At a celebration for her 86th birthday, Susan B. Anthony pressed guests not to abandon the fight for women's right to vote, declaring, "With women such as these consecrating their lives, failure is impossible!" Less than a month later, on March 13, 1906, Anthony died at her Madison Street home. It would be another 14 years before the 19th Amendment allowed women to vote.
This year, organizations throughout Rochester are marking the 100-year anniversary of Anthony's death. Concerts, exhibitions, lectures, and other events are scheduled to reflect on the suffragist's work, the progress women have made in the past century, and the barriers that still remain to women's full equality.
The initiative, "100 Years Since Susan B. … Consider the Anthony Legacy," is spearheaded by the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester. The commemoration is designed to inspire what Anthony Center director Nora Bredes describes as "community conversations" about the current status of women.
"It has taken tremendous effort, persistence, and sacrifice for women to get access to the same opportunities as men," says Bredes. "But there's still much work that needs to be done. Women hold only 15 percent of the seats in Congress, and there is still a pay gap between men and women, which gets bigger once women have children. We need to ask ourselves, 'What would Susan say?' "
Besides women's suffrage, Anthony campaigned for women's rights to their own property and earnings and women's labor organizations. She also fought for the admission of women to the University of Rochester, pledging $2,000 of her own life insurance to defray the costs of admission.
The Anthony Center for Women's Leadership has developed an online blog (whatwouldsusansay.blogspot.com) to encourage conversations around Anthony's accomplishments and legacy and discussions about the issues and struggles women still face.
Events that are part of the "100 Years Since Susan B." initiative include an original play titled Rochester Women of Distinction at Writers & Books; the first-of-its-kind conference dedicated to Anthony, hosted by the University of Rochester; a re-enactment of Anthony's funeral, organized by the Susan B. Anthony House; a course on women composers at the Hochstein School of Music; and a concert at the University's Eastman School of Music of works by women composers for women's choral groups.
Organizations to date that are participating in the "100 Years Since Susan B." initiative include: WXXI; Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, Local History Division; Career Development Services; Hochstein School of Music & Dance; Latinas Unidas; The Susan B. Anthony House; Sojourner House; Rochester Women's Network; YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County; Eastman School of Music; the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation at Rush Rhees Library of the University of Rochester; Writers & Books; the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Rochester; Eastman Community Music School; Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery; Memorial Art Gallery; Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys; and The George Eastman House.
Details on these and other events are available on a calendar prepared by the Anthony Center for Women's Leadership. For more information, visit www.rochester.edu/SBA/ or contact the Anthony Center at (585) 275-8799 or email@example.com.