Lucy Stone, who was born on August 13, 1818, became the first Massachusetts woman to earn a college degree. She taught and did housework while at Oberlin College, attracting the attention of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. He wrote, “She is a very superior young woman, and has a soul as free as the air.” Lucy married Henry Blackwell and became known for keeping her own name to protest restrictive marriage laws. They had two children but their son died after birth. Lucy bravely and on her own spoke out for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights when few women did. She organized her own lectures, eloquent and sincere, and led in calling the first national woman’s rights convention at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1850. She converted Susan B. Anthony and Julia Ward Howe to suffrage, refused to pay taxes to protest women’s lack of representation, and pressed for voting rights for both Black men and all women.
Lucy Stone was a founder of the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 and a leading spirit in New England for decades. She published and edited the influential weekly The Woman’s Journal with her husband and later her daughter Alice Stone Blackwell for 47 years. Lucy Stone’s dying words to her daughter on October 18, 1893, were “Make the world better.
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