in 1808 and 1809. She moved to Philadelphia in 1809. In 1811, she married James Mott, who had been a teacher at Nine Partners.
Mott became prominent in the Society of Friends after 1817, and became a minister of the Society in 1821. Like most other Quakers of her day, she was active in the abolitionist movement. She became known for her eloquent speeches against slavery, and in 1833 she helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She helped organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women in 1837.
In 1840, Mott and her husband went to London as delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention. However, the men who controlled the convention refused to seat her and the other women delegates. One of the other women who was denied a seat was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the two women pledged then and there to work for women's rights.
In 1848, Mott and Stanton organized a women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, the first convention of its kind ever held in America. Attended by both women and men, the convention delegates passed a "Declaration of Sentiments" which demanded more rights for women, including better educational and job opportunities and the right to vote.
After 1848, Mott began to speak widely for both abolition and women's rights. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the Motts made their home a station on the Underground Railroad. After slavery was abolished in 1865, she supported the movement to give blacks the right to vote. She also wrote a book, Discourse on Women (1850), which discussed the economic, educational, and political restrictions on women in the United States and other Western nations.
In 1864, the Motts and other Quakers founded Swarthmore College.
Mott spent the remainder of her life attending meetings and conventions on women's rights, temperance, and the establishment of universal peace.
Lucretia Coffin Mott died at Roadside, her country home north of Philadelphia, on November 11, 1880.
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This page was last updated on November 11, 2017.