Susan B. Anthony signed portrait
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was born in Massachusetts to a large family. She attended Quaker schools and began teaching at age 15. In 1845 her family moved to New York and her father began working for the abolitionist cause. Guests at the family farm included Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, who influenced Anthony’s strong anti-slavery views.
In 1851, when Anthony’s temperance work was met with open male hostility, she decided women must win the right to speak in public and vote in order to further any of their causes. That same year she began a lifelong friendship with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. From 1852 until the end of the Civil War, Anthony campaigned for the abolition of slavery, and for the right to vote for women and black Americans.
After the civil war, Anthony’s former male allies dismissed her passion for woman's suffrage, warning her the time was not right. Undeterred, Anthony went on to organize the National Woman Suffrage Association with Stanton.
In 1872 Anthony and fifteen colleagues became the first women ever to vote in a presidential election. They were promptly arrested, and in 1873, despite carefully prepared arguments and energetic campaigning, Anthony lost her case. Because her sentence was not enforced, she was barred from appealing to the Supreme Court.
Anthony spent the rest of her life working for the Federal suffrage amendment. She attended her last convention at age 86, closing her last speech with the admonition, "Failure is impossible." She passed away later that year. Fourteen years later the 19th amendment to the Constitution granted American women the right to vote.