If this moment in history has taught us anything, it’s that statues, and who they honor, matter.
This time, the subject of a monument is cause for celebration — because now, suffragists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, And Elizabeth Cady Stanton will be immortalized with a monument in New York City’s Central Park.
Later this month, the 14-foot-tall bronze statue — commissioned by nonprofit Monumental Women and made by sculptor Meredith Bergmann — will be unveiled and available for viewing along the park’s Literary Walk by the millions of people who visit the space each year. And it’s critical that “statues of real women” are showcased there, Bergmann says — all women, but especially women of color.
“We need to be true to our new understanding of the historical record which does not shrink from calling out injustice and oppression, or minimize the contributions of people of color or the harms done to people of color,” she notes. “We need to correct the injustice done to women of all races and their invisibility in public spaces. “
It’s long overdue — as of now, only five of the 150 statues commemorating historical figures in New York City depict women.
But beyond recognizing pioneering women in general, Bergmann says her goal with this monument was also “to capture the sisterhood as well as differences” between the three women — in recognition of the significant tensions between them and their clashing visions of what equity in voting looked like.
[Related: Want to Learn More? Check Out Our Podcast Series, 100 Years of Power]