My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK, Friday—Next Sunday, August 26, is the 25th anniversary of the day on which Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby announced, for President Woodrow Wilson, that the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was now the law of the land. This amendment is sometimes called the "Susan B. Anthony" amendment, because she was one of the pioneer workers for women's suffrage, and for 37 consecutive years presented her bill to Congress. The final bill passed in 1920 was identical with the one which she first presented in 1868.

* * *

Many women today take for granted their right to vote, and some years ago I remember a very young newspaper girl in upstate New York who asked me who Susan B. Anthony was. It is so easy for us to forget those who made the fight for the things today we feel we have always had by right. On this anniversary, therefore, I should like to mention not only Miss Anthony, but Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Anna Howard Shaw and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt.

Mrs. Catt not only fought for suffrage, but after we had gained it devoted years of her life to bringing about better understanding among women of different nationalities. Her work—which not only gave the women of this country finally the right to vote, but which has made them conscious of the responsibility which accompanies that vote—will never be forgotten by any of us who are aware of the latent power which has not yet been used by women. This power is going to be more important in the next few years than it has ever been. Mrs. Catt's work in organizing women in different countries, and making them work together, must be carried on, since I believe it is going to depend more than ever on women to build a peaceful world.

* * *

I am told by the president of the Rochester, N. Y. Federation of Women's Clubs that they have formed a Susan B. Anthony memorial fund for the purpose of raising $10,000 to buy the house in which Miss Anthony lived. It will be possible for women in the future to draw courage and inspiration by renewing their memories of this courageous and self-sacrificing woman.

When we look back over the achievements of women in the past and realize what handicaps they worked under, and think how very free we are today, it should give us a sense of confidence in our own possible achievements. Merely think of the dresses these women wore—then let's rejoice in our own ability to move freely, and let's go out and work harder.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL