Wickenden Urges a Visit to Auburn, NY, to Help Support a Bicentennial Event Celebrating Harriet Tubman’s Birth.
Plus other Highlights from a Chappaqua Library Author Talk
On Tuesday, March 8th, the Chappaqua Library invited Dorothy Wickenden, executive editor of The New Yorker and author of a new book, The Agitators, to a virtual discussion with Grace Bennett, editor and publisher of Inside Press Magazines. In her book, Wickenden successfully weaves the lives of three women in the mid-1800s whose outrage about the lack of rights for women propelled them to act, sometimes against all odds.
During the abolition movement–Francis A. Seward, Martha Coffin Wright, and Harriet Tubman–positively channeled their anger and resentment to having their voices heard. The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Human Rights illustrates how the women leaned on each other for support and with their strength and perseverance helped abolish slavery and gain the right to divorce and to vote.
Wickenden who is also a moderator for The New Yorker weekly’s podcasts admitted proudly that her book was a labor of love that took seven years to complete. She spoke about the importance of writing books about women’s struggles with social justice and she is hoping to shed some light on the forgotten who were the women of that epic historical time in America.
In addition to her extensive research, Wickenden told Bennett that she found her inspiration from reading her grandmother’s letters which depicted a period when women were seeking work outside the home. Coincidentally, her grandmother grew up in Auburn, NY, which is the very same place where Harriett Tubman resided for over 50 years, shepherding and housing former slaves. She urges her readers to go and visit Auburn which has since been revitalized and, this year, is honoring the Bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth.
Joan Kuhn, program coordinator for the Chappaqua Library, welcomed Wickenden and Bennett to the Author Talk. Considering Chappaqua’s own history, Bennett noted the many references in the book made to Horace Greeley who founded The New York Tribune newspaper, an important vehicle for promoting abolition. Wickenden discussed the Tribune’s influence on the women and also the deep division of the nation’s media in those times, too! She also offered an explanation about the Quakers’ influence on those who made it their moral obligation to speak about the abolition of slavery.
You can still get a signed copy of Wickenden’s book at Scattered Books in Chappaqua. It would make a perfect gift for many young women who are interested in learning about the women’s suffrage movement!
To listen to the entire interview, visit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWcSlStw8_E
Kendall Hammes, a junior at Horace Greeley High School, lives with her parents and two sisters in Chappaqua. She spends her time playing tennis, swimming and photographing. This is her first contribution to the Inside Press.