This post is a plea. A request for help. Susan B. Anthony needs your help. Not with donations, though I'm sure those are always welcome. Today, I am writing on behalf of this leader of the suffragist movement - to ask a favor. Read on...
I'm delighted to be able to say I live near the home of one of America's most important civil rights leaders - Susan B. Anthony. Susan B., as we fondly call her around here, isn't the only civil rights leader from Rochester. We also have Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a number of other local heroes and heroines. I'm often surprised (and chagrined) when I think of the historical events that occured in and around my little hometown. As I grow older - and better, of course - I find myself looking more closely at the people who helped shape this fine world I live in. People who put themselves out there - demanding equal rights for women and blacks at a time when both were rarely recognized as more than possessions, to their white male 'owners.'
Today I'd like to talk about Susan B. Anthony. While we consider her a "courageous American patriot" - she was not seen as such in her day. Her struggle for women's rights is captured at the very house she lived in during her struggle for women's right, here in downtown Rochester. The historical facts and artifacts, the presence of this legendary woman, the excitement of the meetings she held there, all come to life when you walk through the door. This is a place of honor, now. A place where legacy becomes more than a thing of history - it becomes something you can touch and smell and feel. Imagine the inspiration you would feel - if you could visit the Susan B. Anthony house and touch the things she touched! Sit on chairs she sat on! Look at furnishing and books and items she used every day!
I expect that I am dreaming some of that. I expect (though, I am sad to relate at this moment), I cannot say for sure because I have been neglectful of my own hisotry and I have not been to Susan B.'s house - yet! So, I may be overstepping my bounds by inferring that you can go into the house on a tour - and sit in her chair, or touch her home furnishings. I will let you know next week...as I am planning a trip to the house.
Before I make that momentous trip - long overdue in the happening - I beg my readers to help me accomplish one small task. Every year the Susan B. Anthony House holds one fund-raiser. A luncheon, held around Susan B.'s birthday, which is February 15th. This luncheon fund-raiser is responsible for a major portion of the support the Susan B. Anthony House needs to maintain operations on a year-to-year basis. As such, it's the biggest event on the organization's calendar.
The time to prepare for this event is NOW. Yes, all members of the Susan B. Anthony House are in prepartion for this event, in one way or another. But, before they can begin to fully plan - they need a speaker. They need a dynamic, exciting, professional speaker - a woman, preferably, who understands the Susan B. Anthony mission and who will attract attendees just by her presence. Someone who embraces the power of the purse, who can bring an educational aspect to the luncheon, as keynote speaker, and who will do this as a contribution to the organization. Expenses will be paid, for someone traveling from out of town.
Do YOU, dear readers, know of such a woman? Can you suggest someone to step up to the table and say, "I respect my historical roots - it would be my pleasure to speak at the Susan B. Anthony annual luncheon in February 2007. Who do I contact?"
Please email me your suggestions. If it's YOU, all the better. Let's get acquainted. Let's get Susan B. Anthony the attention she deserves! If it's a friend or a colleague, that's delightful. Give me some background information and open a door, if you would.
Surely, we, as a nation, should embrace the power of the purse and Susan B. Anthony's favorite (one of many) sayings, "Failure is impossible." I urge you to consider this a worthy cause and to visit the website, if you do nothing else.
As you contemplate my request, think about this - taken from her biography,
"In 1866 Anthony and Stanton founded the American Equal Rights Association and in 1868 they started publishing the newspaper The Revolution in Rochester, with the masthead "Men their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less," and the aim of establishing "justice for all."