On Tuesday, President Trump officially pardoned leading suffragette Susan B. Anthony, who died in 1906. He noted she was arrested in 1872 for voting before it was legal for women to do so.
“She was never pardoned!” he exclaimed in a White House ceremony. “Did you know that she was never pardoned? What took so long?”
Well, it was partly that Anthony would not have wanted to be pardoned, according to some historians who’ve pointed out that Anthony did not think she’d done anything wrong. Joining those voices is the executive director of the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, New York.
“Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon,” wrote Deborah L. Hughes in a statement. She continued:
“Anthony wrote in her diary in 1873 that her trial for voting was ‘The greatest outrage History ever witnessed.’ She was not allowed to speak as a witness in her own defense, because she was a woman. At the conclusion of arguments, Judge Hunt dismissed the jury and pronounced her guilty. She was outraged to be denied a trial by jury. She proclaimed, ‘I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.’ To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same.”
Hughes pointed to Anthony’s support of sex education, fair labor practices, excellent public education, equal pay for equal work, and elimination of all forms of discrimination. She suggested that the best way to honor her would be taking a clear stance against voter suppression and advocating for human rights for all.