Berg, Gertude (Molly Goldberg)
Brandeis, Louis D.
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader
Lehman, Herbert H.
Levy, Uriah P.
Magnes, Judah L.
Santangel, Luis de
Seixas, Gershom M.
Singer, Isaac B.
Straus, Isidor & Ida
Torres, Luis de
by Gerta Ries Wiener (1994), Ernestine Rose, Equal rights
Louise Potowski was born in 1810, the daughter of the village's
rabbi, in the ghetto of Piotrkov, Poland. She rejected an arranged
marriage at 16, and left her home within a year, traveling at
first to Germany, then Holland, and finally settling in England.
There she began her career as a public speaker in behalf of social
reform, that was to lead to her nickname, "Queen of the Platform."
Ernestine married William Rose in 1836, and they emigrated to
Rose spoke against slavery in South Carolina in 1847, she was
threatened with being tarred and feathered. But she did much more
than lecture. By petitioning the New York State Assembly for 12
years, Ms. Rose led a successful campaign for the passage of the
Married Woman's Property Bill in 1848, that allowed a woman to
control her own assets after she was married.
At the first
National Woman's Rights Convention, held in October 1850 in Worcester,
Massachusetts, Ernestine spoke with "graceful style of eloquence,"
asking in part, "We have heard a great deal of our Pilgrim Fathers
but who has heard of the Pilgrim Mothers. Did they not endure
as many perils, encounter as many hardships?"
Rabbi Jonas Bondi described Ernestine Rose in The Hebrew Leader
as "the earliest and noblest among the workers in the cause of
human enfranchisement ... the best female lecturer in the United
States." When Susan B. Anthony listed the main causes that led
to the formation of the woman's rights movement in America, the
educational work of Ernestine Rose was given prominence. And when
one newspaper omitted Ernestine from a list that included Susan
B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and other "gifted women," an editorial
in the Boston Investigator proclaimed that "to omit her
name is like playing Hamlet with the character of Hamlet left
In a letter
written in 1887, Ms. Rose summed up her life: "For over 50 years
I have endeavored to promote the rights of humanity without distinction
of sex, sect, party, country or color."
Here to go to Ernestine Rose Quiz
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