Know Your HERstory! Second woman to formally run for President.* The first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.

 ” I do not believe in sex distinction in literature, law, politics, or trade — or that modesty and virtue are more becoming to women than to men, but wish we had more of it everywhere.”
–Belva Lockwood

Born in 1830, Belva grew up facing oppression and subjugation of women. Pay was unequal, women couldn’t vote, and marriage was legally tantamount to slavery and more restricting in personal rights than being a single woman.

Lockwood is referred to as a suffragist and challenged the prevailing system, causing much needed change in America. Both an educator and a principal at several schools, she was inspired by Susan B. Anthony to change educational policy to include more “male-oriented” subjects, which would help prepare women for the business world.

Her second husband encouraged her to go to law school. Columbia University denied her application. After completing the courses at the National University Law School, known today as George Washington University Law School, she was denied a diploma because she was a woman. Belva petitioned President Ulysses S. Grant, and she received her diploma in 1873. Unfortunately, sexism prevented her from practicing law, as women were still barred from representing clients in courts.

In 1879, Lockwood successfully petitioned Congress to be allowed to practice law before the U.S. Supreme court and secured the same access to the bar as her male colleagues, becoming the first woman attorney granted this privilege. That same year she was sworn in as the first woman member of the U.S. Supreme Court bar, and was the first woman lawyer to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following in the footsteps of Victoria Woodhull’s 1872 campaign, Belva ran for president in 1884 and 1888 on the National Equal Rights Party ticket. In 1884, it was an all woman ticket with Marietta Stowe nominated as Vice President. Belva Ann Lockwood is known as the first woman to appear on official ballots. She could not even vote for herself, and had little support, because women were not legally allowed to vote.