Today, Hillary Clinton may become the first woman to lead the United States. The fact that women, including those born before 1920, will be able to cast a ballot for a female presidential candidate gives many of us the fuzzies.
This may be why scores of women traveled to Rochester, NY to plaster "I Voted" stickers on the grave of Susan B. Anthony, an iconic suffragist who died before women secured the right to vote in August 1920. In fact, Anthony's grave is so popular right now that Mount Hope Cemetary has extended its hours and hired security, according to The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Deborah Hughes, the executive director of the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum, told News 8 WROC Rochester that there's never been this many visitors.
"This is so powerful," Hughes said. "Someone asked me if there's ever been a line this long ― there's never been a line."
Her grave, which has become a feminist shrine of sorts, reminds us of the sacrifices women made to have access to the voting booth. Anthony even spent time in jail for daring to vote. While all Americans should value Anthony's contributions, there are other women who contributed to suffrage who have been erased.
Their graves are bare today, though they shouldn't be. Here are five women who are deserving of "I Voted" stickers and our collective gratitude:
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells-Barnett created the blueprint for journalists who write about oppression.
Wells-Barnett fought for voting rights, reported on lynching, and clashed with white feminists on the importance of intersectionality.
Wells-Barnett began her writing career in 1889. She became part-owner of The Free Speech and Headlight, an African-American newspaper. There, she reported on the brutality of lynching and advocated for Black women. She then published "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases," an amazing book that has since become part of the historical canon.
Wells-Barnett also passionately advocated for women's rights. She fought for suffrage, though white suffragettes refused to allow her to walk alongside them during Woodrow Wilson's inauguration parade in 1913.
Eventually, Wells-Barnett ran for the Illinois State Legislature, but came in third.
The unbought and unbossed Shirley Chisholm paved the way for Hillary Clinton.
In 1968, Chisholm became the first African-American Congresswoman when she scored a House of Representatives seat. She didn't stop there though: In 1972, Chisholm became the first Black woman to run for president.
She called her run the "Chisholm Trail," according to the National Women's History Museum. Chisholm didn't earn the Democratic nomination, but she earned 151 delegate votes at the convention.
Chisholm — referred to as the "people's politician" — served in Congress for 14 years. She introduced over 50 pieces of legislation and co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus. President Bill Clinton even tried to appoint her as the US ambassador to Jamaica, but she declined the offer.
She died in 2005.
Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer fought for the right to vote as a civil rights organizer and activist with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She assisted with the organizing of the Mississippi Freedom Summer, which sent activists to help African-Americans register to vote in 1964.
After being arrested in Mississippi, prison guards tortured Hamer. She left prison with a limp and damaged kidneys, but she still refused to stop fighting for equality. Hamer ran for Congress in 1964 and 1965. During the 1964 Democratic National Convention, she offered a powerful testimony about the sexual violence committed against Black women activists.
The committee appointed Hamer to its board in 1968 where she continued pushing for change.
Dorothy Height is the "godmother" of the Civil Rights Movement. She served as chair of the National Council of Negro Women and the director of the YWCA School for Professional Workers.
Height helped organize Wednesdays in Mississippi, which were workshops that united Black and white women to discuss racial issues. She, alongside Gloria Steinem and Shirley Chisholm, also co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus to put more women in political office.
President Obama awarded Height the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Anna Julia Cooper
Born enslaved, Anna Julia Cooper achieved far more than America ever imagined possible for her. The author, educator, scholar, and speaker is considered one of America's most foremost intellectuals — ever.
After earning bachelor's and Master's degrees at Oberlin College, Cooper became the fourth African-American woman to earn a doctorate. Of course, she didn't stop there: Cooper focused her attention on the plight of Black women.
While teaching at M Street High School in Washington, DC, Cooper wrote the pivotal book, "A Voice from the South." In that book, released in 1892, she outlined her fight for Black women's agency as well as how Black women have been erased.
"Only the BLACK WOMAN can say when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole Negro race enters with me," she wrote.
She delivered a similarly compelling speech in 1893 at the World's Congress of Representative Women. "I speak for the colored women of the South, because it is there that the millions of blacks in this country have watered the soil with blood and tears, and it is there too that the colored woman of America has made her characteristic history and there her destiny is evolving," she said.
She — and all of these women — deserve "I Voted" stickers.