Black History Month thought:
I know I’ve been a bit MIA. Well, I’ve been closing local magazines, that’s true, but I’ve also been very much engrossed in the story of a beautiful friendship of three tenacious, history transforming women, to whom our country owes an enormous debt.
I’m not even midway yet in its 300-plus pages, as I prepare to interview author Dorothy Wickenden for the virtual Chappaqua Library event on March 8 (see link below to register), but page by page…
I’m also reminded about the horrors that took place, of an ingrained slave and master system in this country that so, so, so many were perfectly content to keep in place for eternity. The reality of slavery, of this gross violation of humanity in our United States of America, will forever send chills and will forever be a massive stain on the history of this nation. But what might be most compelling about ‘The Agitators: Three Women who Fought for Abolition and Human Rights’ is the unique chops it took to push back, the clearheaded boldness, the sheer determination to rise above the expectations of the day, to navigate dueling roles as young mothers and wives also continuously expected to defer to their husbands, held back by either their expanding bellies or even their constricting attire, while at the same time sailing on uncharted, treacherous waters against a too often hateful tide, too often in their own backyards.
And most remarkable and fascinating was the merging of the struggles… achieving abolition and women’s rights seemed to go hand in hand in author Dorothy Wickenden’s telling of the era and these three women’s stories… which makes sense. When one evil exists, more evils get free reign too. Isn’t that always the way? I’ll look forward to hearing more from Wickenden on the duality of the struggle.
And how to reconcile that these women were deemed ‘dangerous’ in those treacherous times? We should all be so ‘dangerous’ in the face of pure evil.
In the world of Holocaust survivors and their descendants, we talk about ‘the righteous’ and ‘the upstanders’ who came to the rescue of Jewish victims in a multitude of ways despite the dangers of doing so.
Martha Coffin Wright and Frances Adeline Seward fall squarely in that category to me, and Harriet Tubman is in a class all to herself, a tortured slave who literally had to claw her way to freedom and then never stopped fighting for the people left behind, still in shackles, still terrified and in acute danger day in and day out. She fought for the freed individuals, slaves who had escaped, still living in fear of the danger of ‘slave catchers’ of the day… I have no words. Tubman fought hard and continued the struggle to her last days, right into her own old age, and into their old age, too.
I will never forget the incredible alliance between these three women as they worked in tandem with other heroes and SHeroes of the day to reverse and eradicate the evil that overtook this country. I’m so glad Dorothy Wickenden has meticulously pieced together the story of their friendship, and I can’t wait to (and excited and honored to) ask this brilliant author some key questions, too.
Ms. Wickenden has offered to visit Scattered Books ahead of the event to sign copies which you can pre-order at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you will join us at this Chappaqua Library sponsored, virtual event. Here’s the link for registering: