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Trump's Plan To Pardon Susan B. Anthony Angers Those Who Protect Her Legacy


President Trump issued a posthumous pardon to suffragist Susan B. Anthony today. In 1872, she was convicted of a felony - attempting to vote. Today's pardon comes on the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. But in Rochester, N.Y., where Anthony lived and worked for most of her life, the move is getting a negative reaction among some, as NPR's Liz Baker reports.

LIZ BAKER, BYLINE: Christopher Ross and his wife are out for a walk in Mount Hope Cemetery with their 7-year-old daughter, making a stop at Susan B. Anthony's headstone.

CHRISTOPHER ROSS: Thought I would take her out and show her the gravesite. We know a lot of people come here on Election Day to leave their stickers and so forth.

BAKER: Ross says they're educating their daughter about Susan B. Anthony. But as for today's pardon...

ROSS: We haven't spoken about that yet. We're not huge Trump fans and feels a bit of pandering around the election. So I would prefer to keep her history separate from any connection to him and his politics, the reason why he's doing what he's doing.

GWENDOLYN WARREN: What an opportunist. I mean, if he thinks he's going to get more women voters, I highly doubt it.

BAKER: Gwendolyn Warren (ph) is in town for a family funeral in the same cemetery and came over to pay her respects on the centennial.

WARREN: I think it's - the idea itself of a pardon is wonderful, but coming from him just doesn't cut it for me.

BAKER: Among those who might also be angry about the pardon, Susan B. Anthony herself. During her lifetime, she never wanted a pardon. She refused to pay one cent of the hundred-dollar fine she was issued and used her arrest and trial to gain publicity for the movement.

LINDA LOPATA: She didn't think she did anything wrong. So why should she be pardoned? I think that President Trump misunderstands where Susan B. Anthony was coming from and what her stance was.

BAKER: Linda Lopata is director of interpretation at the Susan B. Anthony Museum. If Susan B. Anthony were alive today, Lopata speculates, she'd probably be on Twitter using her pardon to get women out to vote in November.

Liz Baker, NPR News, Rochester, N.Y.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Liz Baker