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Lucretia Mott

“Lucretia Coffin’s school friends called her ‘spitefire.'” That’s the first sentence in my book Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in America (Scholastic, 2000). Here is the rest of the paragraph: “She was born on January 3, 1793, and grew up during a time of transition in the history of growing up female in America. It was a time when increasing numbers of girls grew up to become women who started making demands. Lucretia Coffin was one of those girls. She was born on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts, an important sailing and whaling center.  By the time she died, she had earned a place in history as Lucretia Coffin Mott, a leader in both the abolition and women’s rights movement.” Fearlessly outspoken about injustices, Lucretia Mott, a Quaker preacher, mother, wife, mentor and close friend of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, was arguably the most famous woman in America when she died in 1880.  Although not well known today, Lucretia Mott and her legacy still inform and inspire many justice-seeking women and men today.  I have long wanted to go to Nantucket, where Lucretia later recalled, she “grew up so thoroughly imbued with women’s rights that it was the most important question of my life from a very early day.”  Happily this week I finally spent a few days on Nantucket.  Of course the first thing I did was visit–more like made a pilgrimage–to the site of Lucretia Coffin Mott’s birthplace on Fair Street.  The marker reads: Site of the Birthplace of Lucretia Coffin Mott 1793-1880 First Woman Abolitionist and Advocate of Woman Suffrage

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