Historians Explain Why Vote on Central Park’s Contested Suffragist Monument Is PostponedHistorians in the News
tags: New York, womens history, Monument, Womens Suffrage
The gathering that Bergmann’s sculpture is depicting is subject to dispute. In August this year, 20 leading academics have signed onto a letter asking that the public art process involving the monument become more transparent and inclusive. The letter was organized by Todd Fine, president of the Washington Street Advocacy Group, and Jacob Morris, director of the Harlem Historical Society. “Sojourner Truth is added in a manner that simply shows her working together with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Stanton’s home, it could obscure the substantial differences between white and black suffrage activists, and would be misleading,” the letter said. “While Truth did stay at Stanton’s home for one week to attend the May 1867 meeting of the Equal Rights Association, there isn’t evidence that they planned or worked together there as a group of three.”
“The historical record is complex,” said Bergmann. “The best sculptures in history are not fixed at a particular moment in time,” she said. To add some nuance to sculpture’s message of harmony and comradery, Bergemann said the women’s body language and facial expressions convey “some of the tensions among them.” Bergmann promised to continue to consults with stakeholders before the design is finalized.
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