Who is Susan B. Anthony? Why we celebrate women’s voting rights on Feb. 15

Saturday marks 200 years since birth of Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was a prominent leader in the suffragist and abolitionist movements, and is the namesake of the 19th amendment. Susan B. Anthony Day is celebrated on her birthday, Feb. 15.

Suffragist, abolitionist and labor rights advocate Susan B. Anthony is remembered on her birthday, Feb. 15, because of her work toward equal rights. Saturday marks the bicentennial of her birth in 1820.

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Anthony began her leadership role at age 17, when she started to collect petitions against slavery.

She often relied on her Quaker roots as the basis of her then-radical beliefs. Anthony was the second oldest of seven children. Her family owned a farm and raised her to believe that everyone was equal under God. Many of her siblings also led anti-slavery efforts in their lifetimes.

In 1846, Anthony began to teach at Canajoharie Academy, making $110 annually, according to The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House. She quickly became aware of the wage gap between men and women in the profession.

Susan B. Anthony led the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. 

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Her focus on women’s inequality truly started when she became friends with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They started a women’s suffrage organization in 1869 that eventually merged with one created by Lucy Stone to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

Anthony continued to speak and ran a suffrage newspaper called The Revolution. She also lobbied Congress.

"Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less," read the slogan of her newspaper.

Her name reached the national spotlight in November 1872, when she was arrested for voting in an election in Rochester, New York. She was fined $100 but was not imprisoned.

Anthony continued to travel the nation and speak for women’s voting rights until her death in 1906.

It wasn’t until 14 years after she passed away that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed, granting all U.S. women the right to vote.

Women who voted in the 2016 election put stickers on the grave of Susan B. Anthony at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

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The legislation is known as the Susan B. Anthony amendment, and Feb. 15 is celebrated as Susan B. Anthony Day.

A bill to distinguish her birthday as a national holiday entered Congress in 2011. Currently, the states that recognize Susan B. Anthony Day are Wisconsin, Florida, West Virginia, California and New York.

This year marks 200 years after Anthony’s birth and will be celebrated at the museum at 17 Madison in Rochester, the former voting parlor site where she illegally voted.

The city has commemorated Anthony with an art installation. Events are lined up for the rest of the significant anniversary year for #SUSANB200.