Birth of Susan B. Anthony
Birth of Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts.
Anthony’s father was a Quaker and abolitionist that taught all of his children how to be self-sufficient from an early age. When Anthony was six, her father moved the family to Battenville, New York to manage a cotton mill. She then attended – and later taught at – a Quaker boarding school.
Anthony’s family moved again in 1845, to Rochester, New York. They soon found their home to be the gathering place of local activists, including Frederick Douglass, who became a lifelong friend to Anthony. The following year she began serving as headmistress of the female department of the Canajoharie Academy. When she realized she was making less money than men doing similar jobs, she grew interested in the women’s rights movement. Interestingly, her family had attended a women’s rights conference while she away. At the time she claimed, “I wasn’t ready to vote, didn’t want to vote, but I did want equal pay for equal work.”
After the school closed, Anthony briefly ran her family’s farm before choosing to dedicate all of her time to reform work – the abolition of slavery, temperance (the prohibition of alcohol), and women’s rights. Then she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention for women’s rights, in 1851. The two were ideal collaborators, with Stanton providing ideas and Anthony delivering rousing speeches. When Anthony was denied the right to speak at a temperance event, she realized women wouldn’t be taken seriously unless they had the right to vote.
With the Civil War over and slavery abolished, Anthony helped found the American Equal Rights Association, which demanded the same rights for everyone regardless of race or sex. She later helped create the National Woman Suffrage Association, with which she traveled the country delivering speeches for the cause. Then, in 1872, Anthony illegally voted in the presidential election. She was arrested and fined $100 (which she never paid).
In 1878, Anthony and Stanton proposed the Anthony Amendment to Congress, aimed at giving women the right to vote. Though it didn’t pass at the time, she didn’t give up. Anthony continued to campaign, delivering up to 100 speeches per year toward the cause. She helped create the International Council of Women as well as the Worlds Congress of Representative Women at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
Anthony even met with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to lobby for her amendment. However, she died a year later, 14 years before her life’s work was realized and women received the right to vote in 1920. In 1979, she was honored as the first woman on a U.S. coin.
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