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The unknown history of Seneca Falls, a seminal moment in the women’s suffrage movement

15 min
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A drawing of Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Seneca Falls Convention, standing on a platform giving a speech to a crowd in front of a white man and a white woman,
Elizabeth Cady Stanton is shown speaking during the first Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls
Photo courtesy of Bettmann | Getty Images
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right of suffrage to women, but practically speaking, millions of women of color were still barred from the polls.

To reflect on this anniversary, we’re exploring stories from the women’s suffrage movement that aren’t widely known, and that can shed light on the continued fight for gender equality today. A key moment in this movement was the Seneca Falls Convention.

In 1848, about 300 men and women met in Seneca Falls, New York to call for women’s rights. Reformers like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass led the gathering, and their activism drew other leaders like Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony to the cause. Even for those who did not attend, the meeting was an important moment in the fight for women’s rights.

Here is the story of this seminal gathering, told from eight perspectives.