7 Jews Who Know More Than Donald Trump About Susan B. Anthony

Do you know who Susan B. Anthony is? If so, congratulations: You’ve both passed high school U.S. history and impressed the President of the United States.

In the latest installment of a series of blunders in which President Trump has attempted to explain famous historical figures to groups for whom they’re influential figures — the most notorious being his now-infamous declaration in a speech marking the start of Black History Month that Frederick Douglass was “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice” — Trump on Wednesday asked a women’s empowerment panel if they’d heard of Anthony, a pioneering figure in the American women’s suffrage movement.

“I’m shocked that you’ve heard of her,” he continued, clearly sarcastic.

The quip met with a mixed reception.

Many internet commentators pointed attention to the fact that Anthony’s grave, in November, was covered with “I Voted” stickers left by citizens who had cast their vote for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Others took the opportunity to share a quote of Anthony’s, clearly directed towards Trump’s opposition: “Organize, agitate, educate must be our war cry.”

And some, referring to Trump’s seeming lack of knowledge about who Douglass actually was, questioned exactly how much he knew about Anthony.

Thank goodness, we found seven Jews who might be able to fill him in on any information he’s lacking.

1) Gloria Steinem

In a 2014 interview, Steinem was asked for her opinion on Anthony. “I’m most related [sic] to Susan B. Anthony when I read that she said, ‘Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press,’ and what she meant by that was she didn’t own the press,” Steinem said. “‘The Revolution, her newspaper or magazine, was owned by someone else. So, when we were struggling with Ms. Magazine, I see what she means.”

2) Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Before joining the Supreme Court, Ginsburg spent years arguing cases about gender discrimination in front of it. During that time, she faced a certain degree of patronization from the court; tellingly, in her last case before it, justice William Rehnquist — who had not yet been named Chief Justice — closed the court’s questioning of Ginsburg by asking her “You won’t settle for putting Susan B. Anthony on the new dollar, then?” Later, she said she thought about retorting “We won’t settle for tokens.” Ever judicious, in the moment she said nothing.

3) Judy Chicago

Feminist artist Judy Chicago’s large-scale installation “The Dinner Party,” housed in the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, centers on an enormous triangular table set for female icons throughout history. Each of those icons’ seats is marked with a customized place setting, the centerpiece of which is a ceramic plate sculpted and painted to both resemble female genitalia and speak to the particular persona of the figure in question. Anthony’s plate is one of the most sculptural of the bunch; it extends upwards, Chicago once wrote, “in a vain effort to escape its confines.” No, Donald, you can’t grab this one.

4) Albert Einstein (kind of)

Manhattan’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine features a sculpture by Chris Pelletierri of four figures: Anthony, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Ghandi. The quartet is made of limestone, occasionally a porous rock; by now, we’re sure Einstein has absorbed a great deal of Anthony’s wisdom.

5) Jacob Lew

In 2016, then-Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew hoped to put Susan B. Anthony on the front of the $10 bill, the spot traditionally occupied by Alexander Hamilton. Instead, Anthony — along with Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth — will occupy the back of the $10 bill. (A woman will still make it on the front of one bill: Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson. Trump, coincidentally, also mentioned Tubman on Wednesday as an important American woman to know about — but as an avowed Jackson fan, he’s likely not enthusiastic about the change.)

6) Lynn Sher

Sher, a journalist, assembled the book “Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words,” which frames Anthony’s speeches and writings in contemporary essays on Anthony’s legacy.

7) Lisa Simpson

No, Lisa Simpson isn’t technically Jewish, but she does have an imaginary Jewish friend named Rachel Cohen, which is good enough for us. Once, Lisa tried to purchase the first issue of a fictional comic called “Susan B. Anthony Man,” which we can only wish existed in real life. That issue’s cover features a caped, scantily clad man wielding a shield bearing Anthony’s visage. The image is almost Trump-like; just imagine the superhero, cowering behind Anthony, proclaiming “Nobody has more respect for women than Donald Trump!”


Talya Zax

Talya Zax

Talya Zax is the Forward’s deputy culture editor. Contact her at zax@forward.com or on Twitter, @TalyaZax.

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7 Jews Who Know More Than Donald Trump About Susan B. Anthony

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