Belva Ann Lockwood Biography

Belva Ann Lockwood

(née Bennett)
Washington, DC, lawyer and women's rights activist
Born: 10/24/1830
Birthplace: Royalton, N.Y.

As a young woman, Lockwood taught at a number of schools in upstate New York. After her first husband died in 1853, leaving her with a young daughter to support, she made the unusual decision to continue her education. She graduated from Genesee College (later Syracuse University) in 1857 and resumed teaching. After relocating to Washington, DC, she attended (1871-1873) the new National University Law School and was admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1873. An advocate for women's rights, she secured (1872) the passage of a law granting equal pay for equal work to women employees in the federal government, and in 1879 she became the first woman admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Lockwood ran twice for U.S. president as the National Equal Rights Party's candidate in 1884 and 1888. In 1903 she wrote the congressional amendments granting suffrage to women in the new states of Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico. Lockwood was also a delegate to various peace congresses in Europe.

Died: 5/19/1917