February 20, 1872

Worcester Puts Fosters' Home Up For Auction


On this day in 1872, Worcester city officials put up for auction the home of Stephen and Abby Kelley Foster. The veteran abolitionists were once again sacrificing their personal well-being to protest an injustice. Ninety-nine years after the Boston Tea Party, they sounded the cry "No taxation without representation." Since Abby Kelley Foster—like every other American woman—was deprived of the right to vote, she and her husband refused to pay their taxes. The city took title to the property, but unwilling to antagonize a sympathetic public, did not evict them. A new auction was held every year. Every year, Stephen Foster was the only bidder, and the city took the back taxes out of what he paid.

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