I try not to get political here. I want to share things I’ve experienced, and things available to do in the area and surrounding area but it’s hard to leave the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and have a little extra oomph toward how my gender is being treated in this country.
To start, if you’re unaware, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, New York on July 19-20, 1848. Since there have been Women’s Rights Conventions across the country fighting for women’s equality. As it says on their website, throughout this museum, “It is a story of struggles for civil rights, human rights, and equality, global struggles that continue today. The efforts of women’s rights leaders, abolitionists, and other 19th century reformers remind us that all people must be accepted as equals.”
The park includes a few historical places around Seneca Falls but the main historical buildings are those that surround the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center is two floors of the history of women’s rights. The women (and men) that supported it, the difference in equality of genders before this conversation started, and how much work we still have to do. Next door is the Wesleyan Chapel, the location of the First Women’s Rights Convention held on July 19 and 20, 1848, in which approximately 300 people gathered to attend. It is considered by many historians to be the formal beginning of the Women’s Rights Movement in the United States.
Between the buildings is The Waterwall at Declaration Park. A 100-foot-long bluestone water feature located in Declaration Park (located between the Visitor Center and Wesleyan Chapel) is inscribed with the words of the Declaration of Sentiments. The Declaration of Sentiments was signed by those in attendance at the convention, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, for what they were looking for. You can also visit the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House and M’Clintock House which are nearby but also have important ties to the convention.
Honestly, I could go on pages about how important it was for me to visit this National Park – especially with what’s going on currently with the rights of women. Just being there, seeing that we’ve been fighting this fight since the 1800s is both angering and invigorating. Women, overall, have been through so much and it goes to prove what sources of strength we are for the tenacity we’ve had over all of these years. The fight may not be over but these women proved how strong we are and how giving up is not an option.
Though I wish I could share every piece of information I saw in this museum and I think wholeheartedly everyone making decisions based on the well-being of my gender should come and take this all in, I’ll leave you with a few quotes that really stood out to me (most from the 1800s, mind you).
- “Everything the Cause had accomplished… was once impossible. Until it wasn’t.” – Elaine Weiss, “The Woman’s Hour”
- “The Civil Rights Movement gave me the power to challenge any line that limits me…If something puts you down, you have to fight against it.”
- “Woman’s place is in the House and in the Senate.”
- “Write women back into history”
- “Remember the old adage, ‘Beggars must not be choosers,’ they must take what they can get or nothing! That is exactly the position of women in the world of work today; they cannot choose. If they could, do you for a moment believe they would take subordinate places and inferior pay?” – Susan B. Anthony
- “Every BOY loves and respects his mother and her teachings in early life. Why, therefore, after becoming a MAN should he deem her his inferior mentally?”
- “If men start with the idea that woman is an inferior being…they will write history in accordance with such views, and, whatever may be the facts, they will be interpreted to suit them.” – Catherine Dall