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Crystal Catherine Eastman

(1881–1928) Crystal began her reform work by improving labor conditions. She drafted a workers’ compensation law, the first of its kind in the country, requiring employers to cover costs for injuries endured on the job. Several states passed workers’ compensation laws based on Crystal’s model in response to public outcry following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

In 1912, Crystal spearheaded a state suffrage campaign in Wisconsin. Its failure convinced her that the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)’s state-by-state strategy was too slow, and in 1913 she joined Alice Paul and Lucy Burns to found the Congressional Union (later the National Woman’s Party) to press for a suffrage amendment to the constitution.
A committed peace activist, Crystal founded the Woman’s Peace Party (WWP, later the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) with colleagues Jane Addams and Lillian Wald in 1915. Eastman also contributed to the founding of the the National Civil Liberties Bureau, to protect the rights of conscientious objectors to military service. This organization would become the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Crystal delivered her classic speech “Now We Can Begin” in 1920, following the ratification of the 19th Amendment. She called for equal pay for women workers and an end to employment descrimination; to that end, she co-authored the Equal Rights Amendment with Alice Paul. She argued that women could never be equal without equality in the home, and advocated for women to be able to control if and when they had children, and to have domestic labor recognized, compensated, and shared with men. Valuation and control of reproductive labor and an end to gendered divisions of labor in the household would become central to the second-wave feminist movement.


Woodlawn Cemetery

Section: 5
Lot: 207 NP

130 N Pearl Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424

Ontario County

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