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Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898)

Unapologetic free-thinker, leading suffragist, Native American rights activist

The more we learn about Matilda’s equal-rights activism, the more it seems she was born about a hundred years too early. She just “got it” on another level. Matilda exposed sex trafficking as well as the sexual abuse of women and children by priests. She opened her home to those fleeing slavery. She advocated for Native Nation sovereignty. And she served at the forefront of the suffrage movement alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, writing articles, giving public speeches, and leading organizations. So, wait – why have most of us not heard of her? Apparently, Matilda’s brand of feminism was considered too radical for some of her more conservative feminist peers, so after her death she was basically erased from history. Matilda was also a gifted scientific writer, but she was denied credit for her contributions. (Shocking, we know.) In 1995, nearly 100 years after her death, Gage was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and a foundation was formed to honor and properly remember this social justice warrior. Better late than never.

 


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