The second and final morning of our Margaret Fuller Society conference focused on three wonderful presentations. Yoshiko Ito, who translated “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” into Japanese, presented Fuller’s work with Japan’s women’s rights activist, Hiratsuka Raicho. Katie Kornacki delivered a powerful paper detailing the controversy surrounding anti-capital punishment reform while Fuller wrote as first woman reporter for the New York Tribune. Christina Katopodis considered Margaret’s role in early feminist pragmatism. There was much food for thought for us!
In the afternoon, we gathered at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House on Cherry Street in Cambridge where Fuller lived the first sixteen years of her life as expressed by Phyllis Blum Cole, President of the MF Society. We were greeted warmly by Reverend Dr. Dorothy Emerson, Coordinator of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial Celebration in 2010, and her partner, Donna. It was lovely to see them again seven years later. They brought the scrumptious foods, drinks, and birthday cake to celebrate the 207th birthday of Margaret Fuller, the 25th Anniversary of the Society, and the 115th year of the House as a local community settlement house serving children and adults in the community.
I was especially delighted to be with Joan Von Mehren, author of “Minerva and the Muse: A Life of Margaret Fuller,” with whom I had been on the panel at First Parish of Concord in 2010 for Fuller’s Bicentennial. She still has such a vibrant, positive energy about her. I also met Christina Alexis, Executive Director of the MF Neighborhood House, who welcomed us and took us on a tour of the house serving the local community. She, too, has such a beautiful energy and devotion to her work at hand.
I have found the Society members and participants and the MF Neighborhood House supporters very heartfelt and heart-based, which Margaret would wholly embrace. Fuller extended her heart and care to all those who were being discriminated against in American and European society at the time. She became increasingly devoted to social, economic, and political justice. Fuller expressed inclusiveness and equality in her writings.