MATILDA JOSLYN GAGE: forgotten feminist
Introduced by Susan B. Anthony at the International Council of Women in 1888, Matilda Josyln Gage began her speech with a brief sketch of her early entry into the suffrage movement: I have frequently been asked what first turned by thoughts towards woman's rights. I think I was born with a hatred of oppression, and, too, in my father's house, I was trained in the anti-slavery ranks, for it was one of the stations on the underground railway, and a home of anti-slavery speakers. Well I remember the wonder with which, when a young girl, I looked upon Abby Kelly, when she spoke of the wrongs of black women and black men. Then I remember, before the Round House in my city of Syracuse was finished, a…show more content…
But I was entirely ignorant of all parliamentary rule, or what was necessary to be done. I prepared my speech, and going to the convention, sat near the front, and with a palpitating heart waited until I obtained courage to go upon the platform, probably to the interference of arrangements, for I knew nothing about the proper course for me to take. But I was so sweetly welcomed by the sainted Lucretia Mott, who gave me a place, and, when I had finished speaking, referred so pleasantly to what I had said, and to her my heart turned always with truest affection.
Soon after the close of the convention, almost immediately afterwards, it was criticized from the pulpit by the Rev. Mr. Ashley, of the Episcopal Church, and Rev. Mr. Sunderland, now of this city, but then established at Syracuse. With the latter gentleman I carried on a long newspaper controversy. As Miss Grew has truly said, it is not religion that has opposed woman suffrage, because true religion believes in undoing the heavy burdens and letting the oppressed go free. But from the church and from theology this reform has met opposition at every step.
It was Gage's outspoken opposition to the bigotry of Christian theology that would eventually cost her dearly. The price of liberty to Matilda Joslyn Gage