Feminist, Abolitionist. An organizer of the world's first convention for women's rights, an event held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, Wright was also an ardent abolitionist and participant in the Underground Railroad. Born Martha Coffin, she was the youngest child of Thomas Coffin, a Nantucket sea captain turned merchant, and the former Anna Folger. Soon after her birth the Coffins moved from Boston to Philadelphia, where she was educated in the Quaker tradition. When her father died encumbered by debts in 1815, her mother paid off his creditors and successfully supported her family by running a boardinghouse and small shop. Mrs. Coffin's extraordinary strength and independence became a source of inspiration to Martha and her elder sister, who later became known as Lucretia Mott. In 1824 Martha married a Kentuckian, Peter Pelham, and moved to a frontier fort at Tampa Bay, Florida. Within two years she was left a widow with an infant daughter, however. She subsequently taught drawing and writing at a Quaker school in upstate New York, and there met and married a young law student, David Wright. In time the couple settled in Auburn and had six children, and she was noticeably pregnant when Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony met in her home to plan the landmark convention in nearby Seneca Falls, a fact reflected in the bronze statue of Wright at the Women's Rights National Historic Park. During the years prior to the Civil War she also presided over numerous anti-slavery meetings, and she had been in attendance at the founding of the American Anti-slavery Society in 1833. A close friend of Harriet Tubman, she harbored fugitive slaves in her home, and after the war was instrumental in creating the American Equal Rights Association, which attempted to consolidate support for enfranchising both blacks and women. She sided with Stanton and Anthony, however, when the issue became divisive. A woman of great wit and vitality, in December 1874 she fatally contracted typhoid pneumonia while visiting relatives in Boston, and her death at age 68 stunned those who knew her. She was buried in her son-in-law's family plot, where her daughter Eliza Wright Osborne, also a noted suffragist, and her grandson, prison reformer Thomas Mott Osborne, were later interred.
Bio by: Nikita Barlow