After 6 long years of challenging work and a tireless fight waged by the all-volunteer nonprofit, Monumental Women, history will be made tomorrow – Wednesday, August 26th – in New York City as the first statue to honor real women in Central Park is unveiled. Featuring suffragists and women’s rights activists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the monument’s reveal will be live-streamed for anyone, anywhere to see – safely from home – online, in real-time.
Sculpted by artist Meredith Bergmann, the colossal work of art – titled Women’s Rights Pioneers – celebrates these three New York women who devoted their lives to fighting for equality and justice. They are depicted working at a table, with each representing an essential element of activism: Sojourner Truth is speaking, Susan B. Anthony is organizing, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton is writing.
HOW TO WATCH THE STATUE’S UNVEILING: Livestream begins Wednesday, August 26th at 7:45 AM EST, online programming begins at 8:00 AM EST! The event will be streamed on the Monumental Women site as well as on Monumental Women’s Facebook page and Youtube channel.
Currently there are 23 statues of real men in Central Park; women are “represented” through fictional characters like Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, and Juliet (with Romeo). The Women’s Rights Pioneers statue is the first honoring real women in the internationally renowned park’s 167-year history.
The statue’s August 26th unveiling coincides with the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote through the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
While a milestone in the 72-year battle for suffrage that started at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, this was not a victory for all women. As Dr. Estelle Freedman, a U.S. historian specializing in women’s history and feminist studies at Stanford University, notes, “We can see the 19th Amendment as a benchmark in the long movement for full citizenship for women, a major political hurdle passed. We can also see it as a limited victory, given the continued disenfranchisement of southern Black and Native American women at the time. But I think we can’t make it into the endpoint of a historical ‘wave’.”
In addition to the debut of the Women’s Rights Pioneers statue, tomorrow’s unveiling ceremony will feature Monumental Women’s President Pam Elam; NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; excerpts of actors Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Jane Alexander, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana, America Ferrara voicing Anthony, Stanton and Truth; remarks from descendants of Suffragists; women’s rights leaders; historians; youth activists; actors Lily Tomlin and Sophia Bush; filmmaker Ken Burns; U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul; Ford Foundation President Darren Walker and others.
As an organization dedicated to celebrating all women who made history and paved the way for the generations that followed, Monumental Women’s future goals include a Women’s History Education Campaign, a Challenge to Municipalities across this country to re-imagine their public spaces to honor all women and people of color, and the creation of a New York City Women’s Rights Trail throughout all five boroughs.