Koinonia Farm’s vision statement is “love through service to others, joy through generous hospitality, peace through reconciliation.” All of our guest rooms are named after people who have come before us and embodied these ideas. These peacemakers are from all over the world and from all different periods of history. This “great cloud of witnesses” and their stories encourage us to keep pursuing love, joy, and peace in our life and work.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) fought for women’s rights in the midst of the turbulent nineteenth century. She was born in Adams, Massachusetts. Her parents were anti-slavery Quakers and she grew up around abolitionists. Anthony began teaching in 1839 and, as a female teacher, she was paid much less than the male teachers. Her activism began with her early abolitionist exposure, her experiences with unequal pay, and time spent in the temperance movement.
In 1851, Anthony met fellow women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. After this meeting, Anthony became focused on gaining equal rights for women. She became a well-known lecturer who traveled the country arguing for women’s rights. Her most famous lecture was entitled “Woman Wants Bread, Not the Ballot.” She was not simply interested in the right to vote: she also believed and fought for the right for women to own property, keep their wages, and divorce their husbands. She was a talented political activist who used political strategies such as petitions to work for legislative change.
The true woman will not be exponent of another, or allow another to be such for her. She will be her own individual self… Stand or fall by her own individual wisdom and strength… She will proclaim the ‘glad tidings of good news’ to all women, that woman equally with man was made for her own individual happiness, to develop… every talent given to her by God, in the great work of life.
Working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others, Anthony began a weekly newspaper called Revolution. In 1869, Anthony co-founded with Stanton and others the National Woman Suffrage Association. This group wanted a constitutional amendment to allow women to vote. Stanton and Anthony, as well as Matilda Joslyn Gage, wrote The History of Women’s Suffrage. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony and a few other women voted in the presidential election. For this illegal act, she was arrested and given a trial. She was found guilty and ﬁned $100 without any deliberations by a judge. After this incident, she renewed her fervor for a constitutional amendment for women’s suffrage.
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.
Anthony continued to tour the country, lecturing and gathering signatures for her petitions until the turn of the century. In 1900, she helped to convince the University of Rochester to admit women. She died in her hometown of Rochester, New York in 1906. 14 years later, Congress passed the 20th Amendment and white women were ﬁnally able to vote.
Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best word, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.