Historic Speeches

Behind every stride towards Civil Rights, throughout  was an individual who swayed opinions, demanded equality, and inspired. Most often, they did this through a series of speeches. The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House has collected several historical speeches from suffragists and abolitionists for performance at VoteTilla, now available to read in full.


Susan B. Anthony’s Return to the “Old Union” speech; 1863

Susan B. Anthony’s “Is it a Crime to Vote?”; 1872-1873

Susan B. Anthony’s “Woman Wants Bread, Not the Ballot”; 1880-1890

Susan B. Anthony’s “Social Purity”; 1895

Clara Barton from The Life of Clara Barton, by Percy Harold; 1898

Antoinette Brown Blackwell’s speech at the Tenth National Women’s Rights Convention at Cooper Institute; 1860

Excerpts from Amelia Bloomer’s “Most Terribly Bereft”; 1855 (given in Council Bluffs, Iowa)

Amelia Bloomer’s “Woman’s Right to the Ballot”; 1895

Carrie Chapman Catt’s “The Crisis”; 1916 (Atlantic City, New Jersey)

Carrie Chapman Catt’s Address to the United States Congress; November, 1917 (given in Washington, D.C.)

Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”; July 5, 1852 (given in Rochester, New York)

Frederick Douglass’ “Woman Suffrage Movement,” printed in New National Era; 1870

Frederick Douglass’ Emancipation of Women speech at the 20th annual meeting of the New England Woman Suffrage Association; 1888 (given in Boston, Massachusetts)

Matilda Joslyn Gage’s “The Dangers of the Hour” at the Woman’s National Liberal Convention; February 24, 1890

Matilda Joslyn Gage’s speech at the National Women’s Rights Convention; 1852 (given in Syracuse, New York)

Jean Brooks Greenleaf’s address to the House Judiciary Committee; 1892

Sarah Grimké’s Letters to Mary Parker; 1837

Hester Jeffrey’s Eulogy of Susan B. Anthony

Rev. Jermain Wesley Loguen’s “I Won’t Obey the Fugitive Slave Law”; October 4, 1850 (given in Syracuse, New York)

Samuel May’s “The Rights and Condition of Women,”; 1846

Lucretia Mott’s “Discourse on Woman”; December 17, 1849

Anna Howard Shaw’s “The Fundamental Principle of a Republic”; June 21, 1915 (given at the City Opera House in Ogdenburg, New York)

Gerrit Smith’s speech at the Syracuse National Convention; 1852

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Seneca Falls Keynote Address; July 19, 1848

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s address on Woman’s Rights; September 1848

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speech to the Reunion of the Pioneers and Friends of Woman’s Progress; November 12,1895

Lucy Stone’s speech to the Women’s Rights Convention; 1848 (given in Seneca Falls, New York)

Mary Church Terrell’s “The Progress of Colored Women”; 1904

Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman?” at the National Women’s Rights Convention; 1851

Sojourner Truth’s “Mob Convention” speech; 1853 (given in NYC, New York)

Sojourner Truth’s speech at the American Equal Rights Association meeting; 1867

Harriet Tubman’s words, through an excerpt from Harriet, The Moses of Her People, by Sarah H. Bradford

Angelina Grimké Weld’s speech at Pennsylvania Hall; 1838

Ida B. Wells’ Class Legislation; 1893

Ida B. Wells’ “How Enfranchisement Stops Lynchings” in Original Rights Magazine; June 1910

Fannie Barrier Williams’ “The Colored Girl”; 1905