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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

STANTON (DAY SESSIONS), LUCY ANN - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

STANTON (DAY SESSIONS), LUCY ANN (16 Oct. 1831-18 Feb. 1910) became the first black American woman to complete a four-year college course when, in 1850, she graduated with a Literary Degree from the Ladies' Literary Course of Oberlin College.

Born free in Cleveland to Samuel and Margaret Stanton, Lucy attended her stepfather John Brown's school and entered Oberlin in the mid-1840s. She became president of the Oberlin Ladies Literary Society and delivered the graduation address entitled "A Plea For The Oppressed", an antislavery speech published in the "Oberlin Evangelist".

After graduation Stanton taught in a black school in Columbus. She married WILLIAM HOWARD DAY† on 25 Nov. 1852 (divorced 1872) and returned to Cleveland. In 1854 Stanton wrote a short story on slavery for her husband's newspaper, the ALIENED AMERICAN; the first time a black woman had published a fictional story.

In 1856 the Days moved to Buxton, Canada. In 1858 Stanton had a daughter, Florence. In 1859 William Day left for England, abandoning his family. Stanton returned to Cleveland and worked as a seamstress. Committed to aiding freedmen Stanton was sent by the Cleveland Freedmen's Association in 1866 to teach in Georgia. During the 1870s she taught in Mississippi where she met and, in 1878, married Levi Sessions.

Stanton moved to Tennessee and, in the 1880s and 1890s, was an officer in the Women's Relief Corps, a grand matron of the Order of Eastern Star, and president of a local chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Stanton belonged to the African Methodist Episcopal Church and died in Los Angeles, CA.

Lawson, Ellen N. The Three Sarahs: Documents of Antebellum Black College Women (1984).

Last Modified: 22 Jul 1997 04:33:21 PM

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