March 18 in freethought history…

matildajoslyngageMarch 18, 1898 – Abolitionist, suffragist, social activist and freethinker Matilda Joslyn Gage dies in Chicago, Illinois, aged 71. As a young woman, she participated in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves escape to freedom. She was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, although she had a falling out (due to her negative views on religion) with Susan B. Anthony, who wanted to avoid secondary controversies that might endanger gaining the right of women to vote. Gage saw organized Christianity as just another way for men to cement their control over women, and worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s on The Woman’s Bible. Incidentally, Gage was mother-in-law to bestselling children’s novelist L. Frank Baum.

March 18, 1923 – Polish-Canadian physician Henry Morgentaler is born in Lodz, Poland. He was a pioneer of birth control in his adopted country. He was also the first president of the Humanist Association of Canada, serving in that position for nearly 30 years; was a signatoree of Humanist Manifesto II; and was named Humanist of the Year in 1975 by the American Humanist Association. He died in 2013, aged 90.

March 18, 1980 – Philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm (whose books include Escape from Freedom and The Art of Loving) dies Muralto, Switzerland, aged 79. He was named Humanist of the Year in 1966 by the American Humanist Association.


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