Belva Ann Bennet life and biography

Belva Ann Bennet picture, image, poster

Belva Ann Bennet biography

Date of birth : 1830-10-24
Date of death : 1917-05-19
Birthplace : Royalton, New York
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-10-24
Credited as : Lawyer and activist, women's rights and peace movements,

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Born Belva Ann Bennett on October 24, 1830, in Royalton, New York. Active in the women’s rights and peace movements, Belva Lockwood fought hard for the right to become the first woman to argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a teenager, Lockwood married Uriah McNall. At the age of 22, Lockwood lost her husband and was left to care for their daughter alone.

Belva Lockwood worked as a teacher as a means of supporting herself and her daughter. She also sought to improve her own education, graduating from Genessee College in 1857 with a bachelor’s degree.

In 1865, Lockwood moved to Washington, D.C., where she became active in the fight for equal rights for women. Painfully aware that women made less money than men doing the same job, Lockwood lobbied for a bill that would give federal employees the same salaries, no matter their gender. The measure passed, and she decided on a career in the law. Also around this time she met and married Dr. Ezekiel Lockwood.

Denied entry into law school because she was a woman, Belva Lockwood studied privately with a member of the administration of the National University Law School and earned a law degree in 1873. As a lawyer, she continued to break gender-related obstacles. At the time, women were not allowed to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lockwood tried twice to remove this restriction. In 1879, she got Congress to pass a law that allowed her appear in front of the highest court in the nation.

As part of her work for women’s rights, Belva Lockwood ran for president of the United States in 1884 and again in 1888 as the Equal Rights Party candidate. She told voters that she would improve the rights of women and minorities. While not a serious contender in either race, Lockwood helped inform a wide audience about issues important to her.

In addition to women’s rights, Belva Lockwood worked on peace efforts and minority rights. She served as a delegate to several peace conferences in Europe in 1880s and 1890s. In one of her most famous cases, she appeared in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of the Cherokee people regarding money owed to them from the U.S. government. In 1906, Lockwood won a $5 million award for her clients.

Throughout her life, Belva Lockwood spoke out on important issues, such as equal rights, minority rights, and suffrage, and fought hard as a force for social change. She died on May 19, 1917, in Washington, D.C.

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