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Emily Webb
ENG 111-721
April 30, 2019

“It was we, the people, not we, the while male citizens.”
Susan B. Anthony’s lecture, “Is it a Crime for a citizen of the United States to

Vote?” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s, 1963 Lincoln Memorial Speech, take action against

discrimination and demand the rights of the people. Susan B. Anthony challenged

woman’s rights with the right to vote while Martin Luther King Jr. had an important

voice for African Americans and the pursuit of equal rights for all. Through the suffrage

and American civil rights movement, both Anthony and King were inspiration leaders

who made fundamental leaps for our country. Through Anthony and King we have seen

great improvement in our world and we are yet to cease the fight. Women and African

American’s are still being subjected to discrimination and are still putting forth the battle

to demand change.

Both Anthony and King had a dream for justice and the right to be treated equally

and accepted in the world. “It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet

we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed this Union”

(, 2019). This quote not only relates to Anthony and the suffrage she was

fighting for but it also symbolizes the justice that King felt African Americans deserved

and the peace he was fighting for. King even displayed the same anger in his monumental

message, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true

meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created

equal."(King, 1963) These important and strong individuals were not just declaring
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justice for a particular group of people better yet they were in turn fighting for each other

and the rights for all regardless of gender, race or color. Anthony and King were seeing

the evident discrimination that was taking place and were angry. I can’t image the

frustration that must have taken place during these times, the battle for justice and the

hardships that came as a result of the conflict only to lead to more discrimination,

decades later. Anthony and King longed for justice and spent much of their lives

speaking out to demand it be served. Still today, we are seeing similar injustice relating to

sexism and racism in several areas, one for example, in the workplace. According to a

scholarly resource and to a study done on salaries in 2010, as quoted in the text, “We can

see that wage inequalities occur prominently along race and gender lines. We can also

see that men earn more than women on average, and Whites earn more than Blacks and

Hispanics regardless of gender.” (Khan Academy, 2019). This is an issue that many are

still facing today even nine years after this particular study took place. Women and

especially African American women are being viewed differently and not receiving the

recognition that is deserve:

Occupations with more men tend to be paid better

regardless of skill or education level. This is because if
work is done predominantly by women, then it is valued
less in the labor market. As the rate of women working in a
given occupation increases, the pay in that occupation
declines—even when controlling for education and skills.
(, 2017)

When will their voice be heard? More often we are seeing this type of discrimination in

the workplace. Not only was Anthony fighting for suffrage, but she was also fighting

along with King for this type of justice and discrimination. “So even though we face the
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difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the

American dream.”(King, 1963)

Before women and African American’s had the right to vote, the government

thought they would try to show consistency, maybe to “help them out”, by making them

exempt from taxation. Sounds great right? But, if you’re a woman this will not pertain to

you. When Anthony was standing up for suffrage and the rights men have over women,

Anthony found that regardless of race or color; if your husband becomes deceased you

must pay for the land you are occupying even if there was no previous installment:

When a property qualification of $250 was required of

black men in New York, they were not compelled to pay
taxes, so long as they were content to report themselves
worth less than that sum; but the moment the black man
died, and his property fell to his widow or daughter, the
black woman's name would be put on the assessor's list,
and she be compelled to pay taxes on the same property
exempted to her husband. (, 2019)

Mrs. Ellen Van Valkenburg, of Santa Cruz, Cal., who sued

the County Clerk for refusing to register her name, declares
she will never pay another dollar of tax until allowed to
vote; and all over the country, women property holders are
waking up to the injustice of taxation without
representation, and ere long will refuse, en masse, to submit
to the imposition. (, 2019)

There is no gender or race discriminated in the tax laws, but to vote, absolutely. They

were not allowed to vote but felt they were important enough to tax and collect money

from them and to take away their land and charge with imprisonment and even to the

extent that may result in death, if they didn’t pay forth. Now how is this right? Even years

after Anthony, King was still fighting the same fight for freedom and the chance to be

viewed with justice from discrimination and you see it evident in his Lincoln Memorial
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speech, “One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in the comers of

American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.” (King, 1963)

Women of all race or color have battled with suffrage since 1920. Nearly 100

years after what was thought to be a win of the 19th Amendment, which was to give

American women the right to participate, take part of the nation’s political aspects and in

other words, vote. Although what seemed like a win for women, we are still facing

problems. Discrimination is still happening in our world today. “In many countries

women are still unable to purchase their own property, vote or even wear what they

want.” (, 2019) Now, how is this considered freedom and justice? If we are

not all free to our own will, does it really count? I do not think so. Even though, we won

the right to vote, it should not be “overly celebrated” for everything comes with

conditions, “It gave females the right to vote, but only if they were over the age of 30,

owned property, were a member or married to a member of the Local Government

Register, or were a graduate in a university constituency.” (The Independent, 2018)

Decades have passed and more laws and acts have appeared to grant justice for women

and men of all race and color. This has helped our world move although slowly, into a

better and more positive position.

Anthony and King are comparable throughout their time and battles for justice.

Anthony and King saw these historic issues and knew what needed to be done in order to

see a change. I do feel, change has been made and this is indisputable. King gave African

American’s a voice, freedom and a true chance at living the life that was always meant to

be theirs. Anthony gave women of all races and colors a meaning to continue on against

sexism and to be viewed fairly, she gave women a chance to vote and have their voice
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heard. Both determined to make a stand and be the voice the world needed. Although

they have made outstanding changes in our world, injustice is still taking place. I hope in

my lifetime that more Susan B. Anthony’s and Martin Luther King’s will rise up and

become the voice we need to continue the fight against discrimination and injustice

because if it wasn’t for Anthony and King, it really makes you wonder where the world

would be today.
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Works Cited:

1. (2017). Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

[online] Available at:
content/uploads/2017/09/092717-occupational-seg.pdf [Accessed 30 Apr.
2. (2019). Susan B. Anthony Speech: Is it a Crime for a Citizen of
the United States to Vote?. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].
3. The Independent. (2018). How the countries gave women the right to vote 100
years ago treat them now. [online] Available at:
a8191506.html [Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].
4. Khan Academy. (2019). Examples of discrimination in society today. [online]
Available at:
[Accessed 30 Apr. 2019].
5. (2019). Discrimination of Women Throughout the World. [online]
Available at:
the-world/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2019].
6. (2019). Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1962 Speech. [online]
Available at: [Accessed 1 May
7. Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (n.d.). Retrieved from