Susan B. Anthony

Photo - Schlessinger Library,Radcliffe College Photo - Schlessinger Library,Radcliffe College

On this date in 1820, Susan Brownell Anthony was born in Massachusetts. Susan taught school from ages 15 to 30 before devoting her life to reform. She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, starting in 1850, became lifelong feminist collaborators. The tireless crusader spent 30 years campaigning for women's suffrage. Raised Quaker, Susan became a Unitarian, but at the end of her life was an agnostic, according to Stanton, who wrote: "Every energy of her soul is centered upon the needs of this world. To her, work is worship." Susan's professed "creed" was that of "the perfect equality of women." While privately scolding her radical friend Elizabeth for editing the controversial Woman's Bible, Susan publicly defended her: "I think women have just as much a right to interpret and twist the Bible to their own advantage as men always have interpreted and twisted it to theirs" (interview in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, quoted in The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, 1908). Anthony also confessed: "But while I do not consider it my duty to tear to tatters the lingering skeletons of the old superstitions and bigotries, yet I rejoice to see them crumbling on every side." Celebrating "Aunt Susan's" birthday became an annual feminist tradition starting with her 50th birthday. At Susan's 86th birthday celebration in 1906, while giving her last public address, she acknowledged other feminists and vowed: "with such women consecrating their lives, failure is impossible!" D. 1906.

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.”

—Susan B. Anthony, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, Vol. I, page 197, edited by Ida Hustad Harper (1908). (Also see a href=http://ffrf.org/shop/books/details.php?cat=fbooks&ID=FB8

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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