If you have been on Google recently, you might have noticed the picture of a woman raising her fist painted on a wall, while a line of women stands in front of it, waiting to vote.
This woman is Susan B. Anthony, and just a few days ago, on February 15, Google and the rest of the world celebrated her 200th birthday.
On February 15, 1820, Susan B. Anthony was born into a Quaker family of eight children.
Because of her Quaker faith, she was taught from a young age that all were equal under God. Her family was passionate about fighting for social reform. When she was just 16, Anthony collected signatures to support the abolition of slavery.
In 1826, Anthony’s family moved to New York, where she met abolitionists Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, who were her father’s friends. They inspired her and she became an abolitionist activist as well, even though it was considered improper for women to speak out in public.
In 1848, a group of women held the first National Convention for Women’s Rights in Seneca Falls, New York.
One of these women was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While Anthony did not attend the convention, she met Stanton a few years later in 1851. They became good friends and worked together for many years fighting for women’s rights. Anthony had a talent for strategizing and organizing while Stanton could write impressive speeches.
Together, Anthony and Stanton organized a Women’s State Temperance Society to petition for a law restricting alcohol sales in New York, founded the American Equal Rights Association, and published a newspaper called The Revolution that discussed equal pay for men and women. In the offices of their newspaper, they created the Working Women’s Association, a group that provided more opportunities for working women.
Of all the things they did, Anthony and Stanton are most well-known for their role in women’s suffrage. They founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 to push for women’s voting rights.
In 1872, Anthony and some other women voted in the presidential election. During that time, it was illegal for women to vote. Anthony was arrested and charged with a fine of $100, but she refused to pay. Because of this event, Anthony’s campaign became widely known. She traveled all over the country, giving speeches and collecting signatures to convince Congress to pass a law giving women the right to vote.
In 1890, two rival women’s suffrage groups were merged into one -- the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, and Anthony was one of the leaders of this organization. Another one of her notable achievements was founding the International Suffrage Alliance with women from all over the world.
On March 13, 1906, Anthony passed away in her home in Rochester, New York. Fourteen years later, the 19th Amendment was passed and women finally got the right to vote. Although Anthony was not there to see it, her work contributed to this victory for women.
Nowadays, you might spot Susan B. Anthony on the dollar coin. When you do, think about how the work of one woman changed the lives of women for the better!
Sources: CNN, DW, Women's History, Britannica, Biography.com