As Americans went to the polls to vote on Tuesday, the first woman mayor of Rochester, New York, Lovely Warren, arrived at the grave of Susan B. Anthony — exactly 141 years after Anthony cast her illegal vote. “To me that means, as a woman, there are no shackles and no chains to what we can accomplish,” she said. “If I could do back flips, I would be doing back flips.”
On Tuesday, voters were given a few extra hours to pay their respects to the woman who made voting possible for about half of the American public as the gravesite of Susan B. Anthony, icon of the American suffragette movement, at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, stayed open until 9 p.m.
The line to Anthony’s grave grew throughout the day as well-wishers stuck their “I Voted” stickers on her gravestone.
“The fact that there is a woman this year I think is a tremendous improvement in the thinking of many people,” said Lillian Gilbert, a World War II Army veteran and longtime voter living in Brighton, who was first eligible to vote in the 1930s. “I think it’s overdue,” she added. “If we’re to go back to Susan B. Anthony who was fighting to vote and imprisoned for it, I think this is tremendous.”
Deborah Hughes, president and chief executive officer of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House on Madison Street also noted the historical nature of having a woman on the ballot, 96 years after the 19th Amendment was passed. She said that the Museum had seen about 1,000 more visitors than usual between the summer of 2015 and this past summer.
“I also think this election is about what kind of democracy we’re going to be,” Hughes said. “Susan B. Anthony had a vision for democracy that was way beyond gender equity. It was about having people elected to government and having citizens who were informed about what was going on and who they were electing, so that we could really become the society for freedom and justice that she believed in. This election every day seems to be more and more about those even bigger, grander issues that are represented by whether or not someone thinks it’s possible to elect a woman.”
A few hundred miles away, workers at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City invited voters to visit the graves of four other prominent female suffragists buried there, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony’s friend and a founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association.
Read the full story at The New York Times.