Scholars generally agree that the women's
rights movement in the U.S. was born at the 1848 Women's Rights
Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., which was the hometown of
suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Today, the site of that
meeting and Stanton's home are part of the Women's Rights National
America's best-known civil rights leaders, Susan B. Anthony, also
lived in New York state.
home is now a museum and part of the tourist circuit. Thus, upstate
New York is fertile ground for history buffs interested in
itineraries built around the themes of suffrage, gender equality
and civil rights.
Rights National Historical Park encompasses the remains of the
Wesleyan Chapel, where the Women's Rights Convention was held; the
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House; and the nearby homes of Mary Ann
M'Clintock and Jane Hunt.
Visitors start at
the park's visitor center to view a film, "Dreams of Equality," and
exhibits covering the women's rights movement into the
It becomes clear
to visitors at that point that the women's rights movement of the
19th century was entwined with anti-slavery societies. In fact,
abolitionist Frederick Douglass was among the suffrage convention's
delegates. The convention's five organizers were all abolitionists,
and all but Stanton were Quakers.
The chapel was
redesigned nearly two decades ago as a memorial space commemorating
the convention and its Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the
Declaration of Independence, that called for voting and other
tour of Stanton's restored house shows visitors the home of not
only an activist, but a wife and mother of seven. The house is open
from early March to mid-December.
M'Clintock House, where the convention was planned, is open for
tours in the summer. Restoration of the Hunt House is not complete,
but the house is used for special events.
Anthony's home in Rochester, a National Historic Landmark, was for
40 years the headquarters for a vigorous abolitionist and women's
rights advocate. It is open for guided tours year-round.
interests, a women's rights tour can be broadened to encompass the
abolitionist movement. The M'Clintock and Hunt houses were both
stations on the Underground Railroad, which aided escaped slaves
before President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation
abolitionist Harriet Tubman spent more than 50 years in Auburn,
N.Y. Her home is open to the public Tuesdays through
Sojourner Truth was born and lived 30 years as a slave in Ulster
County. Although illiterate, she won fame as a public speaker
against slavery and for women's rights. However, there is no museum
specifically devoted to Truth.
In summer, groups
visit but most tourists come independently. The Women's Rights
National Historical Park no longer charges admission to its
attractions, a policy that started this year.
information, visit www.nps.gov/wori.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].