Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Women's Rights Movement and Seneca Falls, NY

This past week "Don't Ask Don't Tell" joined the dustbin of history as our country continued to move haltingly but positively toward the development of a more perfect union.  Perfection is still a ways off, but for another group of folks the right to "pursue happiness" has been enhanced. I salute all those legislators who voted to give men and women of all sexual orientations an opportunity to serve their country openly and without hypocrisy.

My wife had similar thoughts of vindication this fall when she planned our visit to Seneca Falls, NY. to pay her tribute to America's Women's Rights pioneers.

Seneca Falls is an old Eastern river town and the shoreline is dotted with old mills--some reclaimed for new use and some long abandoned.  

Our destination was right on the main street where the building housing the Women's Rights National Historical Park is situated. 

 Inside are two full floors of exhibits that chart the history of women's rights. The lobby is dominated by a moving group of statues by Lloyd Lillie depicting some of the women and men who attended the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848.  Some are famous seminal figures like Sojourner Truth below or Elizabeth Cady Stanton herself  and some are representative of anonymous people who attended the convention, but did not sign the first Declaration of Sentiments.

Jan was particularly moved by the exhibits that dealt with inequities of education for girls over the years.

A small memorial park occupies the space between the museum and the re-constructed Wesleyan Methodist Chapel where the convention took place.

In addition to the Wesleyan Chapel just next to the museum, guided tours are available of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's house.  The National Women's Hall of Fame is also just down the street and can be visited. 

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