Friday, November 8, 2019

"I cannot vote, but I can be voted for."

Belva Ann Lockwood (1830-1917)

On Monday, I wrote about Victoria Woodhull running for president; she is part of our story.  There is some debate as to whether or not she was the first woman to run for office or not.  Technically Woodhull could not become president--she didn't meet the constitutional requirement of being 35 years or older to be president or vice-president.  

Enter Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood.  Belva's life story would make a great movie.  She was born in New York state to a farming couple; widowed twice, she entered college as an adult, fought to enter law school and fought again for the right to try cases before the Supreme Court.  This woman was a force to be reckoned with and I think many of us would find her life story inspiring.

There were times that her presence as a woman lawyer offended the trying judge that she was literally removed from the courtroom.

She was the first woman to try a case before the Supreme Court.

She fought for equal franchise for African Americans and fought alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for woman's suffrage.

She fought for Native American rights and won a five million dollar settlement from the federal government in 1906.

She believed in world peace and co-edited The Peacemaker journal.

In 1884 and again in 1888, she ran for President as the candidate for the National Equal Rights Party.  It's been written that she received over 4,000 votes.  She said at the time, "I cannot vote, but I can be voted for."

A great book on all of Belva's accomplishments is Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would Be President by Jill Nogren (with a forword written by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg!).  I think you will enjoy it greatly.