Turns out that the giant high school I walk past almost every morning on my way to the train was formerly the site of the Ludlow Street Jail — and considering my relentless obsession with Old New York and also Awesome And/Or Crazy Women Who Ran Around Old New York Kicking Ass In Hoop Skirts Or A Bustle Or Whatever, I was doubly psyched to find out that it was briefly home to the outspoken and more-or-less-totally-awesome Victoria Woodhull — check out the article about her arrest from the NYT 1872 archives.
Among other things (such as starting the “obscene newspaper” which lead to that arrest — excerpts here ), she was the first woman to (try to) run for president (and with Frederick Douglass as her running mate, though supposedly he didn’t accept the nomination.) She also was crazy outspoken about a lot of way-before-her-time free-love-but-we’re-not-sluts-and-rape-is-not-ok stuff, which considering it was 1870whatever, basically rules:
To woman, by nature, belongs the right of sexual determination. When the instinct is aroused in her, then and then only should commerce follow. When woman rises from sexual slavery to sexual freedom, into the ownership and control of her organs, man is obliged to respect this freedom.
Also, her campaign song for president? Pretty effing awesome. And finally: REALLY SERIOUS HATS.