ITHACA, NY – Some proud voters have been memorializing Women’s Suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony as they vote for what may be the first woman president, by decorating Anthony’s gravesite in Rochester with their “I Voted” stickers.

Now some Ithacans are looking to offer a similar commemoration of a local figure who also played a big role in the Women’s Suffrage movement.

Juanita Breckenridge Bates was the chairwoman of the Suffrage Party in Ithaca, New York and was a champion for women’s voting rights in Tompkins County and at the state level, according to her obituary.  Bates was also was the first woman to receive a degree from Oberlin’s Theological Department and was the first woman to he ordained as a minister in the Congregational church.

When the first attempt to get women the vote in New York failed in 1915, Bates said vowed to continue to fight, saying “Suffrage has fallen, but it has fallen forward,” according to a report by Tompkins Historian Carol Kammen. Two years later, women won the vote in New York, and two years after that, the 19th amendment was passed and women nationwide gained the right to vote.

According to the “Tell Juanita You Voted” Faceook event, Bates is buried in the unmarked mausoleum of the Lakeview Cemetery in Ithaca. Her actual gravestone cannot be accessed as the mausoleum is locked. The event is encouraging voters to “Show Juanita you appreciate her hard work by giving her your ‘I Voted’ sticker in person or posting a pic of it on this page.”

(Featured photo from “Tell Juanita You Voted” Facebook page)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at msmith@ithacavoice.com, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.