By Madis Senner
March is Women’s History Month. Friday, March 8th is International Women’s Day. Take the time and visit one of the Finger Lakes’ many historic places for Women’s Rights. After all the first Women’s Rights Convention was held in the Finger Lakes at Seneca Falls on July 19, 1848.
Here are a few of the many places to visit to learn about and experience the spirit of the Women’s Rights Movement in our area. The triumvirate of Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Elizabeth Cady Stanton that led the Women’s Right’s Movement during its infancy all have their homes open for viewing. This list is far from a complete.
NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center, 25 South Street, 315-258-9820. http://historyshometown.com/nys-equal-rights-heritage-center/.
Contains exhibits and information about Equal Rights in New York State.
Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, 180 South St. 315-252-2081. https://www.nps.gov/hart/index.htm.
Beloved by many Harriet Tubman was the most prolific conductor’s on the Underground Railroad who took pride in never running a train off of the tracks, or having lost a passenger. She worked with Anthony and Stanton for Women’s Rights after the Civil War.
Matilda Joslyn Gage Home, 210 E Genesee St. 315-637-9511. http://www.matildajoslyngage.org
Gage was the more radical of the three leaders of the Women’s Right Movement (Anthony and Stanton were the other two.) Her gravestone is etched with her words; “There is a word sweeter than mother, home or heaven. That word is liberty.”
National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, 19 Madison Street. 585-235-6124 http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/visit-us/main.php
Anthony was the enduring force behind Women’s Rights, choosing the cause over marriage and children. In 1872 she famously voted and was subsequently arrested. One of her many quotes, “There is not a woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence.”
Fredrick Douglass Monument, Highland Park, 43 State St.
Besides being a fervent abolitionist Fredrick Douglass was an advocate for Women’s Rights and attended the first Women’s Rights Convention. Because his farm was located near the northeast end of Highland Park one must wonder if his monument may be located, on or near the property of his former home.
Women’s Rights National Historical Park, 136 Fall Street, (315) 568-0024. https://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm
Has a museum and next door is the Wesleyan Chapel where the first Women’s Rights Convention was held.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, 32 Washington Street.
This is where what Stanton called “the center of the rebellion” was located.
National Women’s Hall of Fame, 76 Fall St, Seneca Falls, 315-568-8060. https://www.womenofthehall.org
Learn about the 266 women that they have honored for their work for Women’s Rights and inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Howland Stone Store Museum, located on Rte. 34b in Sherwood. The formal address is 2956 Rte 34b, Aurora. 315-345-3210 or 315-364-8158. https://www.howlandstonestore.org
Slocum and Emily Howland were passionate abolitionists. Emily and her niece, Isabel, were active in the local, state and national women’s suffrage movements.
Grace Episcopal Church, 819 Madison Street. http://gracesyracuse.org
Congregant Betty Bone Schiess led the successful effort in 1974 to have women ordained as priests in the Episcopal Church in America. She became part of what is known as the “Philadelphia Eleven”. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
Madis Senner is an author who lives in Syracuse. You can read his musings at motherearthprayers.blogspot.com. His latest book is Sacred Sites in North Star Country: Places in Greater New York State (PA,OH,NJ,CT,MA,VT,ONT) That Changed the World. It is available at Books, ETC. in Macedon (facebook.com/booksetcmacedon).