You might remember a post from awhile back about my hunt for the first American woman to get a passport. (The answer: we don’t know, but she was probably listed as “and wife” on her husband’s passport.)
Well, over the past couple of months, that post evolved into a piece for Atlas Obscura, which went live yesterday. Here’s the lead:
The 1920s Women Who Fought For the Right to Travel Under Their Own Names
The current U.S. passport includes 13 inspirational quotes from notable Americans. Only one belongs to a woman, the African-American scholar, educator, and activist Anna J. Cooper. On pages 26-27 are words she wrote in 1892: “The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class—it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity.”
If equality is a journey, then it should come as no surprise that passports have helped American women to cross some of society’s most entrenched cultural borders for more than a century.