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“Why Worcester ?”. Abby Kelley-Foster Presentation Mr. Lyons.

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why worcester

“Why Worcester ?”

Abby Kelley-Foster


Mr. Lyons


Special Thanks To:For Funding: The Worcester Educational Foundation, Inc.For Information and Materials: Worcester Women’s History Project For Assisting in Writing the Grant: Mrs. Meringolo, Mrs. Dyer, Mrs. Walsh, Miss Safaei, Mrs. Petrella, Mrs. MoylanFor Assisting with Today’s Performance: Ms. Harrity, Miss. O’Malley, Ms. Zamarro, Mrs McClintock, Mr. Cousins, Mrs. Meringolo, Miss Safaei, Mr. Nazarewicz, Mr. Torres, Mrs. Looney, Lynne McKenney Lydick

why worcester3
“Why Worcester ?”
  • A common question people ask when learning about the city’s leadership role in the history of radical social reform, Why Worcester?
  • In the early 1800’s, Worcester encountered a surge of new ideas at the beginning of the industrial revolution
  • The city experienced economic growth in industries
  • Ideas popular in the city, stressed human free will, inspired a new social order
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“Why Worcester”
  • Worcester was a front runner in campaigns such as:
  • Temperance Movement- abolish alcoholism
  • Abolition of Capital Punishment
  • Abolition of slavery
  • Women’s rights
  • Ten-hour work day
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“Why Worcester?”
  • In the early 1800’s:
  • Worcester experienced a transformation
  • Extensive stage, canal, and railroad lines were built to allow people and goods to travel quickly
  • Blackstone Canal was opened in 1828
  • First railroad arrived in 1835
  • By 1850, six railroads passed through the city, with 24 trains arriving and departing each day
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“Why Worcester ?”
  • Population exploded: by 1820, Worcester became the largest town in the country.
  • By 1850, its population had increased by fivefold
  • Manufacturing was the city’s largest enterprise
  • Worcester led the country in mechanical invention and design
  • By 1860, Worcester was the home of 170 manufacturing establishments, and became the second major industrial center in the state and 28th in the entire United States
  • Wire mills produced 58% of all wire produced in America
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“Why Worcester”
  • Worcester promoted a rich cultural life
  • Had the economic means to build halls, hotels, and various institutions necessary to host speakers and events. (Brinley Hall, 340 Main St, site of the Woman’s Rights Convention, October 23-24, 1850)
  • The Worcester Lyceum and the Mechanics Association sponsored many lectures that included notable speakers
  • Worcester citizens pondered and debated the latest reform issues
  • Worcester was known for its support of radical abolitionism and women’s rights
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“Why Worcester?”
  • Two of the nation’s most radical abolitionists , Stephen and Abby Kelley Foster made Worcester their home
  • Other local and notable abolitionists: Thomas Wentworth , Edward Everett Hale and Lucy Stone
  • In the 1830’s, hundreds of Worcester County abolitionists were members of the North and South Division Anti-Slavery Societies. They were organizations which were part of the American Anti-Slavery Society formed by William Lloyd Garrison
  • In 1840, Abby Kelley Foster became the first woman ever elected to a position in the American Anti-Slavery Society
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“ Why Worcester ?”
  • Worcester became the home of the first National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1850
  • The convention called for “Equality before the law without distinction of sex and color”; this was highly controversial because of its shocking support of equality for African-American women
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“ Why Worcester ?”
  • The reform spirit was fueled by a small but active group of people who founded societies and institutions dedicated to the issues of anti-slavery, temperance, women’s rights, and women’s education
  • This small but active group consisted of authors, ministers, orators, statesmen, and educators; their contributions have made a lasting impact on our national thought and culture