National History Day
Topic Selection Essay
November 24, 2009
Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society
`Imagine women talking in whispers, with their hand over their mouth. Think back to the time when African Americans were treated like they were worthless. In the 1800s women did not have the same rights or power as the men did Africans Americans were told what to do and they didn't follow they were beaten. Until 1833 when the first female abolition group started in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society helped expand the rights of women all nationalities and African Americans.
In the 1800s women were expected to be the typical housewife cook, clean, take care of the children and to please their husbands. “Women were considered unequal to their male companions legally and socially” (123helpmen). If there was a election taking place only the men were allowed to vote, not women. It was discrimination, but the nineteenth amendment for discrimination against sex wasn’t made until over a century later. The nineteenth amendment states “The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the Untied States or any state on account of sex”(U.S. Constitution). Even though the Constitution really made no law for women rights, to vote , it was said by the society that women women just didn’t have the right (U.S. Constitution).
Life in the 1800s for African Americans was hard for them just living day by day. Thousands of African Americans worked against their will every day on sugar and cotton plantations (). Even when the government stepped in and abolished the importation of enslaved Africans, the ban was widely ignored. Between 1808-1860 approximately 250,000 African American slaves were illegally imported into the United States (libertinage). When African Americans gain some freedom they were left without money, education and no place to go. It even got as far as to blacks can’t walk into a certain store (libertinage).
In 1832 a man named William Lloyd Garrison born December 10, 1805 in Newburyport, MA (nnbd), was inspired by the ideas of several female activists including Lucreta Mott (Spartacus Education). He then decided to help Lucreta Mott start the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society known as the PFASS, because he felt as though women can help end slavery too. By 1833 they had began to be known as the first female abolitionist group in Philadelphia. Also the organization was serving as a model for scores of other female abolitionist groups and catalyzing the nascent women’s right movement (hsp).
Having fairs would help them spread the news to the public and raising money. At the fairs the women would show their traditional skills by hand making goods and selling them or auctioning them off. The women would also make refreshments, give each other information and literature in a clam and social environment. A festival to remember is on January 17, 1867, the wind and the snow made it hard to continue with the festival, but the PFASS festival was a great success. That same day, PFASS members joined a convention for universal equal rights at the Franklin Institute(HSP).
The next step for the society was working on women rights. So PFASS member Angelina Grimke Weld stated, “I want to be identified with the Negro until he gets his rights, we shall never have ours.” Some members of the PFASS also felt that the authority of black suffrage would be reinforced by female suffrage. Robert Purvis, black and male, even claimed that he would stop his right to vote until his wife, could do the same. In 1870 the fifth tenth Amendment was past giving African Americans the right to vote (HSP). The fifth teenth Amendment says,” The right of citizenship of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on the account of race, color or previous condition of servitude” (infoplease). The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society were excited to see African Americans rights expand but still waited for the day to come when woman would have the rights they deserved.
It took many years to get the right to vote and citizenship for African Americans. Much patients came with the wok they put in to be an activist. They kept trying and trying, the women from the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society even took their own rights away to show that they will do anything to have equal rights. The PFASS did not have a immediate effect but it gave many women across the world confidence to stand up for their selves.
The long term change that happened as a result of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society is the unity between the people today. We now can all vote as long as you’re a citizen. Women today talk and address the same issues that men do without being pitied upon by the community. African Americans are allowed to walk amoung us receive a education like everybody else. They can vote and even run for president like Barack Obama if they would like. The most important step that we need to continue taking is working together and being patient it can take a century or more to see a change happen.
The Philadelphia Female Anti Slavery Society assisted women and African Americans with their rights and they also assisted us with coming together. So in the next twenty years you can watch you love one grow old and do the things they love. Watch the world become a better place everyday. Look around you, you can see the change now we have the first African American President that’s never happened before and wouldn’t be able to happen if we lived in a time like the 1800s.Lastly, ask your self if you want to be apart of that change going on around you, if you want to go out in your neighborhood and make sure your peers know what’s going on around them, because remember anybody can make a change.