July 28, 1848 – Frederick Douglass on Women’s Rights

On this date in history, Frederick Douglass published in his newspaper, “The North Star,” his impressions from attending the Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. He was the only man in attendance. He wrote:

. . . in respect to political rights, we hold woman to be justly entitled to all we claim for man. We go farther, and express are conviction that all political rights that it is expedient for man to exercise, it is equally so for woman. All that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being, is equally true of woman; and if that government only is just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the exercise of the elective franchise, or a hand in making and administering the laws of the land. Our doctrine is that “right is of no sex.” We therefore bid the women engaged in this movement our humble Godspeed.”

Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895)

Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895)

You can read the entire article here.

Susan B. Anthony later said that “From that day until the day of his death Frederick Douglass was an honorary member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. In all our conventions, he was the honored guest who sat on our platform and spoke in our gatherings.”

But their relationship wasn’t perfect. In fact, many in the women’s suffrage movement shared racist attitudes or at the very least, did not want to risk winning support for their movement by aligning with those seeking rights for blacks. On one occasion Anthony even asked Douglass not to attend a gathering in Atlanta, Georgia because, as she later recalled: “I did not want anything to get in the way of bringing the Southern white women into our suffrage association.”

Susan B. Anthony (1820 - 1906)

Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)

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