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Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Susan B. Anthony

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Edward Abbey thumbnail picspacerMuhammad Ali thumbnail picspacerSusan B. Anthony thumbnail pic
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Robert Shetterly's portrait of Susan B. Anthony
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“Women, we might as well be dogs baying the moon as petitioners without the right to vote!”
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Susan B. Anthony
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3 of 100
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Reformer, Woman-Suffrage Leader (1820—1906)

Susan Brownell Anthony's life dedicated to social reform may have been foreordained by her birth, in Adams, Massachusetts, into the large family of a Quaker abolitionist. Tales of her childhood support the image of the forceful personality that was to emerge on lecture platforms in the 1850's. As a young teacher in western New York, Anthony addressed such thorny issues as equal pay for women teachers and broader educational opportunities for girls. The abolition of slavery was, of course, the dominant concern of mid-19th Century reform, and she became acquainted with such eminent leaders as Frederick Douglass who visited the family home in Rochester.

The temperance movement attracted her support because she, like other feminists of her time, recognized in alcohol abuse the widespread victimization of innocent women and children who had to suffer the physical dangers and economic hardships of living with hard-drinking men. When the Sons of Temperance barred women from their ranks, Anthony organized the Daughters of Temperance.

Anthony's celebrated collaboration with Elizabeth Cady Stanton dates from their meeting in 1851. Because Stanton's duties as a wife and mother limited her travel during the 1850's, Anthony was often the more visible spokesperson for women's full legal and social equality and, as such, the more frequently ridiculed. In 1872, Anthony decided to test the protection of the 14th Amendment by attempting to register and vote in Rochester. She was arrested, tried and fined, but she refused to pay.

Today, when activists have the benefit of mass media and electronic communications, it is easy to forget the sheer physical exertion involved in the work of reform: travel, writing and distributing newspapers, starting local groups, petitioning legislative bodies, pamphleteering and public speaking. Anthony, a brilliant organizer, averaged 100 speaking engagements each year during her most active years. She once remarked that “It has always been thought perfectly womanly to be a scrubwoman in the Legislature and take care of the spittoons; that is entirely within the charmed circle of woman's sphere: but for women to occupy any of those official seats would be degrading.” She also said: “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

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See the full set of Robert Shetterly's portraits at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Tools for Teaching: see the acompanying curriculum materials with suggestions on how to use the portraits and biographies of these American truth-tellers in your classroom.
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BUY THE BOOK AND GREETING CARDS FROM THE YES! STORE:
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Americans Who Tell the Truth ::

Robert Shetterly's series highlights Americans past and present whose dignity, courage, and honesty have shaped this country.

This beautiful coffee-table book is an eloquent collection of portraits and stirring words of these brave citizens from all walks of life.
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Card Sets ::

A special YES! selection of Greeting Cards from the series in sets of 8 (with envelopes).

Sets feature high quality prints of the portraits, complete with quotes and biographies.

Posters also available from the artist.
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