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Ruth Bader Ginsburg

and Local History

by Lynne Belluscio

  Last year, when the University of Buffalo presented Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg with an honorary doctorate, she was asked which women influenced her, and without hesitation, she mentioned Belva Lockwood. In fact, Ginsburg wrote the forward in the acclaimed biography  “Belva Lockwood – The Woman Who Would Be President.” She wrote: “With optimism and tenacity, may we continue to strive as she did to advance our Nation and World the ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all.”. And since all history is local history, here is a short version of the Belva Lockwood story, and what happened in LeRoy. She was born in the little town of Royalton, New York, in Niagara County in 1830. Her father strongly believed that women didn’t need to be educated, but Belva was undaunted.  By ten she had read the entire Bible.  At the age of fifteen she had already been hired to teach school. But in line with her father’s belief that a woman’s purpose in life was to marry and raise a family. . .

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