That being said, I advised last week that I would put my planned blogs on hold so that I can bring these stories to you. The first was last week. Today I bring the second and the third will appear next week.
Let me introduce you to Susan Brownell. She was born a few years after the War of 1812. Her home was in the North West corner of Massachusetts at a place called Adams, population about 4,000.
Susan was obviously gifted as a child. She could apparently read and write by age three. By age 6 the family had relocated to New York where she had attended a district school for a short period. But was pulled out of school when they insisted she learned how to needle-point. What she wanted to learn was long division. Soon she was sent off to a Pa. boarding school. By age 26 she was teaching at a female academy in NY.
Internet stories tell of her earliest days and often recalling about the abuses of women, and of the black men, women and children and their horrid conditions in the slave trade.
She learned first hand how the women of the day would have to work at jobs for $1.50 per week, at the very time that the men doing the same jobs were being paid $10 per week. Susan would also hear that in many cases the women never even got their wages. These were often being sent back home to the worker's husband or father.
At about that time Susan had had enough of the stories about blacks being denied the vote. Same for the women of the day. But brighter news was on the horizon, though not without still more grief.
On 9 July 1868 the United States Constitution was amended with what was called the 14th Amendment. Here it is...
To test this point Susan and 14 other women banded together and went to the voting station to cast their ballots in the Presidential race between incumbent President Grant and his contestant. Grant won. But Susan lost.
When she arrived to vote she was asked if she was a US citizen, if she lived in the district and if she had accepted a bribe. She affirmed on the first two and denied the third count. She was then allowed to vote.
About a week later Susan and the 14 other women, and three poll workers were all arrested, tried and found guilty of "knowingly, wrongfully and unlawfully voting". (A net article says that the judge's decision was not only made but issued to the court before the case was even heard.)
After the trial she sought a pardon for the 14 women and 3 workers, BUT NOT FOR HERSELF. The president granted all pardons sought.
Susan Brownell was fined $100, and in response she said that she would never pay a dollar of the fine, nor would she seek a pardon, which comes from one being guilty of something. She insisted she had no guilt, and in fact noted to the court and in subsequent public appearances in about 3 dozen locations that "Resistance to Tyranny is obedience to God."
A further amendment to the constitution, numbered # 15. dealt specifically with the plight of the coloured citizens. Here it is....
The plight of women and the coloured citizens were matters of great importance to Susan Brownell up until her death in 1906.
Much to her credit and many others, the US Constitution would get yet a third Amendment on issue in 1920. Here is this important document...
While the text seems quit clear, somehow those in authority managed to create grief for the American men and women of colour, until the passing some 45 years later of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
By now you must be saying that this woman Susan Brownell sure sounds like someone else you have heard from in American History.
Well perhaps you are right!
Susan and Brownell are the first and second given names of Susan Anthony ... Susan B Anthony, one of America's most well known woman's advocates.
Way back in 1863 Tad Lincoln pleaded with his father not to kill a turkey, and as the saying goes, the first pardon was issued. Many have also been given since then. Earlier this year the press had coverage of President Trump and a turkey. One of them was getting a pardon!
Today's story came to me when I saw the recent announcement that President Trump had given a posthumous pardon to Susan B Anthony for the conviction of so many years earlier. A pardon that she specifically asked President Grant not to grant her, while she advocated that all the rest should get one.
Her view was that she had not broken any laws and the acceptance of a pardon was an acknowledgment that she broke the law and was later being forgiven... and Susan B Anthony had no intention whatsoever acknowledging that she broke the law.
All this for you in August... the very month that has been designated by the US Government to be National Women's Suffrage Month.
See you on the 30th for the 3rd story.