Central Park currently has 22 statues of historical figures, none of which are women. Sure, there's a statue of Mother Goose, and the famous Alice in Wonderland bronze, but no real-life women are commemorated within the park.
But that's all about to change on August 26.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote (but notably all women, for Black, Indiginous, Asian-American, and Latinx women, it was a much longer fight), a statue of three famous New York suffragettes, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, will be erected on the park's famed Literary Walk.
According to a 2017 notice from the Parks Department, the statue was initially going to be called the "Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument," and would "honor the memory of the many others who worked tirelessly to advance women’s rights, including Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, Anna Howard Shaw and Ida B. Wells-Barnett."
Now it is known as the "Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument," and it seems Truth plays a much larger role in the statue than initially planned.
“I wanted to show women working together,” sculptor Meredith Bergmann, told the New York Times. “I kept thinking of women now, working together in some kitchen on a laptop, trying to change the world.”
Members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund have been advocating for a monument for years now.
Today, we’re dedicating the future Central Park site for the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument. pic.twitter.com/M9iHYkbQif
— Central Park (@CentralParkNYC) November 6, 2017
The choice of subjects isn't without controversy, though. On Twitter, many have debated whether Anthony and Stanton should be honored in this way, given their racial politics.
“I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman," Anthony said at the Equal Rights Convention of 1866, responding to Frederick Douglass's claims that it was "vital" for Black male suffrage, but women's suffrage was merely "desirable."
If you'd like to watch the unveiling of the statues live, it will be broadcast August 26 at 8 a.m. ET at this link.
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