Colman, Lucy N.

Born in 1818 in Massachusetts, Lucy N. Colman embraced the causes of abolitionism and woman's rights. By 1852 she renounced Christianity. While residing in Rochester, she accepted employment as a teacher in a segregated "colored school." So deeply did its segregation repel her that she lobbied parents to withdraw their children, causing the school to close. She established a reputation as a campaigner for liberal causes whose special gift lay in silencing Christian hecklers by throwing their own principles back at them.

When her only daughter died in 1862, Colman spurned a traditional funeral, opting instead for a secular memorial conducted by Frederick Douglass. She wholeheartedly embraced freethought.

Attending the 1878 New York State Freethinkers' Association Convention in Watkins Glen at which atheist publisher D. M. Bennett and two others were arrested for selling a marriage reform and birth control tract, Colman arranged bail for one of the trio and campaigned successfully for charges to be dropped against all three.

She is also known to have spoken at the New York Freethinkers' Association convention held at Hornellsville on September 2-6, 1880, as did the celebrated agnostic orator Robert Green Ingersoll.

By 1878 she had moved to Syracuse, where she wrote her autobiography, Reminiscences, and died in 1906, aged eighty-eight.