Gianni Franco (www.giannifranco.com)
Welcome to the 2nd article in the Living Loving Rochester, NY Series
Let’s all think back to when we were 16 and ask ourselves what we were doing at that age? Susan B Anthony’s answer to that question in 1837 would be pretty amazing. She, a rebel with a cause, collected petitions against slavery; even though the US House of Representatives had made it illegal to voice opposition to slavery. Women weren’t even allowed to speak unless spoken to in that era, but Susan B Anthony didn’t care. This was only the beginning for Susan B Anthony, as she became vociferous about many topics, including women’s rights, temperance, labor unions, the Civil War, education, and general freedom.
Susan had important confidants in the mid-1800s. She and Frederick Douglass met around 1848 and became lifelong friends. Frederick Douglass spoke many times at Susan’s farm on the Erie Canal, where Brooks Avenue currently exists. The two orators moved the inequality lines drawn in the sand by a million miles, bringing American freedom to where it is today.
Although, she moved the line in the sand, she would be shocked to learn that almost 200 years later; women and minorities are still fighting for their equal treatment in society. Contact your local and state politicians to have the language in the 14th amendment ratified to include all humans as equal. Currently, Section II lists male only, which means the equality law is subject to a judge’s interpretation.
In 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together, they steamrolled the suffrage and temperance movement throughout America and overseas. Susan memorialized Stanton in the NY Times after her 1902 death; stating that Stanton provided the thunderbolts for Susan to fire and light the suffrage movement ablaze. In 1863, they collected 400,000 signatures for a petition to abolish slavery.
In 1868, Elizabeth and Susan became owners and editors for the newspaper, The Revolution, which as the name suggests, revolted against inequality in society.
In 1872, Susan was arrested for voting and fined $100, which she never paid. She would’ve rather rotted in jail, then have given into a law that demeaned women’s rights. Justice Ward Hunt did not imprison her, because if he had, she could’ve taken the case to the Supreme Court on appeal.
Susan B Anthony passed away on March 13, 1906 at the age of 86. She, as well as Frederick Douglass, are buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery.
A personal note to Susan B Anthony; May the knowledge and courage you had seep through the veins of society, and deliver a second awakening for women as well as all minorities and the disparate. Today’s demagogues have led citizens astray and caused the light to dim within the equality tunnel, but I believe in a short time, the light will glow as bright as the statue of liberty torch and illuminate all the streets in the cities and villages across America with promise and equality. The #metoo movement is just the beginning.
Thank you to www.susanbanthonyhouse.org for some of the information listed above.