Marches. Boycotts. Campaigns. Sit-ins. Rallies.
Collectively and individually, women throughout history have continued to assert their right to self-determination. In some cases, the simple refusal to hide who they were was itself a radical act. Below is just a sample of the rich history of activism from generations of women in New York.
Ganondagan State Historic Site: The women of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) lived in a society that afforded them a level of equality and freedom centuries before similar rights would be given to other women in the United States. Haudenosaunee women of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Mohawk, and Oneida chose their chiefs, owned and managed their own property, and held key political positions. When women in New York State began to organize to demand their rights, the Haudenosaunee provided a model of equality. Learn more about Haudenosaunee women at Ganondagan State Historic Site, the only historic site in the U.S. dedicated the interpretation of the culture, art, and government of the Seneca people. Ganondagan State Historic Site
Learn more Seneca women's regalia and the role of Haudenosaunee women in creation stories in the following videos:
Johnson Hall State Historic Site: Known at different times of her life as Konwatsi'tsiaienni and Degonwadonti, Molly Brant was a Mohawk woman likely born sometime around 1736 and grew up in Canajoharie, New York. By the age of 18, Molly was already beginning to participate in local politics and likely met Sir William Johnson as she interacted with leaders in the area. Eventually, she and Johnson would become romantically linked and Molly would have eight children with him while living at his estate, Johnson Hall. She spoke her native Mohawk and dressed in the Mohawk style all her life and, after Johnson's death, Molly would return to the Mohawk and lead as a Clan Mother during the turbulent Revolutionary War period. You can read more about her life below.
New York State Parks is proud to partner with the New York State Museum and the New York State Women's Suffrage Commission, to present a virtual tour of "Votes for Women", an exhibit presenting the history of women's voting rights as well as profiles of eight influential women suffragists from around New York state.
Below are links to learn more about the notable women in New York's Suffrage Movement
League of Women Voters of NYS
To honor the women suffragists and the movement, exercise your right to vote. Follow the link below to learn more about what is required to register and make your vote count in upcoming elections.
New York Board of Elections
Located in Seneca Falls, NY, site of important women's rights activities, the National Women's Hall of Fame highlights the achievements of almost 300 of the United States most accomplished women. A selection of inductees from New York below:
Or you can schedule a visit to see the Hall of Honor yourself here: https://national-womens-hall-of-fame.myshopify.com/products/national-womens-hall-of-fame-admission
Mary Talbert - Michigan Ave Baptist Church/Macedonian Baptist Church, 511 Michigan Ave, Buffalo
The Michigan Street Baptist Church was once the last stop on the Underground Railroad for enslaved peoples who were traveling north into Canada and later became a prominent symbol of the modern Civil Rights movement. Mary Burnett Talbert, a neighbor and active parishioner of the church, was an American orator, activist, suffragist, and reformer who was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2005.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, 32 Washington Street, Seneca Falls
The Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, operated today as a museum by the National Park Service, was one of the leaders of the women's rights movement in the 19th century. While living in her simple house in Seneca Falls, Stanton met with Lucretia Mott and they together held the nation's first women's rights convention, where Stanton first advocated women's right to vote, in her Declaration of Sentiments.
Susan B. Anthony & Lillian Wald Resting Place, Mt. Hope Cemetery/Mt. Hope, Rochester
Established in 1838, the sprawling, Victorian designed, Mount Hope Cemetery was the first municipal cemetery in the united states. It has since become the final resting place to several prominent figures of transcendent importance including women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony, and Lillian Wald, social activist and founder of public health nursing. Also located in the cemetery is a Civil War monument entitled Defenders of the Flag by female sculptor and public artist Sally James Farnham.
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park
Val-Kill (Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site) in Hyde Park, more than any other residence, was the home of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from 1924 until her death in 1962. "At Val-Kill I emerged as an individual," Eleanor Roosevelt said later in life. After President FDR's death in 1945, Val-Kill became her principal home, and where she emerged as the prominent woman of American politics.
Though Eleanor Roosevelt would say she came to the idea of women's suffrage later than some, she would eventually become very active in many causes working to better the lives of women. You can hear her conversation with President John f. Kennedy on women's equality at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Main School - Hillburn
Main School was the focus of a prominent school desegregation battle in 1943. Empowered by models of strong female leadership in the community, Hillburn's black community decided to take a stand against school segregation, gaining legal assistance from Thurgood Marshall, the then young head of the NAACP's legal department and future Supreme Court Chief Justice, and bringing to an end one of the last formally segregated schools in New York State.