On the Erie Canal
Our trip on the Erie Canal began at Seneca Falls, a town of 7,000. We had driven the length of Lake Cayuga from our friends, John and Janice's home in Ithaca to pick up our barge. While John was receiving his instructions on how to drive, maintain, and repair the barge, Linda and I scouted out the town.
Lo and behold, Seneca Falls turned out to be the birthplace of the Women's Liberation Movement. I knew it was the Gateway to the Finger Lakes and the setting for the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," but my history was weak on women's rights. Not wanting to reveal my chauvanist side, I followed a step behind Linda as we visited a fascinating number of sites in the Women's Rights National Historical Park.
• Elizabeth Cady Stanton's home. Stanton and her husband had attended the World Anti- Slavery Convention in London in 1840 where she and Lucretia Mott were denied seats because they were women.
Stanton, Mott, Jane Hunt, Martha Wright, and Mary Ann McClintock organized the world's first Women's Rights Convention in 1848. Three hundred people attended including 40 men. One hundred women and
of Sentiments which declared, "All men and women had been created equal," an inflammatory statement at the time, and went on to state that women had a natural right to equality in all spheres. They were soon joined by Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Bloomer (of bloomers fame) who were also rabid feminists. Frederick Douglas agreed to help if the women would first join the abolitionist cause.
These women authored
the Declaration of
Rights of the Women of the
United States in 1876 and continued to push for suffrage and other reforms that would bring women into a Man's World. Stanton, Mott, and Anthony did not live to be able to vote in the US, but their statues stand tall in the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
• National Women's Hall of Fame. This museum was created in 1969 on the site of the 1848 Women's Rights Convention. Each year distinguished American women are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those honored include Abigail Adams, Maya Angelou, Clara Barton, Mary McLeod Bethune, Pearl Buck, Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, Sylvia A. Earle, Annie Oakley, Sacagawea, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey.
We stopped in one of the few shops on Main Street and had an ice cream cone. When Linda bought a T- shirt that read,
Well- behaved W omen
Rarely Make History, I figured it was time to get back to the dock.