In the 19th century, voices for social reform reached a high pitch—both figuratively and literally. Recognizable women’s voices were heard in various reform movements: Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Dorothea Dix, Harriet Tubman, Catherine Beecher and her sister Harriet Beecher-Stowe. These women were active in bringing about change in the societal roles and treatment of women, children, slaves, freedmen, and persons who were illiterate, disabled, poor, or incarcerated. A name not as recognizable, yet often held as an example of activism for educational rights of emancipated blacks, is that of Margaret Douglass—a white Virginian woman who was jailed for a month for violating an 1849 law prohibiting the teaching of reading and writing to freedmen. Although Douglass’ actions and the consequences faced for them have earned her a modicum of notoriety, further consideration may affirm that the limited status she holds as a social activist is warranted.
Smith, Samuel J. 5924342
"Margaret Douglass: Literacy Education to Freed Blacks in Antebellum Virginia,"
Bound Away: The Liberty Journal of History: Vol. 2
, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/ljh/vol2/iss2/4