Susan B. Anthony visits Monroe
In 1877, Susan B. Anthony visited Monroe and spoke at Turner Hall, hired by the Girls Literary Society of the Universalist Church. The secretary of the Girls Society wrote to Miss Anthony inquiring if she ever spoke on any other subject than women. The following is her reply dated March 28, 1877,
“My Dear Young Friend; No, I have no other subject to speak on but women, women disenfranchised, degraded not only politically but socially, morally, individually. Hence my lecture will be on women and the 16th amendment, but it will be like no other lecture you ever hear, Sincerely Yours, Susan B. Anthony.”
She spoke in Monroe on Wednesday, March 30, 1877 within a good-sized Turner Hall on “Women and the XIVth Amendment.”
“Had it not been for the torrential rain, the hall would have been filled to its utmost capacity. Susan expressed herself as amazed at the turn-out. Her famous red cloak was doffed at 8:15 and she was introduced by Miss Amelia Wood.
Miss Anthony’s lecture was listened to with close attention, and she chatted away for two hours, “throwing down the bard and driving out whole droves of the slime of prejudice, and filling the time with more hits and arguments, common sense and facts, in favor of giving women the ballot than could be crowded into ten columns of this paper.”
“Susan is immense on the subject to which she has given her lifetime, great ability and unceasing energy. In personal appearance she is not handsome, she knows that, but evidently doesn’t care. She impresses one that she is in dead earnest, and lives to a great responsibility. Although not so pleasing a speaker as her co-worker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who would heal with soothing remedies, while Anthony uses the knife to cure the radical diseases of the body politic. She does not do this to the extent of decapitation. She is not sour nor crusty, but all-firedly in earnest, talks like a man. We wish every man and woman in Green County could hear her arguments on the next great reform”.
Admittance was 35 cents, with reserved seats 50 cents.
Susan was born in Massachusetts (1820-1906) to a Quaker family with long activist traditions. She developed a sense of justice and moral zeal. She became active in temperance, but because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join the women’s rights movement in 1852. Soon after, she dedicated her life to woman suffrage. Anthony traveled across the nation for the vote. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and advocated for women’s labor organizations. In 1900, she persuaded the University of Rochester to admit women.