Voters are paying visits to Susan B. Anthony’s grave in New York to place their “I Voted” stickers on it in a gesture that is quickly becoming a tradition at the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester. This year is especially notable because it marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote. That right was something Anthony fought relentlessly for, but didn’t live to see.
"There were families, senior citizens, young couples, friends - a true cross section of our community," said Patricia Corcoran, president of Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. ”I could imagine Miss Anthony and all the many women and men who fought so long for women's suffrage smiling down on all these people at Susan B. Anthony's gravesite. It was truly a vision of hope and optimism.”
In 1872, Anthony went to cast her vote in the presidential election, even though women didn’t have the right yet, and was subsequently arrested and convicted for voting illegally. Anthony died in 1906, 14 years before the 19th amendment was passed, but her decades fighting for women’s suffrage have never been forgotten. Throughout her life, she was also an advocate for the abolition of slavery alongside her family.
In 2016, as Hilary Clinton ran for president, the first election to have a woman as a major party presidential nominee, more than 10,000 of people flocked to the grave sight to honor Anthony, and it was even kept open later on Election Day so people could visit and place their stickers.
This year, Kamala Harris, the democratic vice presidential nominee, is the fourth woman in history on the presidential ticket and the first woman of color to be nominated by a major party.
“Susan B. Anthony has admirers from all over the world, and her gravesite has become a shrine with hundreds of people visiting every week," Corcoran said. "Thanks to our painstaking stewardship, hopefully this area of the cemetery will remain pristine, and her family gravestones will be protected for generations to come."