UU Women and Religion

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This Is It - The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Year

Margaret Fuller Bicentennial
Margaret Fuller is appearing all over the world this year. She has come back to prominence to celebrate her 200th birthday on May 23, 2010. In one form or another, Margaret is coming to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; North Palm Beach, Florida; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Warrington, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Southfield, Michigan; Montclair, California; and Gwynedd, Wales; as well as to the places she lived in New England and New York City. Is she coming to your area?

Margaret Fuller was a writer, activist, and futurist who changed the way people viewed the world. One of the guiding lights of the first wave of feminism, she helped educate the women of her day by leading a series of Conversations in which women were empowered to read, think, and discuss important issues. She inspired generations to follow (including those who called the 1848 first women’s rights meeting at Seneca Falls) through her ground-breaking writings, especially her landmark book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Her dispatches from England and Italy, where she supported the Italian Revolution of 1848, mark her as an early trans-nationalist and a role model for today’s global society.

Have you encountered Margaret Fuller recently? If not, this year would be a great time to get to know her or to renew your connection. Not only is she being honored this year as one of our most notable UU foremothers but also many others in the United States and Europe are honoring her as well.

The Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee itself represents the wide range of those who have a passion for sharing the story of this amazing woman. It is a grassroots group of scholars, representatives of historical sites, commissions, and organizations, as well as Unitarian Universalist ministers and lay people. We have been meeting in the Boston area and networking with people all over the country who are participating in the Bicentennial.

Our primary tool for communication and networking is our website: www.margaretfuller.org. There you will find resources to help you create your own local programs and celebrations.

  • “Why Margaret Fuller Matters” Traveling Display is a series of 10 colorful 24-inch x 18-inch foam core panels with text and images designed to answer the fundamental question of why this great nineteenth-century figure remains important two centuries after her birth. The display, which you can bring to your location, introduces audiences to Margaret Fuller’s life, her ideas, her writings, and her vision of a just world. A booklet for use with the display contains a timeline of her life.
  • Margaret Fuller Worship Resources Packet with helpful materials to use in constructing a worship service.
  • Sermon Contest sponsored by the UU Historical Society and the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Committee.
  • Calendar of events to which you are invited to add whatever you plan in your area.
  • Invitation to join the network of Margaret supporters and receive notices of new resources and upcoming events.
  • Opportunity to make a donation to ensure the continuing development and availability of resources about this amazing woman.

Many thanks are due to UU Women & Religion for generously serving as fiscal agent for the grant we received from the Fund for Unitarian Universalism. Additional funding has been received from the UU Historical Society and numerous individual donors. Without financial support we could not do this work and we know Margaret, who struggled financially during her life, would be pleased with the support being given to this Bicentennial effort.

Years ago, Ramona Barth, one of the first UU women to lift up the importance of women’s history, started a Margaret Fuller Foundation. We are not sure what happened with it after she died, but some of us think an important outcome of this Bicentennial year could be to revive or start such a foundation to keep Margaret Fuller’s legacy alive for the future.

Most of all, though, we hope you will join the celebration—and let us know what you are doing to bring Margaret Fuller to life in your community. If you don’t have an internet connect, you may contact Dorothy Emerson at 339-206-0829.