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Upton Honors Kalamazoo’s Lucinda Hinsdale Stone for Women’s History Month

This year marks the bicentennial of Stone’s birth

Washington, DC, March 27, 2014 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761)
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, gave the following tribute in recognition of women’s rights pioneer Lucinda Hinsdale Stone (1814-1900).

Upton made his tribute in the Congressional Record on March 27, 2014. The full text of Upton’s remarks follows:

“Mr. Speaker, Women’s History Month is a time for all Americans to pay tribute to the generations of women who have made our world a better place in which to live. Today, it is my great honor to recognize Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Lucinda Hinsdale Stone for her efforts to advance education reform and women’s rights. 

“Lucinda was born 200 years ago this year, at a time in our history when women did not share the same rights as men.

“Upon moving to Michigan in 1843 with her husband, Dr. James Stone, Lucinda became the first principal of the Ladies Department at the Kalamazoo Branch of the University of Michigan, which would soon become Kalamazoo College. Together, Lucinda and James Stone helped shape the school’s direction, in part by introducing coeducation and promoting abolitionism and women’s rights.

“Lucinda flourished in her role and assisted in the education of a variety of professions and skills for women who came through her school. When Lucinda was ultimately forced to resign her office because of her advocacy for women’s rights, she devoted her life to women’s education and founded the Women’s Club Movement in Michigan. As our country faced a turning tide of abolition and women’s suffrage, Lucinda took it upon herself to educate and lecture from in her own home and doubled her efforts to give women everywhere a better chance.

“Lucinda quickly became one of the foremost individuals in the state promoting women’s rights and soon her tireless battle to bring higher education to women spread her reputation from coast to coast. Susan B. Anthony would share the works of Lucinda Hinsdale Stone and affectionately gave her the title, the 'Mother of Women’s Clubs in Michigan. 

“In the more than 50 years that she served as a leader in Michigan, Lucinda watched her groups expand as the rest of the country caught on to the women’s rights movement. Twenty years before areas in the Northeast formed associations for women, Lucinda was leading the Kalamazoo Ladies’ Library Association as a model for the rest of the nation. That Association and its present members like Betty Lee Ongley – the first female mayor of neighboring Portage, Michigan – have continued to play a major role in keeping Lucinda’s legacy alive today. 

“Lucinda would go on to work in social reform movements and women’s organizations throughout the state and became a pillar for American women to turn to for strength and guidance. Her life’s work was recognized in 1890, when the University of Michigan bestowed upon Lucinda their first honorary doctorate to a woman.

“She lived to watch her very own pupil, Madelon Stockwell, become the first woman to be granted admission to the University of Michigan, and watched as Kalamazoo College granted its first academic degree to a female student. The legacy of her work for women and education remains evident today. 

“Throughout her extraordinary life, Lucinda became friends with other suffragist and abolitionist leaders including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, and the Grimké sisters. She was also a lifelong friend and admirer of Helen and Frederick Douglass, and even played host to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"Lucinda Hinsdale Stone represents the strength that we all hope to have in the face of oppression and inequality. Her lasting impacts have motivated women for generations and her name lives on in Michigan lore as one of the finest Americans to stand up for what they believe in.”

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