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When Courage Calls: Josephine Butler and the Radical Pursuit of Justice for Women

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781399803755

Price: £25

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Millicent Fawcett, the leader of the British suffragist movement, described Josephine Butler as ‘the most distinguished English woman of the nineteenth century’. Among the first feminist activists, Butler raised public awareness of the plight of destitute women, worked to address human trafficking and led a vigorous campaign to secure equal rights for women before the law. In her pursuit of justice, Butler did as much for women as William Wilberforce did for African slaves within the British Empire, and yet, while Wilberforce remains a household name, Butler is forgotten.

Social historian Sarah C. Williams presents a re-examined biography of the radical political activist Josephine Butler. From the beauty of her childhood in Northumbria, to the stifling intellectual environment of mid-Victorian Oxford; from the impoverished streets of Liverpool and the brothels of London, Brussels and Paris, to the offices of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. Butler’s relentless drive to secure rights for women against the sexual double standard of her day captures a remarkable woman with deeply held values for equality.

Underpinning Butler’s public life of political activism lies the full corpus of her writing and the spirituality that grounded her activism. When Courage Calls offers a profound examination of Butler’s inner life of prayer, defined by her radical sense of justice that was able to transform Victorian society. Such conviction offers us a taste of the possibility for our time and culture.

This biography presents a fresh interpretation of the relationship between Josephine Butler’s public leadership, her political activism and her spirituality.