Photo Courtesy JordiDelgado
Women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony was featured on a one dollar coin in the 20th century, a token to just how influential she was.
“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”
While this quote is very much applicable to today, it was actually from a rally in 1893.
Susan B. Anthony, one of the most famous women’s suffrage leaders in U.S. history uttered those words as a rallying cry to organize women to fight for their right to vote.
Susan Brownell Anthony was born on Feb. 15, 1820 in Adams, Mass. Both of her parents were activists who supported multiple causes including ending slavery and promoting the temperance movement which sought to make drinking alcohol or producing it, illegal.
Following in her parents’ footsteps, Anthony began her life as an activist fighting for the same causes as her family.
In 1852, Anthony was elected as a delegate to attend a temperance convention. When she tried to speak at the convention, the chairman shut her down and told her and the other women that they were there to listen and learn, not to speak.
Anthony and some of the other women were so angry they walked out of the convention.
This incident was the catalyst that started her down the path of fighting for women’s rights to vote or suffrage.
Anthony and fellow activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, created the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869.
Through the organization, Anthony worked tirelessly traveling around the country giving speeches and organizing rallies to promote the right for women to vote.
Anthony decided to force the issue of women’s suffrage by voting in the presidential election of 1872 when incumbent Ulysses S. Grant was running against Horace Greeley.
When it was found out what she had done, she was arrested and fined $100 for voting illegally.
She never paid the fine stating that, “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.”
Although Anthony dedicated her life to fighting for women’s voting rights, she died 14 years before the 19th Amendment was passed on Aug. 18, 1920.
It became known as the Women’s Suffrage Amendment and guaranteed every citizen of the United States the right to vote regardless of their sex.
On Aug. 18, 2020, President Donald Trump awarded a posthumous presidential pardon to Susan B. Anthony during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment.
“Women dominate the United States. I think we can say that very strongly,” said President Trump pointing out there are 131 women in congress, 70 million women voters, and millions of women who own small businesses.
The pardon wasn’t without controversy though.
The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House tweeted out, “Objection! Mr. President,” and went on to explain how they felt Anthony would not have wanted the pardon as she felt that she hadn’t done anything wrong.
The museum continued by saying, “To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same.”
Regardless if the pardon was necessary or not, Anthony was an extraordinary woman.
She not only fought for women’s rights but fought for fair labor practices, sex education, equal pay for equal work and against all forms of discrimination. She was a woman far ahead of her time.