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A Woman of the Century:   A Crowdsourcing Project of the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

July 23 - July 29

Woman of the Week

Anti-slavery agitator and woman suffragist Lucy Newhall Colman, who was born on July 26, 1817,  is this week's Woman of the Week.  

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Lucy Colman (2).jpg

COLMAN, Lucy Newhall

July 26, 1817

anti-slavery agitator and woman suffragist

Sturbridge, MA

p. 196

Lucy Newhall Colman, an anti-slavery agitator and woman suffragist, was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts on July 26, 1817.  She married at eighteen and moved to Boston, but her husband died of consumption in 1841.  

She married again two years later and gave birth to a daughter in 1845.  Colman began to advocate for equal rights of women and emancipation of the slaves in 1846.  In her anti-slavery work, Lucy was associated with William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass.

When Mr. Colman, an engineer on the New York Central Railroad, was killed in a railroad accident in 1852, Andrew Jackson Davis presided at his funeral in Rochester, NY.  While living in Rochester, Lucy took over the “colored school” to close it, encouraging parents to send their children to district schools.

Lucy lectured in several states about the causes she believed in.  In 1857, the Anti-Slavery Bugle of New-Lisbon, Ohio published her recollections of her travels on behalf of the cause.  During the Civil War, the well-connected Lucy Colman arranged and attended a meeting at the White House between Sojourner Truth and President Lincoln.

Susan B. Anthony invited Lucy to read a paper at a state convention of teachers, and Mrs. Colman chose to use this opportunity to advocate for the abolition of corporal punishment in the Rochester schools.  

Later, Lucy served as matron in the National Colored Orphan Asylum in Washington, D.C. and was appointed teacher of a ”colored school” in Georgetown, D.C.  

Lucy wrote about her life in Reminiscences, which was published by H. L. Green in 1891. She passed away in Syracuse, New York on January 18, 1906.