In 1888, Matilda Joslyn Gage said she “was born with a hatred of oppression.” Born into an anti-slavery household in Cicero, NY in 1826, she was an abolitionist, suffragist, writer and Native American rights activist.
Her first speech in Syracuse in 1852 announced her as an intellectual powerhouse of the women’s rights movement. Gage served as president of both the New York and national woman suffrage associations and published the National Citizen and Ballot Box to help publicize women’s rights efforts.
In 1873, Gage defended Susan B. Anthony who had been arrested for trying to vote. Gage was more radical than most other suffragists and founded her own organization, the Woman’s National Liberal Union. Her most famous book, Woman, Church and State criticized how religion promoted women’s inferiority. She also wrote Woman as Inventor to give women inventors the credit they were due. Gage died in 1898. Her legacy is a reminder that “there is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven. That word is Liberty.”