Seneca Falls to Stonewall


Seneca Falls to Stonewall


Obama’s 2d inaugural invoked a throughline “from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall.” Brett Kavanaugh has surely been itching to object since. In dissent yesterday he wrote: “Seneca Falls was not Stonewall.” I know more about both of those things than he does. So, a primer.🧵

Things the women’s rights conference at Seneca Falls in 1848 & the Stonewall uprising of 1969 have in common:

* Both were led by radicals
* Both featured important Black leaders
* Neither was the first protest on its topic. Paulina Wright Davis & Ernestine Rose had lobbied a decade for the Married Women’s Property Act in NY. Before Stonewall, national gay orgs like Mattachine Society existed; 👇🏾 picketing the White House in 1965.
* Both were in the great state of New York
* Both lasted for several days
* Both included people of all races & genders, like Lucretia Mott & Sylvia Rivera, Frederick Douglass & Marsha P. Johnson, all pictured above.
* Both were repeated annually thereafter. Larger National Woman’s Rights Conventions took place in a different city each year beginning in 1850. One year after Stonewall, the first Pride marches were held in NY, LA, Chicago, and SF to mark the anniversary of the uprising.

So they seem pretty similar, huh? There were a few differences:

* Planning - Seneca Falls was planned just a few weeks before it happened; the attendees came from the surrounding area. Stonewall was a spontaneous response to yet another police shakedown of LGBTQ bars.
* Violence - The women at Seneca Falls suffered no violence, though just 10 years earlier a mob burned down the Philadelphia hall where another co-ed, interracial group gathered. Stonewall featured violence by and against the police. Watch @ericbmarcus
* Publicity - Few people heard about the Seneca Falls convention at the time. It was covered extensively only in Frederick Douglass’ newspaper The North Star. News of Stonewall reached people faster via mimeograph machines, radio, telephones, and television.

In both movements, polite protest only got us so far. Success ultimately required confronting the system aggressively, and accepting that violence and jail might result. #TimesUp #MeToo #NoJusticeNoPeace #CenturyofStruggle #BlackLivesMatter #Suffrage100


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “Seneca Falls to Stonewall,” Daily Suffragist, accessed December 4, 2022,

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