Having been immersed in the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony for the past several years, I’m finding it hard to let them go, although my book has been out since May 10th. Because I happen to live near the house where Elizabeth lived in New Jersey for many years and where Susan spent a great deal of time, I got in the habit of regularly walking by (it’s privately owned) while I was writing my book; and, I haven’t stopped. Then last week I revisited the site of the apartment building at 250 West 94th Street in New York City where Elizabeth lived and Susan visited from 1891 until Elizabeth’s death in 1902. Two years ago, the current apartment building was renamed the Stanton in honor of her. In the lobby there is a display of memorabilia, including photographs of her sitting enthroned in an oversized armchair, the living embodiment of her moniker, “the Grand Old Lady of America.”
The truth is I don’t really ever want to let them go. Why? Because they are great company – witty, bold, brilliant, irreverent, indomitable, invigorating, empowering, and inspiring. But more importantly, they are an invaluable reference point for me, and I hope for readers of all ages, as I reflect on friendship, and activism, and social justice, and strategies, and perseverance. For fifty-one years, Susan once wrote, they were “busy…stirring up the world to recognize the rights of women.” Today there is still a lot of stirring to do, and, to do it, there is much that we can learn from the legacy of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and their friendship that changed the world.
About the author: Penny Colman is the author of award-winning nonfiction books for all ages, including Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference and Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial. Her website iswww.pennycolman.com.
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