“A” Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women's Rights

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University of Massachusetts Press, 2004 - Social Science - 315 pages
"A very dangerous woman" is what Martha Coffin Wright's conservative neighbors considered her, because of her work in the women's rights and abolition movements. In 1848, Wright and her older sister Lucretia Mott were among the five brave women who organized the historic Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. Wright remained a prominent figure in the women's movement until her death in 1875 at age sixty-eight, when she was president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. At age twenty-six, she attended the 1833 founding of the American Anti-Slavery Society and later presided over numerous antislavery meetings, including two in 1861 that were disrupted by angry antiabolitionist mobs. Active in the Underground Railroad, she sheltered fugitive slaves and was a close friend and supporter of Harriet Tubman. In telling Wright's story, the authors make good use of her lively letters to her family, friends, and colleagues, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These letters reveal Wright's engaging wit and offer an insider's view of nineteenth-century reform and family life. Her correspondence with slaveholding relatives in the South grew increasingly contentious with the approach of the Civil War. One nephew became a hero of the Confederacy with his exploits at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and her son in the Union artillery was seriously wounded at Gettysburg while repelling Pickett's Charge. Wright's life never lacked for drama. She survived a shipwreck, spent time at a frontier fort, experienced the trauma of the deaths of a fiance, her first husband, and three of her seven children, and navigated intense conflicts within the women's rights and abolition movements.Throughout her tumultuous career, she drew on a reservoir of humor to promote her ideas and overcome the many challenges she faced. This accessible biography, written with the general reader in mind, does justice to her remarkable life.

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User Review  - book58lover - LibraryThing

Martha Wright is one of the five women who planned and executed the first Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. The sister of Lucretia Mott and friends of Quakers Jane Hunt and ... Read full review

A VERY DANGEROUS WOMAN: Martha Wright and Women's Rights

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An overlooked feminist pioneer gets her due.In the pantheon of women's-rights activists, Martha C. Wright has been overshadowed in the history books by her sister, Lucretia Mott, and her friends Susan ... Read full review


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Sherry H. Penney is former chancellor and currently holder of the Sherry H. Penney Professorship of Leadership in the College of Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

James D. Livingston is a former physicist at GE and lecturer at MIT, and the author of "Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets".

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