Susan B. Anthony Birthday Act
I introduced the Susan B. Anthony Birthday Act, which will designate the third Monday in February as a day to celebrate the legacy of Susan B. Anthony. Susan Brownell Anthony is remembered for creating the first women’s movement in the United States and leading that movement for more than 50 years.
Born on February 15, 1820, Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851 and attended her first women’s rights convention in Syracuse in 1852, where she joined the fight to get women the right to vote, arguing that, “the right women needed above every other...was the right of suffrage.” The first proposal for women’s suffrage was presented to Congress in 1868 and Susan B. Anthony appeared before every Congress from 1869 to 1906 to ask for passage of a suffrage amendment. She served as the president of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 until 1900.
The first formal women’s suffrage amendment to the Constitution of the United States was introduced in January 1878 and was subsequently introduced in every session of Congress for the next 41 years. Before her death on March 13, 1906, Susan B. Anthony’s last public words were, “Failure is impossible”.
Unfortunately, Susan B. Anthony did not live to realize her dream of women’s suffrage, but thankfully her legacy survives. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the 19th Amendment, and two weeks later, the Senate followed. The Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, certified the ratification on August 26, 1920. The text of the 19th amendment is: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The United States has previously recognized Susan B. Anthony’s tremendous contribution to our nation. A marble statue of her and her women’s rights colleagues, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was dedicated in the United States Capitol in 1921. Susan B. Anthony’s picture appeared on postage stamps in 1936 and 1955. Her home in Rochester, New York, has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966, and in 1979, her image was placed on a dollar coin.
No Federal holiday celebrates the birthday of a woman. As the founder and leader of the women’s movement in the United States, Susan B. Anthony deserves a permanent place in our history. The Susan B. Anthony Birthday Act will allow all women and men in the United States to celebrate and honor her legacy.