The first American woman to speak publicly against slavery and for the equality of women, Fanny Wright was a rebel who pursued equality for all. She lived according to her own ideals rather than society’s dictates.
Wright was an inspiration to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was a friend to the Marquis de Lafayette, and with him visited Jefferson and Madison. In 1852 she published a treatise setting forth a plan for the gradual emancipation of all American slaves, and in 1825 created Nashoba, a settlement in Tennessee to train slaves for freedom. For a variety of reasons the project failed, and Wright then moved to New Harmony, where Robert Owen had created his Utopian community. She helped edit the New Harmony Gazette and gave public lectures – considered scandalous in society of the time. She supported the free-thinkers, publishing the Free Enquirer with Robert Owen, calling for birth control, liberalized divorce laws and more. Courageous throughout her life, her tombstone in Cincinnati reads, “I have wedded the cause of human improvement, staked on it my fortune, my reputation and my life.”