On Election Day, 1872, Susan B. Anthony led a group of women from her home on Madison Street in Rochester, New York, to this very spot on West Main Street to vote, despite the fact that women were not legally allowed to do so. When she arrived, the men running the polling place were reluctant to break the law for her. Nevertheless, she persisted.
At that time the polling place was a barbershop, but today there is a bronze sculpture of a locked ballot box flanked by two pillars that represent the barbershop’s storefront. Dubbed the 1872 Monument, it was dedicated in August 2009, on the 89th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Leading away from the 1872 Monument is Susan B. Anthony Trail, which leads to Troup Street Park and runs beside the 1872 Café, named in honor of the year of Anthony’s illegal vote.
The sculpture is the work of Pepsy Kettavong, who also created the nearby “Let’s Have Tea” sculpture of Anthony and Frederick Douglass, located down the street from Anthony’s house.
Anthony was, of course, arrested, tried, convicted, and fined for voting, though she “never [paid] a dollar of [the] unjust penalty.” The 1872 Monument is just one of many ways her legacy lives on in this New York neighborhood.
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