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The Susan B. Anthony Museum Rejected Donald Trump’s Unwanted Pardon

A delegation from the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, New York marches in the Women's Rights March

After Donald Trump issued an official presidential pardon to Susan B. Anthony earlier this week, the museum dedicated to honoring the famed suffragist’s life and work has responded with an objection and rejected his empty gesture.

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“On news of a presidential pardon for Susan B. Anthony on August 18, 2020: Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon today!” the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House posted to Twitter.

For a whole host of reasons, Trump’s sudden decision to pardon Anthony seemed to have a lot more to do with him and his need to pander to white women than it did with Anthony herself—not the least of which was the fact that Anthony famously did not want to be pardoned while she was alive.

Anthony was arrested in 1872 for voting, which was illegal for women to do at the time. She was denied a trial by jury (or rather, there was a jury but the judge instructed them to find her guilty since she admitted to committing a crime) and instructed to pay a $100 fine, which she never did.

To have paid that fine “would have been to validate the proceedings,” wrote the museum. “To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same.”

The museum had some suggestions for more appropriate ways in which Trump could honor Anthony, if that’s what he actually cared about doing, which of course, it isn’t.

“Anthony was also a strong proponent of sex education, fair labor practices, excellent public education, equal pay for equal work, and elimination of all forms of discrimination,” the thread continues. “As the National Historic Landmark and Museum that has been interpreting her life and work for seventy-five years from her home and headquarters, we would be delighted to share more.”

(via Susan B. Anthony Museum on Twitter, image: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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