Reading Matters

Sally McMillen reads from new biography Saturday at Park Road Books

If you’ve ever met Davidson prof Sally McMillen, you know that she is like a beam of focused intelligence.

Lucky for the world, and especially for women, she has most recently turned that beam onto a 19th century woman abolitionist and women’s rights leader who’d been all but forgotten by history.

The subject of Lucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life (Oxford University Press, $29.95) was born on a farm in Massachusetts in 1818, and was one of the first women in Massachusetts -- and among only a handful in the country -- to receive a college degree, which she paid for herself because her father thought that women did not need a higher education.

She swore off marriage because she knew that the arrangement stripped women of their legal rights. At last, Henry Blackwell persuaded her to be his wife, and she retained her maiden name, again setting a trend for women in this country.

A dynamic public speaker for abolition and women’s rights, the feisty Lucy wowed audiences with her persuasive talks.

You must ask McMillen why Lucy Stone was not recognized by historians along with other women’s rights activists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. It’s a fascinating story.

WHAT: Reading from Lucy Stone: An Unapologetic Life at 2 p.m. Saturday at Park Road Books.

WHERE: Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, Charlotte 28209

WHEN: Saturday at 2 p.m.

COST: Free and open to the public.