Happy Birthday, Margaret Fuller. Fuller was best known for her work as a social reformer, educator, women’s rights advocate, and played a significant role in the American Transcendentalism Movement. Fuller’s book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, is regarded as the first proto-feminist work. I say proto-feminist because the word feminist did not exist in the early and mid 19th century. Fuller addresses head-on the issues of equality between the sexes in Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Fuller’s book also tackles racism as well as gender parity:
America has been hindered from reaching equality because it inherited depravity from Europe, hence its treatment of [Native] and [African Americans]. All people are equal and bound to each other; those who infringe on others’ rights are condemned, but the biggest sin is hypocrisy. Man needs to practice divine love as well as feel it. Among those who practice it are the abolitionists because they act on their love of humanity; many women are part of this group.
While I am in awe of Ms. Fuller and her social activism, I am saddened that over 150 years later, we are still fighting the same battles of racism, misogyny, and now homophobia. Our work is not yet done. “We who believe in Freedom cannot rest.“