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Rochester represented by suffragist-themed float in the Rose Parade

Susan B. Anthony Museum & House/Facebook

The annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California included a connection to Rochester on New Year’s Day. Members of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House took part in one of the floats, and it won an award.

The float called “Years of Hope, Years of Change,” was a call to inspire Americans to remember the women who paved the way for a woman’s right to vote. The float won the 'theme award’ for most outstanding presentation of the Rose Parade Theme. This year’s overall parade theme was The Power of Hope, celebrating the influence of optimism and hope.

A key person behind the development of the float was Nan Johnson, a former University of Rochester adjunct professor who also helped found the Susan B. Anthony Center at the university.

100 people, most of them women, marched behind the float along the five-and-a-half mile route in Pasadena, California on Wednesday, and Deborah Hughes, the president and CEO of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House was among them.

“All year, as across the country, we’re celebrating what the 19th amendment means in terms of voting rights for women. We are also celebrating Susan B. Anthony so we are very proud and excited to be here,” Hughes said.

Hughes noted there are some key anniversaries this year, including the 100th anniversary of a woman's right to vote.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to start 2020 then first thing on New Year’s Day, to draw attention. That was what the suffragists were doing with the marches they were doing, it was street theater, and the idea was to get people’s attention so they would talk about it,” Hughes said.

This is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Susan B. Anthony Museum.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.