Two of the most iconic figures in women’s history were linked in deep friendship as well as commitment to the most contentious causes in 19th-century America: antislavery and woman suffrage.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a married mother of four boys at the time they met, and Susan B. Anthony, an unmarried schoolteacher, formed a friendship that lasted until Elizabeth’s death more than 50 years later. Their tireless work, including advocacy, speeches, organizing and writing, placed them at the center of tumultuous events in the middle of the 19th century. They were associates of other prominent activists, such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Lucretia Mott. This lively, very readable narrative paints a picture that depicts each woman’s path to activism and demonstrates that these passionate figures often disagreed with each other and their fellow activists over strategy, allies, direction for the movement—even rhetoric. The tenor of the times is on full display as the struggle to extend rights to women is resisted by most institutions in society. Conflicts within the movement are discussed, although the long-term breach that occurred when Stanton and Anthony opposed the amendment granting the right to vote to freedmen because women of all races were denied is not fully explored.
This thoughtful portrayal of two complex women is further enhanced by comprehensive backmatter, making this an invaluable addition to the literature of suffrage. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)