Letters - Congress of the United States

 Congress of the United States
Washington DC, 20515

May 9, 2000

Dear Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

On behalf of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation we would like to commend the Worcester Women's History Project for its impressive efforts to raise public awareness of our state's pioneering role in the early women's movement.

Thanks to volunteers at this nonprofit, community-based organization, everyone will soon know that the first National Woman's Rights Convention was held in Worcester in 1850. This assembly of feminists and abolitionists had been inspired by local gatherings for women's rights, beginning in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY, and by the subsequent call for a national convention. The Worcester convention was especially significant because it was the first to conceive of the struggle for civil rights in broader terms, seeking "equality for all, without the distinction of sex or color." The mission of the Worcester Women's History Project, since its founding by local women in 1994, has been to reclaim this important history for the people of Massachusetts and to use it as a blueprint for achieving equality in the future.

The Worcester Women's History Project accomplishes this mission with innovative education and outreach programs. The organization has created a web site (www.worcesterwomen.com) that offers a wealth of historical documents and information. It has held workshops for teachers and sponsored speeches at schools and civic meetings. Portraits of four notable local women - Dorothea Dix, Lucy Stone, Abby Kelley Foster, and Clara Barton - have been installed in Worcester's Mechanics Hall. A Women's History Heritage Trail, marking the birthplaces, homes, and meeting places of these 19th century pioneers, is underway. Women's Voices, a concert, was held at historic Tuckerman Hall to showcase works by American women composers.

The Worcester Women's History Project is now planning a three-day, citywide celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first National Women's Rights Convention. Entitled Women 2000, the celebration takes place on October 20-22, 2000, at the Worcester Centre Forum and Mechanics Hall. It features a historical reenactment of the convention and a weekend-long conference on women's past, present, and future. Other events include concerts, readings, workshops, panels, and keynote speeches by some of the most distinguished women in America today. Women 2000 promises to be a major milestone for Massachusetts and for women.

We wish to recognize the Worcester Women's History Project as an available public resource in Massachusetts, and we urge you to join us in supporting their mission.