Worcester is an amazing city with much historical importance and recognition. Many residents often do not realize the significance of this great city. Most individuals familiar with Worcester have heard about the smiley face, the first valentines, and the birth control pill all coming from Worcester, but these items tend to go to the back of one’s mind after time. What many do not realize is that the First Woman’s National Rights Convention was held right here in Worcester as well.
This historical event took place at Brinley Hall on Main Street, In Worcester, Massachusetts, in October 1850, after being arranged by such prominent anti-slavery activists as Abby Kelley Foster and Lucy Stone. The convention drew a crowd of one thousand people, consisting of both whites and blacks, and most surprisingly to many, both men and women.
Speakers such as, Abby Price, Paulina Wright Davis, and Lucretia Mott spoke out at this event with extreme effectiveness towards advancements for the woman’s rights movements. ” no one could listen to them without respect for the talent of the speakers, whatever they might think of the merits of the cause,” reported the Massachusetts Spy newspaper. Although there was a similar convention held two years earlier in Seneca Falls, New York, it had attracted little attention. It was not until the First National Woman’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester that advancements to proposed resolutions were starting to spring about, due to its national recognition.
In my opinion, one of the most relevant resolutions brought up during this convention was that of women suffrage. Not only were speakers calling for women suffrage, but also for the suffrage and rights for African Americans as well. You can see this hope for the future from the quote of one of the resolves stating, “Equality before the law, without distinction of sex or color.” While many people might not have agreed with that statement back during this time, this convention proved of the intelligence and the universal respect for everyone that a lot of people exhibited at Brinley Hall. It went to show that not everyone was racially prejudice. Because there were men there also supporting the memorable event, it also showed that they knew in their wisdom that women were equal with men and were plenty capable to make decisions for the United States, by voting in the wonderful system of democracy. These men were strong and courageous for supporting such a radical idea, at that time, as the equality of sexes. For instance, despite constant ridicule, the great poet Whitman of the middle to late 1800s often expressed his beliefs of the equalities of men and women in his works.
Although women suffrage did not come about until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, and for blacks even later, the convention started a pathway of motivation for both women and men to push for women suffrage, and for men and women of every race to push for an amendment allowing blacks to vote as well. The convention gave a positive outlook for the future.
In seeing the magnitude of the First National Woman’s Rights Convention held in Worcester, you can see the historical importance of Worcester, Massachusetts. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton said in 1870, at another convention in New York City celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the woman’s rights movements, “The movement in England, as in America, may be dated from the first National Convention held at Worcester, Mass., October 1850. At a final note with this quote in mind, you can see the difference that Worcester Massachusetts has made both nationally and world wide, and its historical significance as a city.