One of the most remarkable women of American history passed through Wayne County at least twice.
Susan Brownell Anthony was an early leader of the campaign for women’s rights. Born to a family of Quakers who believed in the equality of men and women, she early on would not accept the societal ideal of “woman’s sphere.”
In 1870 with the the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment that provided no American citizen be prevented from voting because of his race, color, or previous condition of slavery, her zeal intensified because the keyword ‘his’ said nothing about women.
In protest she voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested for breaking the law. Fined $100, she never paid the fine and no further action was taken against her.
She first passed through Richmond on June 6, 1871 and stayed at the home of Dr. Mary F. Thomas, a remarkable daughter of Wayne Count and kindred spirit whose accomplishments are also legion.
Susan B. Anthony was en route to California to lecture on Women’s Suffrage and the Richmond Palladium expressed the hope that “on her return… she will lecture to our people.”
She eventually did.
She appeared in Richmond’s Lyceum Hall on February 8, 1879.
The Evening Item gave back-handed support, “Of course we can’t all believe in women’s rights to wear pants and boss the household – but it won’t hurt us to hear the other side. Let’s go and hear her!”
Two days later she spoke for an hour at Cambridge City.
This was the last time Susan B. Anthony was in Wayne County.
She died on
March 13, 1906, 14 years before seeing the ratification of the 19th Amendment
that gave women the right to vote. She was the first woman to cast a presidential
vote, but never saw her sisters do it.
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