New York, NY – On Wednesday, Aug. 26, Monumental Women, an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization created in 2014, unveiled a statue seven years in the making, a monument of women’s rights pioneers Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
The organization was created with the initial goal of breaking the “bronze ceiling” and creating the first statue of real women in Central Park’s 167-year history. There are only five historical women who have statues dedicated to them in New York City: Joan of Arc, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gertrude Stein, Harriet Tubman, and Golda Meir.
The statue was unveiled via livestream from its new home in Central Park, with a masked and socially distant crowd in attendance. The speakers featured a host of public officials including Hillary Clinton, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The date was set to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which stated that: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by and State on account of sex.”
Meredith Bergmann, the sculptor, said the statue was “a labor of love,” and spoke of the defining characteristics of each of its subjects. “Sojourner Truth loved speaking the truth. Her voice was her weapon and art…Susan B. Anthony loved to organize and strategize and win…Elizabeth Cady Stanton loved to write,” she said. “These women loved freedom and led a revolution.”
Pam Elam, President of the Board of Monumental Women, said, “We’re here to move history forward. Not even a pandemic can stop us.” She also noted that “the 42 million people who visit Central Park each year will see real women for the first time in its 167-year history.”
A theme that surfaced numerous times from the speakers was the importance of women exercising their right to vote. “Nothing is more important to honor the women in this statue than to vote,” said Clinton, to resounding applause and a standing ovation.
Elam said, “Especially this November, we will vote like our democracy depends on it, because it does.”