Convention Days 2022

Abolitionist Roots of the Women's Movement

Convention Days returns in person July 15, 16 and 17, 2022.

Women’s Rights National Historical Park (NHP) is pleased to announce Convention Days 2022: Abolitionist Roots of the Women's Rights Movement, a combination of in-person and online programming held July 15-17,2022.

Convention Days has been a signature event in Seneca Falls for many years. This annual event allows visitors to engage with women’s history, focusing on the revolutionary 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention through art, storytelling, speakers, and special programming. The event will return to an in-person event in 2022, as well as virtual programs for those who wish to participate remotely.

This Year’s Theme

Many early Women’s Rights activists were first involved in the Abolition movement. As Abolitionists, they fought for the emancipation of enslaved people and argued for the rights of personal freedom, fair pay for equal work, citizenship, access to education, and suffrage. In tackling these thorny subjects in the context of institutional slavery, many activist further realized that women’s rights were also limited in these spheres.

Many suffragists opened their homes to the Underground Railroad, escaped slaves, and free people of color. Many believed that it was not just women who needed equality of rights, but all people, regardless of sex, gender, color, religion deserved the same opportunities in the “pursuit of happiness” promised by the United States Constitution.

Abolition helped many reformers find the voice, strategies, and allies they would employ in other movements. At the 1840 Anti-slavery convention in London, Lucretia Mott and newlywed Elizabeth Cady Stanton were among women who were not permitted to participate or speak their mind against the subject of slavery. Mott and Stanton vowed to hold a convention on women’s rights. It took some time for fate to bring the women together again, but along with Jane Hunt, Maryann M’Clintock, and Martha Coffin Wright, they organized the first convention in the United States dedicated to discussing the rights of women in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

The Abolition movement is where many women learned how to participate in activism and share their beliefs with the world. It is also the cause where many women built the networks they would then leverage to spread their demands for equal education, property rights, dress and labor reform, food safety, the right to vote, and overall equal standing under the law.

Last updated: March 14, 2022

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