Thursday, July 21, 2016

Susan B. Anthony

July 2016 - Rochester New York

Click here for the highlights of our visit.

We had planned on visiting the Susan B. Anthony House on Sunday as we knew it was closed on Mondays. But we ran out of time.
However, we did drop by to see the house before we left on Monday.

Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and feminist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who became her lifelong friend and co-worker in social reform activities, primarily in the field of women's rights. In 1852, they founded the New York Women's State Temperance Society after Anthony was prevented from speaking at a temperance conference because she was a woman. In 1863, they founded the Women's Loyal National League, which conducted the largest petition drive in the nation's history up to that time, collecting nearly 400,000 signatures in support of the abolition of slavery. In 1866, they initiated the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for both women and African Americans. In 1868, they began publishing a women's rights newspaper called The Revolution. In 1869, they founded the National Woman Suffrage Association as part of a split in the women's movement. In 1890, the split was formally healed when their organization merged with the rival American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association, with Anthony as its key force. In 1876, Anthony and Stanton began working with Matilda Joslyn Gage on what eventually grew into the six-volume History of Woman Suffrage. The interests of Anthony and Stanton diverged somewhat in later years, but the two remained close friends. 

In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action. In 1878, Anthony and Stanton arranged for Congress to be presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote. Popularly known as the Anthony Amendment and introduced by Sen. Aaron A. Sargent (R-CA), it became the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.

Anthony traveled extensively in support of women's suffrage, giving as many as 75 to 100 speeches per year and working on many state campaigns. She worked internationally for women's rights, playing a key role in creating the International Council of Women, which is still active. She also helped to bring about the World's Congress of Representative Women at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.

When she first began campaigning for women's rights, Anthony was harshly ridiculed and accused of trying to destroy the institution of marriage. Public perception of her changed radically during her lifetime, however. Her 80th birthday was celebrated in the White House at the invitation of President William McKinley. She became the first non fictitious woman to be depicted on U.S. coinage when her portrait appeared on the 1979 dollar coin.

This plaque shows a statue of Susan and Frederick Douglass, and it appears to be located close by.

We made a stop to find some murals in the Susan B. Anthony neighbourhood and found this painted box. Frederick is on the side with Susan.

I managed to get one side of this box.

Lamp posts with Susan and Frederick.

Using the photo we had seen as our compass we found the park square and the striking sculpture, a tribute to the friendship between Frederick Douglass (1818 [chose to celebrate on 2/14] – Feb. 20, 1895) and Susan B. Anthony (Feb. 15, 1820- March 13, 1906), whose bodies are interred in nearby Mount Hope Cemetery where I was told we could stop "the next time".

 It is called “Let’s Have Tea,” and that’s just what they are doing: sitting together, with a table between them set with a teapot, two cups, and two books. “They’re not talking about any particular issue,” says the sculptor Pepsy Kettavong, “but they both are anxious to hear what each is thinking. You’re not quite sure who’s talking or who’s listening, so you have that balance.”

They were unlikely friends, but the struggle for equality that Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass shared created a bond that lasted almost fifty years. These two momentous personalities in American history each had a fiery passion for human rights and equality. When they met, they had only known each other’s reputations, but they became fast friends. They decided to combine their efforts and work together to win equality for African Americans and for women.

Their friendship endured the harsh words and looks of their society. Their friendship lasted in the face of hostility and anger. Their friendship persisted even through their own disagreements—and they could fight like cats and dogs. But these two intellectual giants knew that fighting for what was right was the most important work they could do.
I was reminded of a sculpture in Calgary of the Famous Five who fought for the Canadian Women's Right to Vote, they were having tea also.

Leaving town I managed to get a photo of this mural.


  1. Pepsy Kettavong's sculpture is fabulous, too bad they don't allow taking pictures in the SBA House.

  2. The sculptures of Anthony and Douglass really stand out well. I remember a documentary on Anthony and Stanton some years back. I'd enjoy visiting here.


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.