A glorified presence

Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) founded the first female anti-slavery society in the world. Born into a Quaker family on Nantucket Island, she learned of the horrors of slavery from the stories she heard.

The Motts were so committed to abolitionism that they refused any products made from slave labor and James Mott even changed his business from cotton to wool, a very courageous act in a time when northern businessmen were still very much tied into the southern slave economy.

Lucretia Mott became a Quaker minister and frequent public speaker. Frederick Douglass remembered her oratorical skills:
“In a few moments after she began to speak I saw before me no more a woman, but a glorified presence, bearing a message of light and love.”

Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton went as two of the American delegates to the 1840 London anti-Slavery Convention. Organized by a Quaker, this Convention’s purpose was to fight slavery on a worldwide scale—the British had already outlawed it in general.

Women attendees were not allowed to speak—90 percent of male delegates voted against allowing this. Instead, the women were relegated to sitting in the galleries behind a curtain. While walking the streets of London together and discussing the affairs of women, that Mott and Stanton decided to hold a convention for the rights of women when they returned to the United States.

That convention would be very long in coming but the fight for abolition would soon succeed.

Click below for an excellent documentary on the abolitionists: