“The mayor made his way over to Mara and her friends. A middle-age woman with a snowy puff of white hair followed him. She looked intently at the group, taking them in with an appraising air. She held their gazes, shaking hands firmly as they were introduced. Mayor Selby offered warm greetings and introduced them to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. He made sure to express his admiration for his friend, explaining how she was a leader in The Women’s Suffrage Movement, and actively seeking a woman’s right to vote. She took Mara aside to speak to her privately.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss McClain. I was so excited to hear how a young woman had successfully opened a gallery in town. I imagine it’s been quite challenging in this male dominated city,” she said, her mouth pulling down in a grimace.
Mara smiled, meeting her direct gaze. “It’s been quite the adventure, but both men and women have helped me along the way. So, I count myself lucky.”
Mrs. Stanton put her hands together. “I’ve been traveling quite a bit this past year, often with my friend Susan B. Anthony. We’ve been trying to spread the word…to plant seeds of change in the minds of those that seek justice. We want a future that will allow women the opportunity to vote. For far too long our voices have been silenced, our ideas disregarded.I hope you’ll join us in making this happen.”
A glimmer of interest surfaced in her eyes. “I’d be happy to hear more about your movement. It’s about time we were allowed the legal right to voice our opinion in politics.”The older woman nodded in agreement. She was quite taken with Mara and wanted her to be caught up on all of the latest news regarding the suffrage movement. She explained how she’d been an active member of the abolitionists as well. She was very proud of her involvement, and more than happy to see the end of slavery, but things changed dramatically after the Emancipation Proclamation. Many of the group’s leaders had lost interest in the fight for women’s rights. Mara listened in fascination.
Mrs. Stanton was a force to be reckoned with, a tornado of energy and passion. She was impressed by her sharp intellect, her approach being at once both engaging and commanding. Her eyes would darken, when she spoke of the oppression of women, and then shine passionately as she explained the goals of the suffrage movement. She wanted a world where women could speak freely about their opinions, even to hold office in the political arena. She handed Mara a pamphlet detailing the movement.
After a lengthy discussion, Mrs. Stanton said her goodbyes and began making her way around the room, preaching her dreams of equality and a better tomorrow.”
― AnneMarie Dapp, Autumn Lady
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