Controversial Monument to Women’s Suffrage Redesigned to Include Sojourner TruthBreaking News
tags: monuments, Womens Suffrage, Central Park, Susan B Anthony, Sojourner Truth
After months of acrimonious public debate surrounding the final designs for Central Park’s forthcoming permanent monument to women’s suffrage, the critics have been heard.
For almost a year, controversy has plagued the statue, which some have accused of whitewashing history due to its spotlight on the suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony without paying equal tribute to the many women of color who contributed to the movement. Looking to resolve their row, the group financing the monument announced it will now include a statue for Sojourner Truth, the abolitionist and women’s rights activist best-known for her rousing “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech first delivered at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio.
“Our goal has always been to honor the diverse women in history who fought for equality and justice and who dedicated their lives to fight for Women’s Rights,” Pam Elam said in a statement. The president of the Monumental Women’s Statue Fund, the group financing the sculpture, added: “It is fitting that Anthony, Stanton, and Truth stand together in this statue as they often did in life.”
The first designs of the monument proposed by artist Meredith Bergmann featured Anthony standing beside a seated Stanton at her writing desk. From the tabletop, a long scroll unfurled, barreling off the monument plinth and onto the park lawn toward a ballot box. Written upon the paper was a list that named and quoted 22 other women who contributed to the women’s suffrage movement. Seven of those women named were Black, including Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Mary Church Terrell.
Public reactions to the sculpture were not positive. Gloria Steinem told the New York Times that “it is not only that it is not enough, [it’s that it looks as if Anthony and Stanton] are standing on the names of these other women.”
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