Anti-Slavery and Women's Rights in the New Republic, 1820 - 1850
In 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio becomes the very first coeducational college in the United States. In 1841, the college Oberlin awards the first academic degrees to three women. Early graduates include suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown, the first woman minister in the United States.
In 1832 Maria. W. Stewart delivers a speech to the New England Anti-Slavery Society in Boston’s Franklin Hall. Although known for her abolitionist perspective, this particular speech addressed the system of oppression in America that denied African-American women educational opportunities and professional careers.
In 1836, Southern sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimké begin their speaking careers as abolitionist and a women's rights advocates. The sisters grew up in a slave holding household before moving to Philadelphia and joining the Quaker community.The sisters flouted social conventions of the time by championing the highly unpopular antislavery movement and speaking to "promiscuous" or mixed gendered audiences which was considered highly improper for women of their social status at the time.
In 1837 Mary Lyon founds Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts which became the first four-year college that catered exclusively to women in the United States. Several decades later, additional women's colleges opened their doors. Vassar opened in 1861, followed by Wellesley and Smith Colleges, both founded in 1875. In 1873, the School Sisters of Notre Dame found a school in Baltimore, Maryland, which would eventually become Notre Dame of Maryland University, the nation's first college for Catholic women.
In 1840 Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton arrive in London for the World Anti-Slavery Convention and are barred from attending. They discuss the possibility of planning and holding a women's convention in the United States.
In 1844 women textile workers in Lowell Massachusetts organize into the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) and strike to demand a 10-hour workday. Tthe LFLRA was one of the first labor associations for working women in the United States.
In 1848, Lucretia Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, Mary Ann M'Clintock, Jane Hunt, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton decided to host a women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. At the convention, nearly 300 women and men sign the Declaration of Sentiments, a plea for the end of discrimination against women in all spheres of society.
In 1849, Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and works over the next ten years to guide enslaved people to freedom by the Underground Railroad.