Story at a glance

  • Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist known for her role in advancing womens' rights.
  • The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, where Anthony is buried, covered the headstone with a transparent shell to protect it from damage.
  • With so many Americans voting early, the headstone is already covered in “I voted” stickers.

As folks from Rochester, N.Y., know (but perhaps you don’t), putting your “I voted” sticker on Susan B. Anthony’s grave is a bit of a tradition. This year, however, her headstone will be covered in plastic — a sign of the years passed since the suffragist and abolitionist died.  

"We were faced with a dilemma," Patricia Corcoran, president of Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, wrote in a statement first reported by CNN. "On one hand putting a sticker on her gravestone can be seen as a patriotic gesture, a way of celebrating the life of Miss Anthony and thanking her for her efforts to get women the right to vote. On the other hand many people considered this to be a desecration of a family gravestone, because a gravestone is private property. People interested in historic restoration believed that the stone was being irrefutably damaged." 


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Days after in-person voting began in New York, the tombstone was covered in “I voted stickers” — reinforcing the necessity of the cover — from women, and men, voting in a presidential election 100 years after the 19th Amendment was passed. 

“What a touching experience to watch the steady stream of people coming to pay their respects to Susan B. Anthony, and thoughtfully place their ‘I voted’ sticker at her gravesite,” read a post on the Friends of Mt. Hope Facebook page, signed “Pat.”  “There were families, senior citizens, young couples, friends - a true cross section of our community. There was an aura of quiet respect and veneration. I could imagine Miss Anthony and all the many women and men who fought so long for women’s suffrage smiling down on all these people at Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite. It was truly a vision of hope and optimism.”

The suffragist's grave remains a popular site for visitors more than a century after she died in 1906, 14 years before the 19th Amendment was passed and without ever casting a legal vote. Over the summer, the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery organized a pop-up event mapping "Six degrees of separation" between Anthony and others buried in the cemetery, which houses Frederick Douglass and family, Isaac and Amy Post and Reverend Thomas James, among other notable names. 


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Published on Oct 28, 2020