100 years of women’s suffrage, and the local women who made it possible

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JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — One hundred years ago on August 18, the 19th amendment was ratified, giving women in the United States the right to vote. Two of the most notable pioneers of the women’s suffrage movement were born close to the Capital Region.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, N.Y. in 1815. Just five years later, in Berkshire County, Susan B. Anthony was born. A century ago, they were victorious in their fight for a voice at the polls.

In Johnstown, work is underway on a statue of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the tireless suffragist.

“[Stanton] stood in front of the New York State legislature making speeches, she stood in front of U.S. Congress making speeches,” explained Noel Levee, Johnstown City Historian, “she basically fought all her life for it right up until the end.”

Historians recall Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, of Adams, Massachusetts as close friends.

Together, they formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, and spent years strategizing and organizing to secure the vote for women.

“The summer of 1884, [Elizabeth Cady Stanton] was in Johnstown,” Levee said, “and [she] and Susan B. Anthony were meeting together.”

Levee said Susan B. Anthony got an apartment right up the street from Stanton, and the two of them spent the summer together rewriting the history of women’s suffrage.

Unfortunately, Anthony and Stanton passed away, years before the day women got their right to vote. However, their efforts in the movement aren’t forgotten by local historians and Americans everywhere on the centennial celebration of women’s suffrage.

 “Today, [August 18], is the day that Tennessee, which is the last state in the union needed to ratify the 19th amendment, did that,” said Carol Crossed, President of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace in Adams.

About a week later, the bill reached Washington, D.C.

“The secretary of state signed into law that all U.S. citizens could not be denied the right to vote dependent upon their sex,” Crossed explained.

The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace museum is open for limited timed admission, and the Johnstown Historical Society is open for tours by appointment.

Susan B. Anthony had a childhood home in Greenwich, N.Y., where New York State Parks is expected to make an announcement Tuesday morning.

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