Statue of women's rights pioneers unveiled in Central Park

Aug 26, 2020
In The News

A statue commemorating Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony was unveiled Wednesday in New York City’s Central Park. 

The monument is the first in Central Park to depict nonfictional women. The existing statues had been created of fictional women from literary works.  

The bronze statue was unveiled as the U.S. commemorated 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave some women the right to vote. 

Sculptor Meredith Bergmann said the monument of the women was “long overdue.” It joins the busts and statues of prominent men that decorate the city's park.

“This is a collection of statues of great men who accomplished great things, and the fact that there were no statues of women seemed to mean that the accomplishments of women were meaningless, certainly not worthy of a statue,” Bergmann said, according to The Associated Press. 

“So it’s long overdue, and it’s wonderful that these three great and inspiring and incredibly hardworking activist women are here in Central Park and they can inspire us to continue to fight for equal rights, for fairness and for justice for women, for minority groups, for people of color, for everyone now,” Bergmann added. 

The monument depicts Truth and Stanton seated at a small table and Anthony standing between them. The commission from Monumental Women, a nonprofit formed in 2014 to raise funds for a suffragist statue in Central Park, originally included just Stanton and Anthony, two white leaders of the fight for women’s rights, the AP noted.

Truth, a Black woman who escaped slavery and went on to campaign for both abolition and women’s equality, was added later. 

Crowds cheered as the sheet shielding the 14-foot statue from public view was removed, unveiling the monument.

The dedication ceremony was attended by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and elected officials including Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). 

“I am honored to stand here today in Central Park on Women’s Equality Day as three trailblazing women will be forever cemented into the fabric of our city. Women’s equality starts with representation,” Maloney said in a statement.

“While the path towards equality is a long one, we cannot forget the women whose shoulders we stand on; Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the countless others who risked their lives, protested, and were arrested all for gender equity. This statue serves as a constant reminder for all of us to continue the fight,” she added. 

Clinton earlier this month pushed for more monuments of prominent suffragists to be created. 

“A lot of these women deserve statues,” Clinton said as part of a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission virtual event, naming Truth, Ida B. Wells and Alice Paul among the women who should be considered to be memorialized with monuments.