90th anniversary Susan B. Anthony amendment

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Thank you, Susan B. Anthony

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

It’s difficult to imagine a time when women weren’t allowed to vote, especially now when the Supreme Court of the United States has, for the first time ever, three sitting women justices.

But it was just 90 years ago that the Susan B. Anthony Amendment was ratified, 14 years after her death, upon being passed by Tennessee on August 18, 1920, the last of the 36 states that were required to affirm it before it could become a part of the U.S. constitution.

The 19th was a simple amendment, the key part of which read:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Women’s full equality has taken a bit longer to achieve. But we never would have gotten this far, this soon, if suffragist, civil rights activist, and labor reformer Susan B. Anthony hadn’t first convinced a congressman to propose the amendment, giving women the right to vote, back in 1878.

So, here’s to you, Susan B. Anthony, and here’s to all the women who have followed their dreams, and succeeded in ways that might not have been possible without you. We’ve come a long way.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD MPH