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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Belva Lockwood

b. 1830, Royalton, New York; d. 1917, Washington, D.C.

In 1869, Belva Lockwood co-founded the Equal Rights Association of Washington, an organization committed to securing equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race or sex. As the first female American lawyer—she was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia in 1873—Lockwood successfully petitioned Congress to allow women to argue cases before the Supreme Court. She won a landmark case before the U.S. Court of Claims for a member of the Cherokee tribe seeking interest due on a treaty between the U.S. government and the Cherokee people. Lockwood was the first woman to run for U.S. president, as the nominee of the Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888.