June 14: Women’s Rights, Abolition, the Erie Canal, and Ice-Cream!!!

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony blazed a path for women in this nation and across the world.  Women’s rights were not always protected in America.  “All men and women are created equal” was a fight, not a gift.  Today, women vote, own property, manage wealth, drive, and anything else they choose.  This was not always the case.  Women had to fight for their rights to do so, and it took a major battle.  Women would not vote in this “progressive” nation until the year 1920.  Ladies, that is but a mere 90 years ago.  My great-grandmother never had the opportunity to cast a ballot until her life was half over.  My own grandmother was 11 years old when women’s right to vote became a reality.  Unfortunately, Stanton and Anthony never lived to see the day when their fight gave women the right to elect those who served them.

The most interesting part of the day was the Underground Railroad information.  It was amazing to see the door to the basement of Seward’s home knowing that it was the entrance that fugitive slaves used to wind their way through the backwoods to freedom in New York.  As we quickly walked through the Harriet Tubman house, it was a thrill to know that it was the location where so many bound to the shackles of slavery from birth sought freedom, support, and help.  Harriet was an incredible woman and that was the real theme of the day…incredible women who changed history!

It was a whirlwind day, but filled with the most crucial period in women’s history.  The right to vote was only the beginning, but it sparked the flame for an ever-growing woman’s movement that is still necessary today.  It is 2o1o and men still make more money for doing many of the same jobs that women hold.  Discrimination based on sex is by no means eradicated and women continually face obstacles in places like the workplace, institutions of higher education, and even the home.  Domestic abuse and violence is still rampant, and now more than ever, the pressure women face to be breadwinners, nurturers, and homemakers is overwhelming at best.  We pay tribute to the foundation that women like Stanton and Anthony carefully placed and must look forward to the paths that we today blaze for our own daughters.  Thank you ladies for making history, one that has provided a voice.

The most enjoyable highlight of the day was most certainly the ride up the Erie Canal.  Passing through the lock was really a treat and the calm enjoyable weather along the quiet canal was a great opportunity for some much-needed serenity after over a week in bustling New York City.  As we made our way through the calm waters of the canal, it was fun to contemplate all of those who went before us, maybe pulled by mules, maybe carrying goods or hearts full of dreams and promise for a bright future.  As the ride neared completion, the worn and tired looks on the faces of our group began to fade and when everyone entered the ice-cream shop, it was clear that the day, long as it was, ended on a high note.  The perfect end to an inspirational day.

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