New York’s Central Park has 23 statues of men, who left their mark in history, but not a single one honoring the accomplishments of a woman.
That will change after a city commission voted on Monday to erect a monument depicting three pioneers in the fight for women’s rights: Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.
The likeness of Truth, an escaped slave and abolitionist, was belatedly added to the sculpture in response to criticism that African American suffragists were initially excluded.
“This statue conveys the power of women working together to bring about revolutionary change in our society,” said Pam Elam, president of the monumental women nonprofit of volunteer advocates, historians and community leaders, which has gained key support from Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer.
The organization’s statue fund privately raised $1.5m to create and maintain the new monument and for an associated educational program.
The work will be dedicated in August 2020 on the Mall, an elegant park promenade lined with American elm trees. Next year marks 100 years since American women won the right to vote.
The bronze work by artist Meredith Bergmann will join statues of men including Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott.
The Public Design Commission, which reviews artworks on city-owned property, granted approval Monday for Bergmann’s design chosen from 91 competing submissions.
“My hope is that all people, but especially young people, will be inspired by this image of women of different races, different religious backgrounds and different economic status working together to change the world,” Bergmann said after the vote.
Susan B Anthony was an American social reformer and women’s rights activist, born in 1820, who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born in 1815 was known as a social activist, abolitionist and suffragist.
Sojourner Truth escaped from slavery in 1827. At the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, she delivered her now-iconic speech titled, Ain’t I a Woman?