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Central Park Will Raise Its First Monument Dedicated To Women

To honor the hardworking and devoted women of America, Central Park will erect a statue in August on The Mall, a stately park promenade lined with American elms, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the women winning the right to vote.

“This statue conveys the power of women working together to bring about revolutionary change in our society,” Pam Elam, president of the Monumental Women nonprofit of volunteer advocates, historians and community leaders said. The organization, which received great support from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, privately raised $1.5 million to create and maintain the statue and for a connected educational program.

According to ABC News, Central Park has 23 statues of men who left their mark in history but not one honoring the accomplishments of a woman. But due to a recent change by a city commission vote, three pioneers for women’s rights: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth will join the men in the famous park. Despite the great honor, Truth was only added to the sculpture in response to criticism that African American suffragists were initially excluded from the depiction. 

According to the report, this was the second public struggle over which women New York City should honor. Earlier this year, the “She Built NYC” taxpayer-funded program asked ordinary New Yorkers to choose extraordinary women they wanted to see honored with statues.

Nevertheless, controversy sparked amongst the community when Bergmann’s original design was presented last year, showing only Anthony and Stanton. Critics questioned why it did not include any African American women who were powerful activists for the same cause. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The pushback led to the redesign adding Truth, with the two other women working together at a table.

The publication details that the work will be dedicated in August of 2020, just in time, as next year marks 100 years since American women won the right to vote.

The artist, Meredith Bergmann, will break what some call the “bronze ceiling” in the 166-year-old park. The bronze piece 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, approved for Bergmann’s design having chosen from 91 competing submissions reports say.

“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.

Sojourner Truth for Central Park
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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