Susan B. Anthony memorial refuses to accept Trump's pardon of civil rights leader

A pardon would 'validate' the injustice she suffered, group says.

Updated: August 21, 2020 - 11:23pm

A group honoring the life and legacy of American civil rights icon Susan B. Anthony has refused to accept President Trump's posthumous pardon of her, arguing the effort would give unearned legitimacy to the 1873 court proceedings that found her guilty of breaking a law that prohibited women from voting. 

Trump this week announced he was pardoning Anthony for the conviction, a measure the president took on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which recognized the right of women to vote. 

Yet the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House this week rejected the president's gesture, telling the president in a press release that the memorial organization "must decline [his] offer of a pardon." 

The foundation noted that Anthony, when she was convicted of voting, refused to "pay a dollar of [the] unjust penalty." 

"To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same," the museum said in its statement. 

"If one wants to honor Susan B. Anthony today, a clear stance against any form of voter suppression would be welcome," the announcement continued. "Enforcement and expansion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be celebrated. ... Support for the Equal Rights Amendment would be well received. Advocacy for human rights for all would be splendid."

Anthony, who was also a noted abolitionist near the end of slavery in the country, was the first woman to be depicted on U.S. coinage, with her profile being stamped on a dollar coin from 1979 to 1981. 

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