Another trip to Rochester (picking our son up from music camp), but this time I returned inspired not by natural beauty (first trip included Niagara Falls), but by Susan B. Anthony’s passionate and relentless commitment to making it possible for women to cast their votes. Anthony spent most of her adult life in Rochester, New York and her modest home on a tree-lined street is open to the public. J.D. Lynn, our enthusiastic and well-informed tour guide, could have persuaded even the most reluctant visitor that this was a home worth visiting. Anthony’s life was a model of single minded dedication, and I will never cast another vote without thinking of her. Among other stories Lynn told us was one about how Anthony illegally voted in the 1872 presidential election and then, when the U.S. Federal Marshall arrived at her home to arrest her, offered her wrists to be handcuffed. She was found guilty of course, and fined $100.00. Anthony never did pay the $100.00, saying “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.”
It struck me as particularly sad that she did not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. She died 14 years before women could vote without fear of arrest.
If a trip to Rochester isn’t possible, here is a list of books which should inspire young women to register to vote on their 18th birthdays!
I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda Arms White (grades 2-4)
Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone (grades 2-4)
Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Women’s Rights by Deborah Hopkinson (grades 2-4)
You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? by Jean Fritz (grades 4-6)
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Women’s Right to Vote by Ann Bausum (grades 7-9)
There’s another book coming out this fall which looks promising…Keep your eyes open for Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage by Claire Rudolf Murphy.