Chapter 23 » 23.41

Social justice

Discrimination and disadvantage

The oppression of the working-classes by existing monopolies, and the lowness of wages, often engaged my attention; and I have held many meetings with them, and heard their appeals with compassion, and a great desire for a radical change in the system which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. The various associations and communities tending to greater equality of condition have had from me a hearty God-speed. But the millions of down-trodden slaves in our land being the greatest sufferers, the most oppressed class, I have felt bound to plead their cause, in season and out of season, to endeavor to put my soul in their souls’ stead, and to aid, all in my power, in every right effort for their immediate emancipation. This duty was impressed upon me at the time I consecrated myself to that gospel which anoints ‘to preach deliverance to the captive’, ‘to set at liberty them that are bruised.’ From that time the duty of abstinence so far as practicable from slave-grown products was so clear, that I resolved to make the effort ‘to provide things honest’ in this respect. Since then our family has been supplied with free-labor groceries and, to some extent, with cotton goods untainted by slavery.

In 1840, a World’s Anti-slavery Convention was called in London. Women from Boston, New York and Philadelphia were delegates to that convention. I was one of the number; but, on our arrival in England, our credentials were not accepted because we were women. We were, however, treated with great courtesy and attention, as strangers, and as women, were admitted to chosen seats as spectators and listeners, while our right of membership was denied – we were voted out. This brought the Woman question more into view, and an increase of interest in the subject has been the result. In this work, too, I have engaged heart and hand, as my labors, travels, and public discourses evince. The misrepresentation, ridicule, and abuse heaped upon this as well as other reforms do not, in the least, deter me from my duty. To those whose name is cast out as evil for the truth’s sake, it is a small thing to be judged of man’s judgment.

Lucretia Mott

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