Chuck Schumer pushes to dedicate Owego post office to Belva Lockwood

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Owego’s post office could be dedicated to feminist pioneer Belva Lockwood

Ashley Biviano

Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Published 12:41 PM EDT Aug 7, 2019

The post office in downtown Owego could be renamed to honor feminist pioneer and Upstate New York native Belva Lockwood.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer visited Owego on Wednesday morning to announce proposed legislation that would rename the location at 6 Lake St. the Belva Lockwood Post Office Building.

The announcement comes the year before the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. 

“Belva Lockwood was a feminist icon and in so many ways personified what it means to be an American, never backing down from a fight or allowing rejection to stop her,” Schumer said.

Belva Lockwood was the first woman to appear on a Presidential ballot. The Owego post office could be dedicated to her if the legislation passes.
Provided Photo

Lockwood was born in 1830 and was former principal of the Owego Female Seminary. She went on to become a lawyer and was the first woman to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also ran for president of the United States in 1884 and 1888.

“Belva Lockwood was an amazing individual who has gone largely unrecognized in our history,” said Martha Sauerbrey, Chair of the Tioga County Legislature. “It’s time we recognize her accomplishments and honor the trailblazer that she was.”

Who was Belva Lockwood?

Lockwood graduated from Genesee College in 1857 and worked at the Lockport Union School and Gainesville Female Seminary before moving to Owego, where she became principal of the Owego Female Seminary.

Lockwood applied to three law schools but was rejected by them all because of her gender. She then attended the National University School of Law but was denied a diploma. She petitioned then-President Ulysses S. Grant and ultimately earned the right to practice law.

The Owego post office could be renamed to honor feminist Belva Lockwood.
Provided Photo

In 1876, Lockwood was rejected as a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar, reportedly because she was a woman. She gained admission after a three-year fight and in 1880 became the first female lawyer to practice in front of the Supreme Court. 

Lockwood became the first woman to officially appear on a presidential ballot as a member of the National Equal Rights Party in 1884 and 1888.

Follow Ashley Biviano on Twitter at @ashley_biviano. Have a tip? Click here to send her an email. 

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