“Independence is happiness.” - Susan B. Anthony
On Feb. 15, we celebrate the birthday, legacy and accomplishments of Susan Brownell Anthony, best known for her work in the women’s suffrage movement and as an advocate for many causes that impacted the 19th century. Inspired by her ambitions for an equal society for both women and men, Anthony’s efforts continue to live on today. In honor of Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, we take this day to learn more about her life and the impact she had on U.S. history.
Born in Adams, MA in 1820, the quaker lifestyle of that era influenced her upbringing. She grew up in an environment where men and women were treated equal based on religious beliefs, and because of this, her parents were very dedicated to equal education for all of their children. As such, Anthony decided to pursue a career in education. Shortly after graduating, she moved to New York and immersed herself within the community.
When she was not teaching, Anthony was active in the abolition and temperance movements to end global slave trade. She would deliver speeches and noticed that she was disregarded or not given a voice when it came to making decisions because of her gender. After these incidents, she realized that helping the women’s rights movement needed to be another part of her lifelong advocacy.
She became one of the cofounders of the Women’s National Loyal league that helped abolish slavery through collecting signatures on petitions. After the abolition movement, she became fully invested in a mission for women’s voting rights. In 1869, she became cofounder of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and made a reputation as a notable and respected leader. In 1872, she was arrested for voting in the presidential election in Rochester, New York, but her court trial for these charges only created greater publicity for the women’s suffrage movement, and this event fueled Anthony to continue fighting for her dream. A year before her death in 1906, she was able to meet with President Theodore Rosevelt to discuss the importance of women’s suffrage.
In 1919, Anthony’s dream of gender equality came true with the passing of the 19th amendment that granted women the right to vote. Then in 1979, Anthony became the first women to be featured on a U.S. coin that is still in circulation. Though she wasn’t alive to see the final impact of her life’s work, her legacy lives on still today. Susan B. Anthony took initiative for woman to have a voice in society. She exemplified the importance of living a life with purpose and to never quit on your dreams.
If you would like to learn more about Anthony’s life, I would highly recommend visiting The National Susan B. Anthony Museum in Rochester, New York, or Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in her hometown.