Pat Wiggins enacted Susan B. Anthony at the 85th Anniversary of Women Getting the Vote put on by the Mendocino County NWPC, on Saturday, August 27th in the town of Mendocino, on the Kelly House lawn.
Wiggins said, “They needed a six foot Quaker to play Susan B. Anthony. I’m not a Quaker, but otherwise I qualify. It was quite an honor to be Susan B. Anthony for a day because she was so dedicated to the cause of women getting the vote. Susan traveled endlessly around the country to speak in all kinds of weather, trudging through snow and heat. “
Susan B. Anthony was born in Massachusetts in 1820 to a strict Quaker family. Her father was a strong advocate of abolishing slavery and giving the vote to African Americans. Susan first took up the cause of temperance and wanted strong liquor laws to protect women and children from abusive, drunken, men. But she often was not allowed to speak because she was a woman, and began to see the value of women voting to support such laws. She had the same experience campaigning for abolition, which touched her soul deeply. Supporters of abolition declared that African Americans MALES should get the vote first, then take up women’s vote later. That did not sit well with Susan.
So Susan convinced the inspectors of voter registration that the Constitution was silent on women, it just said men. And she voted. But she was put on trial for voting, was not allowed to speak at her trial, and was fined $100. She was very proud of the fact that she never paid the fine. Susan wanted to go to jail to make women’s vote a national issue. Unfortunately for her, the lawyer representing her posted bail without her knowledge. The Judge, who was extremely harsh with Susan, would not sentence her to jail because he knew as well that would garner sympathy.
Important for the cause of women’s suffrage, Susan, in her later years, successfully trained young women to campaign for women’s vote.
Susan B. Anthony died 14 years before women got the vote, at the age of 86. At her funeral, 10,000 people paid their respects in driving snow. By then she was world famous.
The 19th Amendment, giving women voting rights, passed in 1920. It was hailed as the “Anthony Amendment.”