After facing harsh criticism, a monument in Central Park will finally acknowledge the contributions of an African-American suffragette. The new design of the women’s suffrage movement monument will add a feature of Sojourner Truth.
Previously, the monument had only commemorated Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The group funding the statue’s creation announced that the new design will be unveiled in Central Park in 2020.
Initially, plans for the monument included a scroll of names and quotes from 22 leaders of the suffrage movement. Seven of them were African-American. However, the scroll was ultimately removed from the design, therefore excluding the contributions of African-American suffragettes. The city Public Design Commission is currently reviewing the new, more inclusive design.
According to Pam Elam, President of Monumental Women & The Statue Fund, her “goal has always been to honor the diverse women in history who fought for equality and justice”. By amending the monument, Elam aims to commemorate those “who dedicated their lives to the fight for Women’s Rights,” which is why Sojourner Truth must be a part of it.
The Woman Suffrage Movement Monument will be the first new monument in Central Park since 1965. Of the city parks system’s 850 monuments, only four currently commemorate the achievements of historic women. However, controversial historical figure Christopher Columbus has five monuments throughout city parks in his honor. The Christopher Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle is now a national landmark.
The anticipated 2020 reveal of the new statue will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women nationwide.
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