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Two hundred and four years ago today, little note was taken of the birth of a Quaker girl who later spearheaded the single most sweeping social and political change in this country since its founding—more than half all Americans who had been resolutely excluded won a voice in their government due, in large part, to her unbelievable dedication.

 That amazing feat was accomplished with very little in the way of resources: no political power, no right to speak in public, no right to public education, no right to own property, and no rights even to their own children—husbands could give them away without the mothers’ consent.  Almost unbelievably, when Tennessee cast the final necessary vote to make Woman Suffrage law some 72 years after the campaign had begun, women’s right to vote was finally won with devotion and sacrifice, but no bloodshed

The stern-looking photographs of the 1800s and early 1900s need to reveal the real personality of this exceptional person.  No doubt she was focused and devoted (she endured endless verbal attacks and threats, along with rotten eggs, rotten tomatoes, and occasional brandishing of knives and pistols).  She also turned down at least five proposals for marriage so as not to be distracted from her work.

She gave hundreds of speeches, wrote hundreds of articles, traveled thousands of miles in primitive transportation, and organized and/or attended thousands of meetings, but still kept her sense of humor, patience, and tolerance.  As she aged, she became affectionately known to the younger suffragists as “Aunt Susan.”  One of her handwritten letters that will be available for the suffrage museum (should Knoxville support it) written in 1895 after nearly 44 years working for the cause says it all.  After discussing the business at hand, she closed with this: “With lots of love and a happy heart, Susan B. Anthony.”

Thank you Susan B. for changing our world.  May we show our appreciation by using our voice to further the cause of fairness and equality for all.