Feb. 15 is Susan B. Anthony Day

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Provided by Prince William County Office of Communication

Women’s Suffragist icon Susan B. Anthony was born on Feb. 15, 1820, to a Quaker family living near Adams, Massachusetts.

Anthony’s lifetime of work led to the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

In 1845, Anthony’s family moved to Rochester, New York, and became active in the antislavery movement.

At about the same time, Anthony took a teaching job in Canajoharie, New York, where she learned, through her involvement with the teachers’ union, that men were paid considerably more than women. Men made $10 a month teaching while women made $2.50 a month, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who became a lifelong friend, in 1851 at the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments Seneca Falls Convention, which kicked off the Women’s Rights Movement. The friendship put Anthony on the course to become the country’s best-known suffragist.

In 1852, Anthony joined the Women’s Rights Movement where she campaigned for property rights, collected signatures, and lobbied the state legislature for women’s rights. She joined the fight against slavery in 1856 when she became an agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Her speeches, leaflet distribution, and community organizing were met with hostile mobs, which threw things at her and burned her in effigy.

In 1856, Anthony and Stanton founded American Equal Rights Association and together edited “The Revolution” the association’s newspaper, which had the motto “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

Anthony, Stanton, and other suffragists founded the National Women’s Suffrage Association in 1869 and the organization challenged voting law in the 1872 presidential election. Her work landed her in jail in Canandaigua, New York.

The judge in her trial instructed the jury to find her guilty and fined her $100 and court costs. Anthony told the judge to put her in jail until she paid the fine, but the judge declined to give her a prison sentence, ending her chances of appeal. An appeal could have taken Anthony’s case to the Supreme Court. Anthony never paid the fine.

Anthony died in 1906. The 19th Amendment was named the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.


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