Why Did the Susan B. Anthony Museum Reject Trump's Pardon?

President Donald Trump may have granted Susan B. Anthony a full pardon on Tuesday, but one of the institutions that preserves the women's rights activist's legacy rejected the executive clemency grant. The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House said on Tuesday that it went against the point that Anthony made in her famous decision to vote and refusal to pay the subsequent fine.

"Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon today," the museum's president and CEO, Deborah L. Hughes, said in a statement.

Hughes explained that pardoning her goes against what Anthony fought for when she was put on trial in June 1873, for voting illegally. Anthony was forbidden from speaking as a witness in her own trial, and the judge denied her a jury. She was found guilty and issued a $100 fine, which she refused to pay. "To pay would have been to validate the proceedings. To pardon Susan B. Anthony does the same," Hughes wrote.

The museum's refusal of the pardon came the same day that Trump and the White House commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prevents the U.S. and its states from denying people the right to vote on the basis of sex. The posthumous pardon was intended as a gesture to celebrate the occasion.

Instead, the museum offered suggestions for actions that could be taken to better honor Anthony's legacy and the spirit of women's suffrage. In the simplest terms, the museum said that "a clear stance against any form of voter suppression would be welcome." Hughes called for expansion and enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which made discriminatory voting practices illegal. She also said that, in addition to the 19th Amendment, the 14th and 15th Amendments—which declare all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. citizens protected by the law and that no one can be denied the right to vote on the basis of race, respectively—must also be protected.

Hughes said that "advocacy for human rights" would also be a suitable tribute to Anthony, before listing causes that the suffragist stood for, including "sex education, fair labor practices, excellent public education, equal pay for equal work, and elimination of all forms of discrimination."

According to the museum's website, Anthony began campaigning for women's rights in the 1840s. Anthony went to vote after the newly passed 14th Amendment declared all people born in the country as citizens protected by law. Between her arrest and trial, she spoke throughout Monroe County in New York about women's suffrage. Even though Anthony was arrested and fined, the judge didn't have her jailed, in order to avoid an appeal. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, 14 years after Anthony died.

The Susan B. Anthony Museum and House and the White House did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Susan B. Anthony
Portrait of Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) seated at a desk. Anthony was a leader in the abolitionist and women's suffrage movements. Anthony was pardoned by Trump on Tuesday, but her museum rejected the pardon. Getty/Corbis
Why Did the Susan B. Anthony Museum Reject Trump's Pardon? | Culture