Central Park unveils a statue of women’s rights pioneers – its first of real women

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Central Park in New York has unveiled a statue of three women’s rights pioneers – Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth – on 26th August 2020, which is also the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. This amendment gave women in the United States the right to vote.

Unfortunately, all the three inspiring women passed away before American women were given the right to vote.

This is significant because it is the first time that statues of real women have been installed in Central Park in its 197-year history. There are 23 statues of real men; however, statues of only fictional women have adorned the park. For instance, the statues of Alice from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Juliet from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ find their place in the park.

The statue depicts the three women activists working at a table with Truth and Stanton sitting on the table and Anthony standing behind it. It depicts three elements of activism — Truth is speaking, Anthony is organizing, and Stanton is writing. It also features the Declaration of Sentiments, the document signed at the Seneca Falls convention on women’s rights in 1848, which states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

The statue, which is displayed on the Literary Walk of Central Park, has been sculpted by Meredith Bergmann.

“You’ve heard of breaking the glass ceiling,” said Meredith Bergmann, the sculptor of the piece. “This sculpture is breaking the bronze ceiling.”

“It’s wonderful that now the city of New York and Central Park are focusing on seeing women’s accomplishments as worthy of statuary,” Bergmann said.

She also added a message for the women of the future.

“My hope for little girls who see these statues is that they will be inspired to do serious work for social change with the knowledge that women have been doing this kind of work for centuries,” Bergmann said, “and their rights descend from the work these women did.”

Monumental Women, a non-profit organization, coordinated and spearheaded the initiative to install this statue.

“A knowledge of women’s history helps us understand the context of the struggle for equality, as well as the continuum of the fight for social change,” Pam Elam, President of the Board at Monumental Women, said at the statue’s unveiling. “We rethink the past to reshape the future.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gave speeches, in-person and virtual, at the unveiling of the statue.

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