Olivia Brock, Anyssa Williams & Juliana McPhail

Audubon Charter School | New Orleans, LA | 8th Grade

Inspirational Family Member
Olivia Ledet

In my familly, the first woman to vote was Olivia Ledet. She was born on December 3, 1903. She voted for the first time in the presidential election of 1968, where she voted for the Democrat George McGovern. She was a Democrat. As she was a woman of color, her voting rights came much later than those of a Caucasian woman, another reason that the valiant efforts of women, such as Alice Stone Blackwell, are impacting the world. –Olivia Brock

Historical Figure I Admire
Alice Stone Blackwell

Alice Stone Blackwell was a journalist, activist, suffragette and radical sociologist. She was born on September 14, 1857 in Orange, New Jersey, and died on March 15, 1950, in Cambridge. Although Blackwell was born in New Jersey, she spent much of her childhood in Massachusetts. Growing up, Blackwell was very involved in the feminist movement because of her mother, Lucy Stone, and her father, Henry Blackwell. They were both suffrage leaders. After graduating from Boston College with honors in 1890, Alice joined the editorial staff of the Women’s Journal which was founded by her parents.

Later, Blackwell became the secretary for the journal. Along with her being the secretary, she was also in charge of the “Women’s Column” (a collection of suffrage articles) from 1887 to 1905. Around the turn of the century, Alice became involved in other causes besides the suffragettes, especially those of oppressed people. The way that she helped these groups of oppressed people way by translating and publishing several verses from groups such as: “Notably Armenian Poems”, “Song of Russia”, “Songs of Grief and Sadness” etc. … She even traveled to Armenia where she became heavily involved in helping the Armenian refugee community. Finally, toward the end of her life, Blackwell did go blind. However, Alice was always remembered as one of the last exponents of the 19th century style New England radicalism.

During the time period that Blackwell was doing her activist work, many written manuals were printed to expose American notion of gender roles and misogyny in the society. The first endowed school for girls was founded, as well as the first coeducational college (Oberlin).The National Female Anti-Slavery organization had their first convention, and a female labor union was organized. Four all-female colleges were founded, and Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery. The Bloomer dress movement had its rise and fall, Sojourner Truth delivered her “Ain’t I a woman?” speech. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote and published her bestseller “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote “The Woman’s Bible”’ and anti-suffrage association was formed. Acts of civil disobedience were performed by the English Women’s Social and Political Union around the White House. Jeannette Rankin was elected as the first American woman to represent her state to the House of Representatives. Initially World War I delayed the movement, but then created the “war work” phenom, allowing more women to do a “man’s job”.

The 19th amendment was ratified, eliminating the need for the National American Women Suffrage Association. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the Equal Rights Amendment, which would eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender. All in all, there was a riveting amount of important suffrage events during Blackwell’s time as a strong, independent woman, fighting for her basic rights.

Alice Stone Blackwell was the editor of the leading American Women’s Rights newspaper which demonstrated to society the power the women hold and gave inspiration to women about their importance and their ability to accomplish more than society tells them. She was a role model for many people and created a dent in the belief that women are not as able as men. Alice Stone Blackwell used logic and reason behind her statements while dismounting many arguments held against the suffrage movement.

Alice Stone Blackwell was involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Women’s Trade Union League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Peace Society, and the Massachusetts League of Women Voters which all supported the Suffrage movement. She also published a biography about her mother, who was also a suffragist.

What the Project Means to Me

In my opinion, doing this project gave me an opportunity to learn about a very important and iconic woman who spent her life working and making sacrifices so that I have the same opportunities and rights as a man today. –Anyssa Williams

This project was a wonderful insight into the rich history of women’s suffrage. It allowed me to learn more about my family’s history and our affiliation with the spectacular movement, and I’m very grateful to know that there’s a plethora of women working harder and harder everyday to establish a sense of justice in our society. –Olivia Brock

This project gave me inspiration and showed me how women can achieve the things as men. Alice Stone Blackwell was an incredible woman who helped society progress into what we are today, so I am truly thankful for what she has done. –Juliana McPhail

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