Women all over the United States will celebrate the day this woman was born for she was instrumental in changing our course in history forever. A Susan B. Anthony celebration in honor of a woman that spent her entire life fighting for the rights of women should be honored more than just with a circulating coin and a stamp. She put her heart, soul, and almost her freedom into her fight against the inequality that she and others like her faced. We owe her our respect and gratitude and may Susan B. Anthony never be forgotten.

A prominent civil rights leader, Susan Brownwell Anthony was born in Massachusetts on February 15, 1820, into a rather large Quaker family. Her parents were Daniel and Lucy Anthony, and they were activist in their own rights who were strong believers in self-worth. The Anthony’s had eight children and taught them all the ways of the Quaker life and to believe in their personal convictions. Two of Susan’s younger siblings were also advocates of other civil rights movement occurring in those times. Her brother, Daniel Read Anthony, became publisher of Leavenworth Times in Kansas after he settled down there. He had gone to Kansas as part of the movement to fight against the extension of slavery in the Kansas Territory. One of her younger sisters was named Mary Stafford Anthony. When Mary grew up she became a teacher and a women’s right activist as well, but never to the extent of Susan‘s battle.

Growing Up

Susan learned the hard lesson about inequality while attending school as a small child. Anthony had learned to read and write by the time she was just three years old. At the age of six, her family relocated to Battenville, New York. Her parent placed Anthony in a local school, but pulled her back out shortly afterwards because the teacher refused to teach her long division. Females were not allowed to learn this type of math according to the belief system at the time. Her father promptly placed his daughter in a group home and taught her himself. While there, Anthony was influence by strong woman named Mary Perkins who fostered her beliefs in women’s right and set her on the path to the woman she became.

Her Early Years

As Susan was just beginning to start her career, the Panic of 1837 ruined her family financially. Two years later she took on a teaching job to help pay off her fathers debts. Anthony worked her way up to headmistress of the Seminary where she taught along side of many men and women. This was her first taste of inspiration for fighting for wage rights when she became aware that the men made four times more pay than the women for the same job.

Her Journey as a Social Advocate

Even though she was insecure about her appearance and public speaking abilities, her beliefs persevered and pushed Anthony further than she ever dreamed. At 16, she had been involved in the anti-slavery movement where she had collected petition against a gag ruled that was instituted by the House of Representatives. This act pushed her further in the public arena. Thirteen years later she became the secretary for the Daughters of Temperance. This group fought against the abstinence of alcohol for which she became a speaker for the movement. Twenty years later after reading an article in the New York Tribune, Susan became even more dedicated to women’s rights after being influence by one of the speakers the article made reference to known as Lucy Stone. Little did she know that later they would meet on the streets of Seneca Falls. She also met a feminist Amelia Bloomer and another women’s right activist named Elizabeth Canton who would join her in her battle against the current policies of the time.

Anthony and Canton organized the first Women’s State Temperance Society in America. A year later she was invited to speak at the National Women’s Right Convention held in Syracuse, New York. Here involvements with this group over the years eventually lead to a presidency over the organization, however, due to some controversy; she and Stanton eventually resigned from the Women’s State Temperance Society in Rochester. In 1866, they founded the American Equal Rights Association, but by 1869 the suffrage movement split with Stanton’s Association fighting for a constitutional amendment, and Anthony’s Women’s Suffrage movement was fighting for state-by-state voting rights.

During her early years and throughout her campaign, Susan B. Anthony had always tried to unite the African-American and women’s movement into one fight for equal rights. After a falling out with abolitionist Fredrick Douglas, Anthony began to concentrate only on women’s issues.

By 1872, Susan B. Anthony was arrested for “illegally” voting in the presidential election. She was tried, convicted, and charged a $100 fine in which she refused to pay. She argued the 14th Amendment as her reasoning for voting. The courts never received their money for this fine. This trial only spread her cause across the nation and gave her even more notoriety.

Susan B. Anthony continued to make stride throughout her life for all causes related to equal rights dedicated her entire life to the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and the labor union for women. The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote did not occur until 14 years after her death. She was honored as the first for women. Anthony and Stanton formed the National Women’s Suffrage Association in 1869, and before their movements split in different directions more controversy had arisen. During her association with this organization she once again tried to unite this group with another leading to disastrous consequences. She and Stanton were delegates at the National Labor Union; however, she was later expelled from this organization due to some of her advocates resenting her for what they felt like was alienation of certain groups. This lead to increase tension between her and Stanton that had their earlier split. Even though she fought for many causes, women’s rights is what she is best remembered for to this day.

On March 13, 1906, Susan B. Anthony died of heart disease or pneumonia. Never married, she woman to appear on a United States coin, the Susan B. Anthony dollar. In 1936, she was featured on a U.S. commemorative stamp, and then again on a regular stamp in 1955. Today a pro-life organization is named in her honor, and her home is registered as a National Historic Landmark. In 2010, it was opened to the public as the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. An opera was written in her honor named The Mother of Us All by an American composer, and a sculptor commemorating her, Stanton, and Mott, was unveiled at the United States Capitol in 1921.